Women Leaders on the Rise Leadership Program Addresses Research Showing Women Get Stuck at Bottom of Career Ladder

Leslie Grossman

Men outnumber women nearly 2 to 1 in reaching the first rung of the corporate ladder according to research in the fifth annual Women in the Workplace study by McKinsey & Co and Lean In. The study also states that women are not held back by either lack of ambition, or a desire to start a family, but by the fact that most employers are not cultivating female managers early in their careers at the same rate as men.

To address this problem, the Women Leaders on the Rise leadership program is being launched in July at The George Washington University’s Center for Excellence in Public Leadership. The program will train young women in the workplace with leadership skills, as well as tools to address the obstacles they face while trying to climb the first rung of the corporate management ladder.

The Women Leaders on the Rise program will focus on practice areas that are most necessary for moving into management including (1) creating a vision for one’s career, (2) building influential relationships and networks, (3) effective communication skills, (4) executive presence, (5) cultivating a growth mindset, (6) building confidence, and (7) becoming resilient.



Program participants meet for two days from 9 am to 5 pm (ET) on July 21st and  22nd on Zoom.  The program includes live discussions, break-outs and networking, facilitated by GWU-CEPL Senior Fellow and Faculty Director Leslie Grossman, who is also author of the book “Link Out” (Wiley).  Participants have the option to implement their learning alongside their peers in an interactive Mastermind Group facilitated by Grossman, which meets 90 minutes monthly for 6 months following the completion of the program.

For more information or to register for Women Leaders on the Rise visit the website – https://cepl.cps.gwu.edu/women-leaders-rise 

or contact Leslie Grossman at lesliegrossman@gwu.edu or Kateryna Pyatybratova at pkate@gwu.edu.       

Women in the C-Suite: A Leadership Lesson

Sharon Rowlands, CEO and President of Web.com Group

C-suite visibility for women today is still lacking and it’s important that we talk about these issues. While I’m heartened to see awareness of the need for more female executives growing, the reality is that women still represent a very small minority of CEOs worldwide and only 6% in the U.S. Looking across the C-suite, the numbers are still too low, 25% on average in the U.S. This despite the fact that women make up more than half the U.S. population and roughly half the total population globally. 

In the tech world, where I’ve spent the majority of my career, I’m encouraged to see an increased effort to empower more women leaders. The numbers are low, but slowly improving. This is important not only because companies need to reflect the make-up of their consumer base, but also because having women in the C-suite is good for business. I’m hopeful that this recognition, along with the power of women helping women and a greater understanding of the benefits of having women executives will create more opportunities, like those that I have had, for more women to become CEOs. 

Here’s my advice for women looking to increase their visibility in the C-suite:

  • Be Prepared: Be prepared to face twice as much scrutiny by being twice as good. As a woman in the C-suite, your ideas and proposals will be subject to more scrutiny than those coming from a man. The best way to combat this is to work hard, prepare and be determined to be better than everyone else.
  • Find Champions: I can’t stress enough how important it is to have “champions,” people in your corner who help open paths for you in your career. This is more than a mentor – someone who will actively promote and champion you throughout an organization – someone who sees your value and potential. I attribute part of my success to the fact that I had great opportunities and great champions along the way, but I also worked to develop the skills that I saw were necessary for the leadership roles that I wanted. There’s still no substitute for hard work.
  • Network: Embrace the power of networking. It sounds simple, but the value of networking is often underestimated, especially for women juggling a career and a family. Nurturing a network is critical to building a personal brand and gaining exposure, which can lead to new opportunities in the C-suite.
  • Support Women: Have a strong voice and support other women too! Women have the potential to help each other in the C-suite by emphasizing each other’s voices so they aren’t drowned out by the men in the room.
  • Be Your Own Advocate: Whether it’s applying for a promotion or asking for a pay rise, women have a tendency to undervalue their own skills and capabilities. Advocate for yourself.
  • Review Yourself: No one is perfect. Leadership development is an opportunity, and the biggest way people grow is through self-examination. Bring in a third-party coach to conduct 360 reviews. They’ll tell you if you’re listening carefully and in an appropriate way to your staff, board, and colleagues, and give you valuable insights on what’s working and what’s not.

    About the Author: Sharon brings deep industry knowledge and a strong track record of leading multibillion-dollar high-tech companies that serve small- and medium-sized businesses, financial markets and enterprise customers. Prior to joining Web.com in January 2019, she served as CEO of ReachLocal, a public digital marketing company, leading it through a strategic transformation and the 2016 sale to Gannett. At Gannett, Sharon served as president of the USA TODAY NETWORK Marketing Solutions business while continuing to serve as CEO of ReachLocal. Prior CEO positions include Penton Media, Altegrity, and Thomson Financial. Additionally, Sharon serves on the board of directors for Pegasystems, a global software company, and Everbridge, a critical event management and enterprise safety applications company. Among several prestigious accomplishments, she was named Customer Focused CEO of the Year in the 2016 CEO World Awards, won the Gold Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year in 2016, and was also named Female CEO of the Year in the 2016 One Planet Awards. Sharon received her Postgraduate Certificate in education from the University of London and her BA in history from the University of Newcastle, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

    A Discussion of What Women Can and Cannot Control About Their Leadership Presence (#10 Trending Article in 2019)

    Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D

    You may have a leadership title, or tremendous leadership potential, but that in itself doesn’t give you leadership presence.

    These are typical comments I hear when asked to coach an up-and-coming female whose career has stalled:

    “It isn’t that she couldn’t do the next job. It’s that no one on the executive team sees her that way.”

    “She has a great track record, but she doesn’t look like a leader.”

    “She’s warm and friendly, but she doesn’t have the gravitas we are looking for in a senior position.”

    Leadership presence is not an attribute automatically assigned to you because of your business results. It isn’t necessarily reflective of your true qualities and potential. Instead, it depends entirely on how others evaluate you. Being perceived as a leader when interacting with customers, peers, or executives, is the essence of leadership presence.

    Women face unique challenges when it comes to being perceived as leaders. They may even add to these challenges by buying into to the “Imposter Syndrome,” or using body language that appears submissive, or waiting for others to recognize and reward their achievements.

    You can’t avoid making an impression on others, but you can control the kind of impression you make.

    Or can you?

    Here are three situations where you have absolutely no control over some aspects — and total control over others:

    1) Making a great first impression

    What you can’t control:

    Other people’s biases, prejudices, and negative past experiences with someone you resemble.

    What you can control:

    It takes less than seven seconds for people to assess your power, confidence, competence, warmth, and empathy. Here are seven ways to make your first impression a positive one:

    • Adjust your attitude. People pick up your attitude instantly. Before you turn to greet someone, or enter an office for a business interview, or step onstage to make a presentation, make a conscious choice about the attitude you want to embody.
    • Stand tall.Pull your shoulders back and hold your head high. This is a posture of confidence and self-esteem.
    • Smile. A smile is an invitation, a sign of welcome. It says, “I’m friendly and approachable.”
    • Make eye contact. Looking at someone’s eyes transmits energy and indicates interest and openness. (To improve your eye contact, make a practice of noticing the eye color of everyone you meet.)
    • Raise your eyebrows. Open your eyes slightly more than normal to simulate the “eyebrow flash” that is the universal signal of recognition and acknowledgement.
    • Lean in slightly. Leaning forward shows you’re engaged and interested. But be respectful of the other person’s space. That means, in most business situations, staying about two feet away.
    • Shake hands. Research shows it takes an average of three hours of continuous interaction to develop the same level of rapport that you can get with a single handshake. (Just make sure you have a nice firm grip, as your partner will “read” your level of confidence from the quality of your handshake.)

