Lessons Learned from “When She Speaks”

By Cheryl Mahoney

Last week, our CEO Pamela Hawley was honored to speak on a panel for When She Speaks.  This event was sponsored by RAL & Associates, a career and leadership development firm, in association with Full Circle Fund.  The topic under discussion was Women Leadership.

If you’re thinking that you would have loved to learn about Women Leadership, but you didn’t have a chance to attend–don’t worry!  Bobbie La Porte from When She Speaks kindly shared some notes on key points discussed at the event:

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Please join me in thanking our hosts at PG&E and our partners at Charles Schwab, Deloitte, IBM, Salesforce.com, McKesson and the Full Circle Fund for their continued support of this series. And please also join me in thanking our accomplished and inspiring speakers for candidly sharing their perspectives and insights on such a fascinating topic!
           Moderator Kerrie Halmi, The St. Charles Consulting Group
           Panelist  Pamela Hawley, CEO, UniversalGiving
           Panelist  Jenny Cheng, Vice President, Salesforce.com
           Panelist  Jennifer Dowdell, Director, PG&E
           Panelist  Cheryl Williams, Manager, McKesson Corporation
           Panelist  Dara Bazzano, Audit Partner, KPMG
The panelists shared their insights about the approaches and practices they use in their roles in business to support and drive sustainability. Some of their key points included the following:

(1)     How are women’s and men’s leadership styles different?

–          it’s important to acknowledge your individual skills and strengths when it comes to your leadership style and not so much gender
–          your personal communications style and approach can be an important element of your leadership style and this can be different for men than women
–          there are stereotypes of women vs. men that you need to be aware of and know that some behaviors may not be as successful for women as men (like being seen as aggressive) in corporate culture
–          know that leadership skills can be developed; there are no “natural born” leaders

(2)     What are elements of ideal leadership styles?

–          being flexible and adaptable; women ate socialized to be adaptable and flexible
–          recognizing people who are more talented than you (as the leader) and support and development them
–          good coaching skills
–          being good “connectors”
–          being gentle but strong; kind but firm
–          being yourself, authentic; you need to decide if you want to play the corporate “competitive” game; find what works for you
–          hold your “confidence”, think about how you display that
–          know your values and if they are aligned with the corporate culture you are in; is it a good fit for you?

(3)     How do you develop your leadership style?

–          learn how to influence
–          find mentors to work with you
–          be open to approaching and learning things differently
–          don’t assume that what motivate you motivates everyone else; respect everyone and their differences
–          make your boss your advocate; help him/her succeed
–          use multiple sources of coaching and advice
–          don’t associate leading with any level in the organization; you can lead from any position, don’t wait – use the tools you have now
–          don’t hesitate to ask for help – and learn from others!

Please join us next month at McKesson when our topic will be: “Politics in the Workplace: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.


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