    2) Projecting authority and power

    What you can’t control: 

    Gender stereotyping — that (primarily) subconscious preference for females to be seen as nurturing, rather than powerful.

    A Discussion of What Women Can and Cannot Control About Their Leadership PresenceWhat you can control:

    There are two sets of signals that people look for in leaders: Power/Authority/Status and Warmth/Empathy/Likeability. Women usually get high scores in the warmth category, but may lose ground when it comes to projecting authority and power.

    When you are feeling sure of yourself and your message, you automatically display signs of authority and power. What interferes with this natural process is the Imposter Syndrome — the inability of women (more than of their male counterparts) to internalize accomplishments, resulting in the fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. And that insecurity is often displayed nonverbally.

    To build your intrinsic self-confidence, try recording your small wins in a success journal (on a daily basis – perhaps right before you go to bed) and watch how this act of awareness boosts your self-esteem. Also, notice what your body is saying.

    Women tend to condense their bodies, keeping elbows tucked in close to their sides, tightly crossing their legs, stacking their materials in small, neat piles, and contracting their bodies to take up as little space as possible. When you sit in a manner that makes you looks smaller, it also minimizes your look of authority.

    On the other hand, power and authority are nonverbally demonstrated through a command of height and space. When you sit up straight, claim space by hooking an arm over the back of your chair and spreading out your belongings, you appear to be more assured. While standing with your feet close together makes you look hesitant or unsure of what you are saying, widening your stance, relaxing your knees and centering your weight in your lower body give you a “solid” and confident look.

    The quality of your voice can also be a deciding factor in how you are perceived. Speakers with higher-pitched voices are judged to be less powerful and more nervous than speakers with lower pitched voices. One easy technique I learned from a speech therapist is to put your lips together and say, “Um hum, um hum, um hum.” Doing so relaxes your jaw and throat, allowing your voice to find its optimal pitch.

    Remember: You don’t have to choose between warmth and power. You can remain likeable and still project more authority simply by exhibiting these subtle nonverbal cues.

    3) Being a serious contender for that senior position

    What you can’t control:

    Favoritism or a “boy’s club” mentality.

    What you can control:

    Sharpen up your presentation skills. You impact and influence an audience best when your messages are clear, compelling and brief. Simplicity isn’t just a “nice to have” communication technique. It’s a necessity for being perceived as a leader. A good tip is to ask yourself: “In 10 words or less, what is my key message?” If you can’t state it succinctly to yourself, you are not ready to communicate it to others. I also advise using the “newspaper format” of stating that key message (the headline) upfront.

    Sometimes the smallest word choice can have a big impact. Use words that carry a sense of ownership and self-reliance. Say “I won’t” (which indicates you have decided not to do something) rather than “I can’t” (which implies you don’t have the skills or talents for the task). Say “I choose to,” not “I have to.”

    Just as important as it is to use self-assured phrases, it is equally important to eliminate qualifiers, fillers, and minimizers. People will judge you as lacking conviction if you use qualifiers such as: To the best of my knowledge . . . I could be wrong . . . This may not be a good idea but… Fillers like “um” and “uh” make you seem unprepared and uncertain. (BTW: Many fillers can be eliminated if you just pause between thoughts.) And minimize your use of minimizers – eliminating words like: “Maybe, “sort of,” “kind of,” “somewhat” – if you want to sound confident.

    Research with senior leaders in Silicon Valley found that the top criterion for promotion was visibility. That’s why doing a great job and communicating well are only the prerequisites for being considered for a senior-level promotion. One savvy female executive stated it this way: “It’s not enough to be a legend in your own mind.”

    Are the executives in your company aware of your talents and job performance? If not, you need to increase your visibility by volunteering for key projects, offering to give presentations, publicizing your team’s accomplishments, and taking an active part in your professional association. You need to broaden and deepen your network and look for mentors and sponsors who will guide and help promote you.

    You don’t have total control over other people’s perception of you, but you may have more control than you think.

    About the Author: Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is an international keynote speaker and leadership presence coach. She’s the author of “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt How You Lead” and creator of LinkedInLearning’s video series: “Body Language for Leaders.  For more information, visit https://CarolKinseyGoman.com[/author] 

    Women’s Leadership: Propel Your Career or Business Forward with New Habits and Behaviors

    Women’s Leadership - Propel Your Career or Business Forward with New Habits and Behaviors

    Presented by Leslie Grossman

    Women’s careers are often hijacked by corporate politics, motherhood, or our own good girl habits. Whether you are an executive, consultant, or entrepreneur, this leadership workshop will provide the tools to transform you into the extraordinary leader hidden within. If you want to jumpstart to a higher level of success and influence, participate in this transformational workshop which will address:

    • Executive presence
    • Leadership communication
    • Building trusted relationships
    • Speaking out with a leadership voice
    • Mindful confidence

    To ensure maximum value, this interactive workshop will accept a limited number of participants. Early registration recommended.

    Click here to see Leslie Grossman’s TEDx talk on The Value of Having an Entourage.

    A One-Day Workshop
    Friday, May 10, 2019, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
    $325 (Members & Nonmembers)

    Click here to read 7 Habits of Highly Effective Women Leaders by Leslie Grossman.


    About Leslie Grossman

    Co-founder of the Women’s Leadership Exchange, Leslie Grossman is the author of Link Out: How to Turn Your Network into a Chain of Lasting Connections, an executive leadership coach, and Senior Fellow and Faculty Director, Women’s Leadership, at the Center for Excellence in Public Leadership at The George Washington University.

    A former executive and serial entrepreneur, she has presented workshops on Women’s Leadership; Propelling Your Career and Business;  Leadership Presence; and Courageous Leadership  to a wide range of organizations including US-Ukrainian Foundation, Commission on the Status of Women – UN Women,  The Cleveland Clinic, MetLife, the United Nations Population Fund, WeWork, and the U.S. State Department speaking throughout Japan. Grossman is a former chair and leadership coach for Vistage International, the largest global CEO peer advisory board organization, where she facilitated meetings and coached CEOs, entrepreneurs and senior leaders for five years. She is a Senior Advisor, Women’s Leadership, for The Foundation for the Support of the United Nations and hosts their UN Conference  – Impact Leadership 21 – annually.

    Website: lesliegrossmanleadership.com

    Is Your Organization Focused on Diversity Issues & Women’s Leadership?

    Equities_Logo(XL) Investor

    Equities® Women’s Council

    If so, we would love to work with you to bring together a dynamic group of professionals for a networking event and roundtable focused on discussing today’s women in business. Equities.com recently kicked off an Equities Women’s Council and is looking for sponsors whom are actively promoting women’s initiatives, diversity and leadership in the workplace.

    Read more about our new Council and let us know if you would like to support our next roundtable discussion and network with other entrepreneurial leading women! If interested please contact Equities / Silvia Davi- silvia@equities.com


    Equities Women’s Council is an ambassador council for entrepreneurial women in the emerging growth, start-up, venture capital, corporate, and business community seeking to exchange ideas with other successful leaders focused on innovation and disruption. The Council was developed as a networking, educational, and visibility platform for today’s women across an array of fast-paced professions. Equities Women’s Council members will be a part of the Equities.com community and contribute to raising awareness of the mission behind Equities.com focused on discovering industry disruptors and leaders across all sectors.


    Today’s generation of female leaders are multi-faceted, assertive and in control of their own futures. The goal is to develop a community that attracts women that are regularly pushing the envelope, identifying new and creative ways of doing business and are simply looking to meet and learn from other phenomenal leaders.


    Whether you are a business professional, entrepreneur, industry contributor, or C-Suite executive, Equities Women’s Council is all about creating a network in NY, LA, & Silicon Valley and other leading cities that connects dynamic women who have embraced innovation and are in touch with their distinct “brand equity.” Council members include professionals at all levels in their career and also include male leaders that are focused on breaking barriers to include diverse, dynamic workplaces.


    Equities Women’s Council seeks to present a diverse group of women from various disciplines, sectors, and at different stages of their careers, professional and personal lives a unique platform that consists of speaking slots, networking opportunities, video or content visibility.

    Equities Women’s Council is regularly looking for content contributors for Equities.com and for panelists to participate in roundtable opportunities or for fireside chats.

    If you are interested in hosting an Equities Women’s Council roundtable, event, becoming a member or participating on one of Equities.com’s panels, please contact silvia@equities.com

    Women Leaders are Good for Business 

    Women Leaders are Good for Business 


    The struggles of women in the workplace have been well documented. 

    The challenges range from discrimination to the gender pay gap, and the lingering concept that men are more effective in leadership roles. A recent study revealed that in fact, women get higher marks for leadership in mid-level and senior leadership roles, even when they serve in traditionally male-dominated industries. Women deserve equal consideration for promotion, pay equal to their male counterparts, and to be treated with equal respect. 

    Leadership Skills and Gender

    The pandemic has taken a toll on many aspects of the workforce, but women have been disproportionately affected. And, according to the Harvard Business Review, when women leaders leave the workforce, it has far-reaching effects.  They tend to have more engaged teams, drive better job performance, and save their organization millions of dollars as a result. Many companies have enjoyed exponential growth under the stewardship of talented women. 

    When searching for the ideal candidate for a team leader, look to performance, not gender. The difference between the generality of male vs. female in a leadership position, requires avoiding stereotypes, bias, and relying on facts.

    Leadership Qualities 

    The Harvard Business Review evaluated almost 9000 management reviews, finding that women managers excelled at every trait considered ideal in corporate leadership. Some of the performance metrics included relationship building, teamwork, and the ability to motivate others, which may be considered “female” traits – but also found that women excelled at other traits traditionally ascribed to males, such as personal drive, taking initiative, honesty, resilience, bold leadership, and innovation. 

    Performance-Based Promotions

    Only 12 of the Fortune 500 companies have a woman in the CEO role, but it is worth noting that firms with women board members enjoy a 42% higher sales return, and a 66% higher return on equity. Many examples of the success of women in leadership roles are found in the corporate community, but likely not enough. 

    When considering a business leader, a performance-based approach is the smart way to choose the best of the best on merit, rather than personality, gender, connections, or other considerations. This approach is not only fair but comes with the most important advantage – you are much more likely to choose the best leader for your business: One who will take your business to higher levels of success.

    Diversity Pays Off

    A diverse workforce delivers much more than higher profits. Research reveals that companies that have built a diverse workforce are more able to capture new markets, achieve long-term growth, and have higher performance levels. At an Amazing Workplace, employees are confident they are valued for their skills, feel supported and their talents recognized and rewarded. An inclusive business culture is more likely to inspire loyalty, increasing retention. Secure, confident employees are more productive, creative, innovative — and loyal. 

    Building Your Business Culture

    Women have a natural tendency towards inclusivity. They communicate clearly and often, starting meaningful conversations that increase clarity of message and purpose.  This helps make the team environment less authoritative and more cooperative. 

    Women leaders bring skills, different perspectives, and innovative ideas to the table and can make your company a great place to work.

    What Coaches & HR  Professionals Need to  Know  To Attract More Women Leaders Back to the Workplace

    Insights Revealed at Upcoming Online Workshop

    Leslie GrossmanLeslie Grossman, Founder, Her Circle Leadership, and faculty director, Women’s Leadership, GWU-Center for Excellence in Public Leadership

    After years of research and coaching executive women and entrepreneurs alike, I discovered that almost every woman who is looking to grow her career or business all share the same BARRIER. The repercussions from this one barrier create stop signs, slow driving, wrong turns and fender benders along the route to get to their desired destination. Sometimes women just stop driving, which is why many women are opting out during the time of the Great Resignation. A new program created by Her Circle Leadership for coaches and HR training managers is designed to address women’s challenges.

    So what is this barrier? The barrier women is habits —  habits that women were taught when they were little girls.  Habits for which they were rewarded throughout their childhood. These very habits stop or slow them down from reaching their aspirational goals.  These habits include such good girl behaviors as being quiet vs. speaking up, modesty vs confidence, being overly polite, being grateful for what they get, rather than being ambitious, and much more. 

    Once I realized what the barrier was, I went on a professional quest to develop the antidote to these poisonous habits, and now as an executive coach to women leaders – both executives and entrepreneurs, I teach them to my clients, companies, entrepreneurs and women enrolled in my Executive Women’s Leadership Program at The George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership.  

    But this is not a pitch for women to enroll in my courses, but rather this is an invitation to coaches, consultants, HR trainers and DE&I professionals to learn how they to attract women back to the workplace and move more women up to higher leadership positions in organizations, by training and coaching them to create a shift to new leadership habits that  will benefit their careers.  This is  not only good for women.  It is vital for the health of all organizations.  

    This is proven by new data compiled by global consulting firm Potential Project.  It shows that employee disengagement translates into significant organizational expense. And that there is huge difference in how this shows up in women led teams versus teams led by men.  The research shows that organizations save $1.43 million for every 1,000 employees when teams are led by women.   

    These new habits which Her Circle Leadership calls the 7 Tenets of Highly Effective Women Leaders, will be revealed at a workshop to be held on Tuesday, March 29th, 12 noon and repeated on Wednesday, March 30th, at 6pm.  This complimentary workshop has been specifically developed for coaches, HR and DE&I professionals to learn how to train and coach women into creating a shift into establishing specific behaviors as new habits. These tenets or habits are already demonstrated by those women who rise up more quickly to senior positions, including the C-Suite,  and grow their own businesses exponentially.

    The complimentary workshops will also share information about a new women’s leadership coaching certification from Her Circle Leadership   and how coaches, consultants and HR/DE&I management and training officers can enroll in the Her Circle Leadership Women’s Leadership Coaching Certification program.  Based on  continuing results from those participating the training, practicing this program not only causes a seismic shift in clients’ lives, but also, in the life of those who do the training.

    Register here for one of the two workshops on March 29th at 12 noon or Wednesday, March 30th at 6 pm. 

    To learn more about details for the Certification program, click here.  

    Celebrating the Women of Ukraine on #IWD2022

    Celebrating the Women of Ukraine on #IWD2022


    Patrice Tanaka, Founder & Chief Joy Officer,  Joyful Planet LLC

    On International Women’s Day 2022, I celebrate the Women of Ukraine, who are fiercely fighting for their country alongside Ukrainian men as Russia tries to bomb it into oblivion.  Ukrainian women not engaged in combat are caring for their children in a war zone or as they flee across the border to a scary, unknown future.  

    Today, nearly 10 percent of Ukraine’s military is comprised of women, and it is only because Russian attacks on the Donbas region of Ukraine in 2014 attracted women civilians to fight alongside soldiers and then to push for equal opportunities among their ranks.  The 2014 war in Donbas forced the Ukrainian military to confront a reality it faces, again, today – it can’t afford to discriminate against women.

    In 2016, Ukrainian women won the right to serve in combat positions. 

    I hope that once Russia’s war on Ukraine ends Ukrainian women will be invited to help rebuild and run the country as Rwandan women were given the opportunity to do, following the country’s Genocide in 1994 when one million people were slaughtered.

    Today, Rwanda enjoys the highest percentage of women appointed to government, accounting for more than 60 percent of its parliament. Rwanda achieved this stunning feat in less than three decades after the 1994 Genocide.  Women were enlisted to help rebuild and heal the country.  In 2003, the involvement of women in local and national government was made permanent by a 30 percent quota of women prescribed by Rwanda’s new post-Genocide constitution.  

    Today, Rwanda is acknowledged as one of the most stable nations in Africa and nearly corruption-free.  Life expectancy has risen from 48 to 58 years.  Deaths of children under five have been cut in half.  A compulsory education program has boys and girls in primary and secondary schools in equal numbers.  And national mandates and programs are reducing violence, including violence against women. 

    I think we should take a page from Rwanda because, today in the U.S.:

    Only 23.5 percent of all corporate board seats on the Russell 3000, which tracks the largest public U.S. companies, are held by women.  And in 2021, women still earned only 80 percent of what men earned; this is down from 84 percent in 2020.  Women, it seems, have been more negatively impacted by the pandemic.

    Although, the current 117th U.S. Congress is comprised of a record-breaking, 27 percent women, this is still far below our share of the overall U.S. population.  

    Today, March 8, 2022, International Women’s Day celebrates its 111th anniversary.  

    More than a century later, it’s painful to see how excruciatingly slow achieving gender equity is in the U.S. and globally.  Like racism, gender inequity is “systemic” and changing the patriarchal system that produces gender inequity is a painstakingly slow and arduous process. 

    Will it take another 111 years for women to finally achieve gender equity?

    Only when we achieve gender equity in the boardroom and in legislative rights and in courtrooms, including the U.S. Supreme Court, can we hope to begin dismantling “systemic,” gender inequity.

    How can we accelerate this process?  

    Silicon Valley and the business world are always focused on accelerating the rate of innovation, change and progress.  Why can’t we as a nation focus on “accelerating gender equity” – and diversity, in general – to unleash greater innovation, change and progress in business, government and society?  Significant research already abounds, revealing how diverse organizations achieve greater performance, productivity and profitability than non-diverse ones.

    Let’s #BreakTheBias – the theme of International Women’s Day 2022 – by accelerating gender equity – and diversity, in general – to unleash greater innovation, change and progress in U.S. business, government and society and, in doing so, truly set an example, for the rest of the world.

    Patrice TanakaAbout the Author: After an award-winning PR & Marketing career and co-founding three agencies, Patrice Tanaka started Joyful Planet, where she works with individuals and organizations to discover and actively “live” or “operationalize” their purpose and unleash greater success, fulfillment and joy in their personal lives, workplaces, and communities. Joyful Planet is Patrice’s vision of 7.9 billion people living their purpose and leveraging their talent, expertise and passion in service of others. Life and organizational purpose are the subjects of Patrice’s best-selling books, Beat the Curve and Performance360. She has been honored by PRWeek (Hall of Fame inductee), PRSA Foundation (Paladin Award), PRSA (Paul M. Lund Award for Public Service), New York Women in Communications (Matrix Award), among others. Patrice is Immediate Past Co-Chair of the Diversity Action Alliance, a PR industry-wide coalition of 15 influential organizations committed to action on diversity, equity and inclusion. She has also served as a trustee for many organizations focused on girl- and women’s leadership development and economic empowerment. Born and raised in Hawaii, Patrice lives in New York City and is committed to living her life with the “Aloha Spirit.”

    Reach Patrice via LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.


    The Story of 2 Women Who Shut Down A War

    Editor’s Note: Please download the PDF to step into the story of how 2 women shut down a war and write the next chapters that our world needs.


    Deanna Brown
    Transformational Leadership Consultant
    ShineOn Global and
    K2OH Solutions,llc



    Celebrate International Women’s Day and Impact Your Bottom Line

    Celebrate International Women’s Day and Impact Your Bottom Line   

      “If you can see it, you can be it” – Elizabeth Marvel and Kim Ng


    Leslie Grossman, Founder, Her Circle Leadership, and faculty director, Women’s Leadership, GWU-Center for Excellence in Public Leadership

    International Women’s Day is a global event aimed at highlighting the achievements of women around the world and a catalyst towards greater gender equality.

    Women have been grossly missing from history books, museums, and national holidays, although their accomplishments are huge. “When you see it, you can be it”, which is why it is important that companies, schools and institutions recognize both International Women’s Day on March 8th and Women’s History Month in March.

    It reminds us all of the contributions women have made to our world and our own organizations. This past year alone, many global women leaders have had the greatest success in curbing the pandemic in their own countries. In addition, women have been highly visible as doctors, public health leaders, researchers, health care workers, scientists and community organizers.

    During this time of the Great Reevaluation/Resignation, it’s more important than ever to celebrate women this month. March has 31 days, so you have plenty of time to move into action.   Here’s how you can celebrate International Women’s Day in your company for far reaching effects that will impact your retention and thus, your bottom line:

    1. Identify the women who have made contributions in your industry or field. Share on social media and send an email to your colleagues acknowledging  these women.
    2. Recognize women within your own organization who have made a difference. Thank them and acknowledge them through an internal email, a virtual lunch or an online town hall meeting of all employees.
    3. Bring in a speaker to talk about gender and diversity and inclusion during the month of March and invite the entire organization to participate. Encourage the men to attend.  Women already know about this.  It’s the men that need to be present.
    4. Start making gender equity  a critical part of your organization’s culture. Analyze how many female managers vs. male managers there are, as well as whether pay and promotions are equal.   Begin the process of moving more women up to leadership positions with equal pay. Let your employees know you are doing this and then DO IT!  You will attract the best people, have an improved retention rate, and your revenues and growth will benefit (research confirms this is true).
    5. Look at your C-suite, your board of directors or, if you are a small business, review your advisory board. Commit to add more qualified women.  Women are circular thinkers and think through problems differently than men. They also identify new opportunities and ways of doing things that add innovative practices, processes and products. One woman is not enough. Make  three or four women the minimum on your Board.
    6. When you have women on your team, make sure their ideas and views are heard. Encourage them to speak out. And when they get interrupted, interrupt the interrupter and ensure women get listened to. Reward men in your organization who sponsor high-potential women. Train them in what sponsorship means and acknowledge them for taking on this role. Your organization will be more successful for it.
    7. Learn what mansplaining is. Men must call out their male colleagues when they hear it. The same goes for harassment and bullying.  Create a culture of respect and success. When men make their male colleagues aware of what constitutes harassment and makes in unacceptable, it will positively impact teamwork, productivity, and retention.
    8. Offer leadership and career development courses to the women in your organization. Men are often offered such benefits. Women are less likely to ask for tuition reimbursement than men, thinking they don’t have time because of child or elder care responsibilities. With the many virtual programs being offered presently, now is the best time for women to participate. Encourage them.  

    Women’s History Month is the perfect day to kick-off your commitment to gender equality.  You have an entire month to display your dedication and celebrate women’s contributions. Make 2022 the year you show your people – internal and external – that your organization is on the path to gender equality, which will benefit everyone and your organization.   

    Leslie GrossmanAbout the Author:  Leslie Grossman, leadership coach, educator and speaker; Senior Fellow, Faculty Director, Executive Women’s Leadership, GWU Center for Excellence in Public Leadership; Leslie@hercircleleadership.com.


    A Celebration of International Women’s Day – Women in the World of Tech

    Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

    It was only in very recent memory that the United States began to recognize the powerful contribution women have on our country’s history. In 1980 President Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th National Women’s History Week. Several years later, it was extended into all of March, and of course International Woman’s Day is March 8th.

    On this day, we are asked to “Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.” We don’t need to tell you that too many people across the world continue to be marginalized. As a female owned and operated technology business, we strongly believe it takes each person to take action and to make change.

    We shine a light on current technology statistics and highlight some startling figures with this graphic from NowSourcing. Young girls are discouraged from choosing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and lack female mentors, which would help bolster their early educational interests.

    At Evia Events, not only do we employee females of all ages in leadership roles, we invite all ages and demographics into the workplace. Our hiring process is reflected with our commitment to track the seniority of mentorship that employees receive. As a GEN-certified business, we are aware that men have traditionally had access to more senior mentors who have sponsored them into senior roles, while women have historically had ‘horizontal’ mentors. By intentionally matching mentors and mentees at Evia, we ensure that everyone has equal access to mentors who can turn into sponsors.

    Gender bias still exists, but there are some other great examples of tech companies that are closing the gap. With them, we honor International Woman’s Day’s theme to #ChooseToChallenge and invite all colleagues and industry peers to take action every day to make change. It is everyone’s “job” to pay attention, to highlight where there is gender bias and inequality and to continue inviting woman to be thought leaders.

    Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

    The Museum of Public Relations presents PR Women Who Changed History

    Thursday, March 3, 2022 | Free Virtual Event | 6 – 8p.m. ET

    The Museum of Public Relations



    A century of women in PR: Stories about meaning, balance, and a clear path forward

    Thanks to PR pioneers like Betsy Plank, Belle Moskowitz, and Ida B. Wells—all of whom will be covered in this program—there are more women in leadership roles than ever before. Yet, despite this progress, the C-suites remain largely filled by men. Learn how our predecessors dealt with the extraordinary obstacles during their time, when professional women were a rarity in the workplace, and how today’s women can use similar strategies for getting ahead.



    Dr. Caryn Medved, Professor, Corporate Communication, MA Program Director, Baruch College, CUNY



    Margery KrausFounder & Executive Chairman, APCO Worldwide



    Muriel Fox, Co-founder, the National Organization for Women (NOW)

    Barbara Hunter, Founder, of Hunter Public Relations



    Dr. Denise Hill, Associate Professor, Strategic Communication, Elon University: On Ida B. Wells-Barnett

    Dr. Karla Gower, Professor, Department of Advertising & PR, University of Alabama: On Betsy Plank

    Dr. Rachel Kovacs, Adjunct Associate Professor of Communication, City University of New York: On Belle Moskowitz

    Dr. Candace Steele Flippin, SVP and Chief Communications Officer, Acuity Brands: On getting your career in shape



    Graduate students in communications, sociology, and international affairs reflect on lessons learned from tonight’s program


    Sponsored in part by Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia; TV One; Johnson & Johnson; The Bonnie Yablon Foundation; Renew PR; Page; Hunter:; Pat Ford; The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management; Racepoint Global; Experian; APCO Worldwide; James E. Lukaszewski, Germinder + Associates; Muck Rack; and CommPRO.

    Leslie Grossman & Christine Merser Talk the Strongest Women Leaders Of 2021

    Circle Leadership · Circle Leadership: Strongest Leaders of 2021


    Leslie Grossman

    Leslie Grossman

    Leslie Grossman, women’s leadership advocate and founder of Circle Leadership, and Christine Merser, CEO of Blue Shoe Content,  show up at the Circle Leadership podcast table with three picks for the strongest Women Leaders of 2021. You may be surprised at their picks with some controversy, too.  Among the women leaders discussed are Sharon Bowen, new Chair of the Board of NYSE; Amanda Gorman, poet and activist;  and Liz Cheney, Congresswoman and member of the House Select Committee.   Listen to this podcast to hear how the women chosen show the leadership qualities of vision, courage, focus, collaboration and communication. Who are your picks? And why did you pick them?  We’d love to know and we may highlight them, too!  Send your selections to Leslie@Circleleadership.com.  

    Do Men and Women Lead Differently Under Stress? Science Says Yes.

    Do Men and Women Lead Differently Under Stress


    Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.

    When generalizing about any population segment – especially such large and diverse segments as “male” and “female” – there is bound to be inaccuracy and stereotyping. And yet, science has discovered some major gender differences in brain function, evolutionary predisposition, and communication style that can have a profound effect on the way men and women lead during times of stress. Here are a few of them . . .

    When it comes to brain research and gender, it’s not a question of better or smarter. But is a matter of difference. For example, men have approximately six and a half times more grey matter related to cognitive functioning in the brain, and women have nearly ten times more white matter related to cognition than men have. White matter connects brain centers in the neural network, whereas grey matter tends to localize brain activity into a single active brain center. Because of this difference, men tend to compartmentalize more brain activity and prefer to focus intently on one task at a time, whereas women’s ability to integrate and assimilate information (aided by the fact that the female brain also has a larger corpus callosum joining the hemispheres), gives them the edge in making crucial connections between seemingly disparate elements.

    Evolution programmed the male brain for hunting – which accounts for a man’s narrow range of vision and the ability to focus on a single source. Women have developed better peripheral vision, helping them take in multiple signals. Both genders stay alert for signs of danger – but, again, do so in their own unique ways: When entering a room, men automatically look for exits to estimate a possible escape, while women pay attention to people’s faces to sort out who they are, how they feel, and if it is safe to remain in their company.

    Even women’s propensity for crying has a partially neurological basis: The chromosomal development of prolactin in the female body and brain results in larger tear glands. So even in cultures where male tears are acceptable, women will produce more tears and cry more often.

    For decades, psychological research maintained that both men and women reacted to stress in the same physiological ways; meaning that when confronted with stress, individuals would either respond with aggressive behavior or withdraw from the stressful situation. Neuroscientists, however, have exposed a flaw in that assumption. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, studies from University of Pennsylvania and the University of Trier in Germany discovered that men and women react to stress in very different ways. In male brains, increased blood flowed to the left prefrontal cortex did indeed suggest the activation of the “fight or flight” response. However, in women, stress activated the limbic part of the brain, which is associated with emotional responses. Women, they found, were more likely to manage their stress with what scientists have termed a “tend-and-befriend” response. When threatened, fearful or stressed, women are more likely to protect and nurture others and to turn to family and friends for solace. This difference in giving and seeking social support during stressful periods seems to be the principal way men and women differ in their coping methods. But it is not the only difference.

    Researchers at the University of Southern California, also looking at the divergent ways men and women’s brains respond to stressful conditions, found a striking gender difference in brain function and how people evaluate emotions when under stress. The gender difference appeared in the brain regions that enable people to simulate and understand the emotions of others. According to the research, stress seemed to increase the capacity for empathy in women, while in males stress reduced it.

    Louann Brizendine, professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, also found that, while another person’s emotional pain activates mirror neurons in both genders, a second system (the temporal-parietal junction, or TPJ) quickly takes over in the male brain – which in turn activates his “analyze-and-fix-it” circuits. So, while the female brain is locked in emotional empathy, the male brain (having quickly identified the emotion) is busy searching for solutions.

    What does all this science mean in today’s organizations? It means, for example, that in dealing with stressful challenges (like those we are facing with this pandemic), it shouldn’t surprise you if men on the leadership team tend to isolate and withdraw (working on possible solutions) while female leaders focus on addressing employees’ concerns and distress. And, while neither response is necessarily the “best” in all stressful situations, these findings do suggest that a male-female balance on a leadership team would probably prove to be optimal in most stressful situations.

    About the Author: I am an international keynote speaker (in person and virtually) on Body Language and Leadership Presence at corporate, government, and association events. I offer specialized programs for Women Leaders and Sales Professionals. For information on my speaking fees, contact me by phone, 510-526-1727 or email Carol@CarolKinseyGoman.com. You can download my brochure on  my website: www.CarolKinseyGoman.com.

    My award-winning book is available on multiple websites and in bookstores. Here is its link on Amazon: STAND OUT: How to Build Your Leadership Presence.

    My best-selling LinkedIn Learning video course is here: Body Language for Leaders

    Why Companies Must Win Back Women to their Management Teams: Research Reveals Women Leaders Rock!

    Leslie Grossman, Founder, Circle Leadership

    The number of women managers ditching the workplace in 2020-2021 has been dismal. America’s greatest migration is the number of women who have left managerial roles.  According to the analysis of the Women’s Law Center, 2.1 million women left their jobs in 2020, primarily due to the childcare crisis. As we move into 2021, the likelihood of women returning at the same rate to equal or higher positions is low. 

    This should be a cause of great concern to companies – large and small.  There’s one important reason: women rock as leaders. This was revealed in the article Research: Women Are Better Leaders During a Crisis” published in the Harvard Business Review earlier this year. A study by Zenger/Folkman evaluating 60,000 managers came to a definitive conclusion: Women are more effective leaders than men.  

    ‘Women were rated more positively on 13 of the 19 competencies in our assessment that comprise overall leadership effectiveness. Among the 13 competencies on which women were rated higher were “takes initiative”, “inspires and motivates others”, “communicates powerfully and prolifically”. “Men were rated more positively on one competency — technical/professional expertise — but the difference was not statistically significant,” according to Jack Zenger, co-founder of  Zenger/Folkman, a strengths-based leadership development firm, which performed the research.  

    Prior to the pandemic, almost half the workforce was women, yet only about one-third held management positions (Catalyst).  “Companies need to take advantage of the proven leadership skills of women if they want to grow in the next decade,” according to Leslie Grossman, founder of Circle Leadership, a leadership development company for women leaders, HR professionals and executive coaches.

    While a recent MetLife survey of 2000 workers showed 2 out of 3 women plan to return to work, women will be returning with raised expectations.  Women say they plan to return to companies that give them more flexibility, more opportunities for career advancement, economic incentives, improved benefits and more development programs.  

    “While women excel in leadership skills, most will return to workplaces which continue to be dominated by gender bias, closed networks and male power patterns,” says Grossman. “To attract and retain women leaders companies need to break down silos, recognize and reward women equally, and create sponsorship opportunities. Most important companies must provide coaching and training for women to navigate workplace challenges and for men to become aware of the roadblocks for women and how they can play a role in ensuring change that benefits the organization exponentially.”

    Leslie GrossmanAbout the Author: Leslie Grossman is founder of Circle Leadership, a training company for executive coaches and HR professionals to provide breakthrough leadership skills to women.  Circle Leadership offers advanced training in women’s leadership to qualified professionals who support women leaders in  navigating workplace challenges and reaching their career goals. Upon completion of the training, professionals will have proven tools to help women managers and entrepreneurs build confidence, manage gender bias and leadership challenges, and navigate a path to leadership success. For more information about Circle Leadership, contact Leslie@hercircleleadership.com, 646.235.9307. 

    How Women Escape the Impostor Syndrome Trap

    How Women Escape the Impostor Syndrome Trap


    Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.

    I give speeches and seminars on “The Power of Presence for Women Who Lead,” and after one of my sessions, I was asked by the head of Human Resources to coach Sandra. Introduced to me as a talented business professional with exceptional leadership skills, Sandra was being groomed for a top executive position, and she sounded perfect for my favorite kind of coaching assignment. I love working with accomplished women who are looking to become even more successful.

    It should have come as a shock when, at the end of our first session, this talented woman turned to me and said, “I want you to know how nervous I was meeting you. I was afraid that you wouldn’t find me worthy to work with.”

    It should have been a shock – but it wasn’t — because I’d heard this before — but only from female clients.

    I blame the Imposter Syndrome.

    The Imposter Syndrome is the fear of being exposed as a fraud, of feeling unworthy of your success, of not being as capable as others. Both genders experience the Imposter Syndrome, but women are more susceptible to it and more intensely affected by it.

    A female’s self-doubt can negatively impact her career when, as studies show, she pushes less often than her male counterparts for a raise or a promotion.

    The good news is that if you have fallen into the Imposter Syndrome trap, there are strategies to help you escape. From my book, STAND OUT: How to Build Your Leadership Presence, here are three of my favorite:

    1. Keep a success log

    On a daily basis (preferably at the end of the day) write down all of the things you are proud of — goals you achieved and situations that you handled well. You’ll see how even small successes, when recorded and reviewed on a regular basis can make positive changes in the way you evaluate yourself

    And stop downplaying your achievements. No one gets to your level without talent and hard work. Even if luck played a role in your career, it was no accident or quirk of fate that prepared you to take advantage of the opportunities presented. So the next time someone praises you, don’t brush it off. Simply smile and say “Thank you.”

    2. Turn your inner critic into an inner coach

    Of all the negative feedback you may receive, I’ll bet none is as damaging to your self-confidence, as what you tell yourself. Or as one of my clients admitted, “If I talked to my friends the way I talk to myself, I wouldn’t have any friends.”

    Your inner critic notices the things you do wrong, or poorly. It takes to heart – and dwells on – any critical comment you hear from others. It magnifies your weaknesses and ignore your strengths.

    Instead of automatically criticizing yourself, think of how a supportive coach would react. While your inner critic might say: “You are never going to be a good presenter, you might as well stop trying” your inner coach would tell you: “Every time you speak, you learn something that makes you a better presenter the next time. Stay with it and your speaking skills will get better and better.”

    3. Fail forward

    Recently, when I asked a CEO how she handled setbacks, Suzy replied, “I don’t believe in setbacks. I try to fail quickly, learn from it, shake it off, and move forward.”

    That’s what I call the “3 Rs technique”:

    The first R is Review: Acknowledge the situation by examining what happened.

    The second R is Redo: Think about what you learned from this experience and make a clear mental image of what you would do differently the next time you were in a similar situation.

    The final R (which is often the most difficult) is Release: Let it go. There is nothing more of value that this failure has to offer – so release it and move on.

    These are my three strategies to escape the Imposter Syndrome trap. Which one works best for you?

    5 Body Language Hacks that Make You Look Like a LeaderAbout the Author: I offer keynote speeches, webinars, and one-on-one coaching sessions. For more information, please email: Carol@CarolKinseyGoman.com or phone: 1-510-526-1727. My website is: https://carolkinseygoman.com/

    Leadership Is More About What You Relinquish Than What You Hold Tight

    Bessie Kokalis Pescio, Vice President, Global Internal Communications at Philip Morris International

    There’s a lot of talk right now about the caliber of leadership required to guide employees through the debris left by a global pandemic. With the workplace in a chapter of rapid change, and many employees still working remotely while others return to the physical office, the characteristics that will unify today’s great leaders are fairness, resilience, and self-awareness. Effective leaders are direct when they need to be. They take risks and know how to build a team.  Above all, they are humble, empathetic, reflective. 

    On this last point, I’ll admit there may be some incongruity in what’s been expected from men and women leaders in the past. Societal norms have led many of us to believe that women need to be, first and foremost, nice, and that when we’re in positions of power, we must take pains not to be perceived as emotional or weak. 

    The pandemic has invited both men and women leaders to demonstrate what may once have been considered feminine traits, such as warmth, grace, and kindness. Women no longer need to act like men to survive in the business world. Women should just be the leaders we are. Rather than talking about what it takes for a man or a woman to succeed, the conversation we should be having is about the behaviors we all need to adopt to succeed in a leadership position. Period. 

    What I’ve learned is that, in many cases, great leadership is really as simple as trusting your people to do their work. Empowerment is a nice buzzword to throw around these days, but not many people really know that to truly empower your employees—versus simply delegating things to them—make them directly accountable for something. When people feel like they own something, they begin to contribute meaningfully to a greater goal.

    I had an experience many years ago with a leader that I think is a perfect example of this. A controversy broke out about one of our R&D facilities and employee morale was taking a hit. I’ll never forget what my boss said when I brought the situation to his attention. Without missing a beat, he turned to me and said, with the right tone and intensity, “Okay, what are you going to do about it?” 

    This was one of the most vivid moments of empowerment in my career. He could have said, “This is what we’re going to/what we should do/who we should call.” Instead, he felt gave me an opportunity to lead through a crisis. By putting the onus on me, it created trust and helped me grow. Because depending upon where a person is in their career, they are either are up for a challenge like that or they’re not. Until you give your employees opportunities for growth, you’ll never know what they’re capable of. 

    Empowerment also means picking and choosing when to step in and say, “Okay, we’re going to fix this together,” and then leading a team member through that. It’s about doing this in such a way that they can learn to find answers themselves. Teach them to self-correct. This builds confidence both ways—between leader and team member. 

    Finally, great leaders have clarity in common. All the more difficult to come by now that we’re so digitally connected, clarity requires time to decompress. Do this by getting your yoga or kickboxing in or taking a run. Whatever works for you; it doesn’t have to be about movement. Rather, it could be about stillness. It could be finding 15 minutes a day to meditate or to have a cup of coffee while you sit and think about the world around you. Be unapologetically selfish about it. 

    Empowering yourself in these ways will also empower those around you, and empowered people make for great leaders. 

    About the Author: Bessie heads up PMI’s global internal communications team at Philip Morris International (PMI) based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her focus is to engage the 77,000 employees across the organization as PMI transitions its business toward better alternatives for adult smokers on the road to delivering a smoke-free future. In her 15-year career with the company, she’s worked in multiple functions including research & development, sales, commercial planning, and communications. Before joining PMI, she worked as a healthcare consultant and as a linguist. She studied French literature and political science and holds an MBA. She’s an avid runner, practices yoga regularly, and is currently reading about Renaissance art and working on her Italian.

    Geben Communication Acquires Content Marketing and Influencer Agency Women Online

    CommPRO Editorial Staff

    Geben Communication, an award-winning public relations firm, today announced it has acquired Women Online, a content and influencer marketing agency that specializes in national social impact and nonprofit clients.

    “We’ve always focused on accelerating growth and impact for our clients. Now, we can do more,” said Geben Founder and President, Heather Whaling. “This acquisition expands our expertise, elevates our services, and creates new ways for us to support our clients’ goals. The Women Online team has a rich history of successfully implementing creative, innovative campaigns that shift behaviors, engage stakeholders, and educate audiences, and we’re excited to add their expertise to our team.”

    Generalists by intent, Geben’s clients span industries from healthcare and technology to B2B and consumer services. And now, the addition of Women Online catapults Geben to the forefront of the social impact space. After starting as a PR and social media agency in 2009, Geben’s services expanded as clients’ needs evolved over the years — adding paid search, paid social, SEO audits and strategy, and data analytics/insights to its offerings.

    Women Online Founder, Morra Aarons-Mele, is joining Geben’s leadership team as EVP and will lead the development of a national social impact practice.

    “There’s so much alignment that joining forces feels like a natural next step for both teams,” said Aarons-Mele. “I’m thrilled to deepen our talent bench and supplement our content and influencer services with PR and digital marketing.”

    Geben stays at the forefront of ever-evolving client needs. Consumers are demanding brands live their values. By infusing Women Online’s national social impact expertise, Geben is expanding its services to deliver innovative, effective solutions to foundations, nonprofits and mission-driven brands committed to creating a better world.

    “Geben means ‘to give’ in German, so it’s only natural that when we decided to invest in our growth, we found a partner who shares our deep commitment to doing well by doing good,” said Whaling.

    The transaction was completed as of May 11, 2021. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


    In the Middle of Crisis, Women Rise Up

    How a veteran-led disaster relief nonprofit is challenging the expected and changing the narrative for women. 

    Lorey Zlotnick, Chief Marketing Officer, Team Rubicon

    When I signed on as the Chief Marketing Officer at Team Rubicon—a disaster relief non-profit founded by veterans—I became the first female CMO in the organization’s 10-year history. Coming from sports, entertainment, and tech startups, I arrived fully prepared to work within another masculine organization, knowing that the military and veteran population are predominately male. What I discovered not only surprised me, but also impressed me.

    Team Rubicon hasn’t been changing the narrative for women, it has been challenging women to change the narrative for women. Nearly 50 percent of the employees at Team Rubicon are women and the volunteer base from a gender perspective over indexes military veterans by 200 percent. And the culture I found wasn’t just a promise on a page, it is deeply rooted in long-standing values around inclusion, respect, and collaboration; essential when layered with unpredictable and high stress situations that come along with the industry. 

    From the start, Team Rubicon’s leadership handed me the reins, empowered me to evolve the company narrative and challenge the norm. And with Covid, the norm has definitely been challenged. Millions of women, including myself, now face the daunting task of juggling full-time careers, managing households, functioning within makeshift office spaces, and home schooling simultaneously without clear boundaries between the two worlds. With more than 2M women leaving the workplace in the past year, I am fortunate to be working within a culture that ensures I have a voice, the space to contribute, and I don’t have to apologize for being a mother. 

    I had joined Team Rubicon just as COVID-19 hit. Not only was our world shut down, but as an organization we were also compelled to change our direction both internally and externally. Behind the scenes, I was also adapting to the change with learning a new industry, embracing new technologies, managing a team I had never met in person, and also struggling to remember how to find the value of X. 

    As an organization we pivoted to find ways not only to serve disaster survivors, but now also find a way to serve vulnerable communities deeply affected by the coronavirus. By April, the organization was not only responding to tornadoes in Tennessee, but also helping stand up COVID-19 testing clinics in Charlotte, NC, and Los Angeles. And simultaneously we were deploying veterans, doctors, nurses and EMTs to the Navajo Nation which was being hit incredibly hard by the coronavirus. Team Rubicon also worked with partner organizations to expand its capabilities to assist in executing nation-wide feeding operations, helping to put food in the hands of struggling families. 

    What I was witnessing was the women of Team Rubicon stepping up and being placed in charge of these massive operations. Women were on the ground leading and bringing hope to survivors on their worst days. While 26 percent of Team Rubicon Greyshirts are women, more than 33 percent are in field leadership roles serving as incident commanders, public information officers, providing medical care, and overseeing hundreds of Greyshirts as they tarped roofs, delivered meals, removed massive southern oaks sprawled across houses and driveways, and helped get residents get back into their homes. By continually placing women in leadership roles—within the organization, and out in the field—big ideas have flourished and are creating impact. 

    Now with more than 3,000 women who have become Greyshirts and deployable in the last year alone, we are leading the charge for change within the field of disaster relief. Team Rubicon’s leadership understands that giving women a seat at the table isn’t enough. We must also provide the platform for voices to be heard, otherwise that seat essentially remains empty. I am grateful for the women before me who have opened the door to the boardroom, and to the men in my career who have encouraged me to walk through it.

    Standing strong with both male and female counterparts at every level of the organization, it is refreshing to serve within a culture that isn’t afraid to make bold moves, create a space for all leaders to thrive, and continues to put an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion. If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that change is necessary and we all still have room to evolve. I am proud to be a part of an organization that continues to embrace the challenge with unwavering commitment. It personally allows me the space to evolve within the C-suite, collaborate with my peers, lead my team, and pause to make my kids a sandwich.

    About the Author: Lorey has cut a distinctive path for herself over a 20-year career in creative brand management and multi-disciplinary marketing. Employing a strategic, data-driven approach, she has guided consumer-facing companies through all phases of brand discovery, creative development, and corporate identity rollout. Her leadership ability has been demonstrated in high-profile executive roles at the National Football League, News Corporation at both Fox Cable News Networks and Fox Sports, Disney, SONY Digital Entertainment, NBC Universal, Los Angeles Times, Nestle, and Zequity Marketing (which she founded). Now, Lorey is stepping into the arena; using her strategic branding expertise to shape the narrative of Team Rubicon and build large-scale support for our mission.

    Edelman Announces Major Leadership Changes: Promotes Russell Dubner & Lisa Osborne Ross

    CommPRO Editorial Staff

    Edelman has named Russell Dubner global vice chairman and chair of the Edelman Trust Institute and Lisa Osborne Ross CEO of Edelman’s U.S. operation.

    In a new role for the firm, Dubner will lead three key planks of the firm’s global agenda: corporate development, encompassing M&A and venture investments, alliances and partnerships, and the newly formed Edelman Trust Institute. He will report to Richard Edelman, Edelman CEO. Dubner will chair the firm’s Global Investment and Innovation Committees, continue to lead DJE Holdings’ sector-specialist agencies, Revere, Salutem, Edifi and Edible, and retain a portfolio of key client relationships.

    “Edelman’s post-Covid agenda will be marked by reinvention, focused investment and bold entrepreneurialism. This is the perfect moment to elevate Russell’s talents as an innovator, leader and natural investor,” said Edelman. “Russell will play a pivotal role in this transformative chapter for the firm as we leapfrog forward in data and analytics and advance trust as a key lever for businesses, brands and leaders.”

    Dubner also will launch and oversee Edelman’s Trust Institute, a center for the study of trust and a learning laboratory for trust building between companies, institutions, brands and people. In this capacity, Dubner will oversee the evolution of Edelman’s suite of trust advisory and data service offerings.

    “Edelman is poised to take an assertive and disruptive stance,” said Dubner. “We are on the move, and we will fuel our momentum with acquisitions, inventive partnerships, investments in talent and technology. I am hugely energized by the opportunity to redefine what it means to be a global communications agency and fully embrace our leadership mantle in trust.”

    Dubner, who served as U.S. President and CEO for the past six years, has long been at the forefront of agency-shaping moves. He pushed the U.S. business into both advisory services for the C-suite and integrated marketing work for brands. Dubner directed moves into CommsTech, influencer marketing, performance and business marketing, as well as a reformulation of Edelman Financial. Under his tenure, Edelman was recognized by the Ad Age A-list for Creativity in 2019.

    Dubner serves on the board of directors of SprintRay and The Center for an Urban Future. He is a member of YPO’s Gotham Chapter, a founding member of PTTOW, GenNext and on the advisory committee of CEO Action for Racial Equity.

    Lisa Osborne Ross Named U.S. CEO of Edelman

    Ross, who is currently U.S. COO, will succeed Dubner as the U.S. CEO, overseeing the firm’s largest region comprised of 2,360 people in 13 offices. She will report to Global President and COO Matthew Harrington. She was named PRWeek’s Agency Professional of the Year last month and was inducted into the publication’s Hall of Femme in 2020.

    “In the four years since Lisa joined Edelman, she has made an incredible impact on the firm, particularly through her empathetic leadership during Covid and the tragic aftermath of George Floyd’s murder,” said Harrington. “She is a champion of our people, and expansive in her ability to provide senior counsel to clients and drive operations. Lisa is an exemplary leader for extraordinary times, and her many talents will take the U.S. business forward from a position of strength.”

    As COO of the U.S., Ross led Edelman’s Covid Task Force and was a highly sought-after client counselor and speaker regarding high-performance workplaces and operating through Covid. Ross was instrumental in establishing Edelman’s Racial Justice Task Force after George Floyd’s murder last May. The Task Force has since counseled more than 400 clients on DEI and multicultural outreach engagements that are helping to dismantle systemic racism and drive equity. She also helped develop several Edelman Trust Barometer special reports on the role brands must play in combatting racial injustice in America. Ross has been a leading voice in public affairs within the agency, continued to specialize in issues management, and has become a favored counsel to the C-suite.

    “The complexity of issues at this time in our world requires a diverse, thoughtful, culturally competent team to deliver counsel. That is what I’ve found at Edelman and what I hope to drive more of as CEO,” said Ross. “Edelman’s belief that it can create movements that impact the world is what inspires me and draws me to this position. The opportunity to lead with that belief is the culmination of what has been a really fortunate and blessed career for me.”

    An industry, government and White House veteran, Ross joined Edelman as president of the D.C. office. In that role she helped advance Edelman’s prominence in public affairs, crisis, brand, digital and multicultural.

    In 2019, she was named one of the Most Influential Women in Corporate America by Savoy Magazine. Ross was also an honoree for Washington Women Who Mean Business (2018) and a Diversity Champion by the PR Council (2017). She co-founded and led the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to fund grassroots organizations addressing the critical needs of women and young girls through essential services and training throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Ross serves on numerous boards, including the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Meridian International Center and PRSA Foundation. She is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.