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Founding, Managing, and Growing a Company – an Interview with Rebecca Andino

Ms. Rebecca Andino, founder and CEO of Highlight Technologies, LLC has supported Federal agencies as an IT professional, program manager, and business owner for more than 15 years. She got her start working as a database developer for the Department of State, and led technology projects for national security missions after 9/11. In the last 8 years, she has led Highlight Technologies to achieve steady, profitable growth, currently managing 14 prime contracts across a dozen federal agencies. Ms. Andino is passionate about creating a customer and team-oriented environment that takes chances on talented and hard-working individuals, invests in employees’ careers, and provides opportunities for professional growth.

What inspired you to found Highlight Technologies?
Coming up, I had some really positive experiences working with small companies. You can have a lot of impact, you can learn a lot and own your growth. The small company for which I was working ended up growing, but I wanted to use the skills I had learned to recreate that environment. I hire a lot of talented junior level employees, and mentor them in the world of government contracting, providing them with lots of opportunities to grow.

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Volunteer of the Year – An Interview with Michelle Richards

by Laura Harcourt

Michelle Richards leads the Mobility Solutions sales team dedicated to the National Security and Public Safety sectors of Global Business - Public Sector Solutions. An accomplished team leader, Michelle Richards holds key roles in WIT and Women of AT&T (WOA), currently: President, WOA MD; Chair, WIT Maryland Leadership Lunch; and Coach, Mt. deSales CyberPatriot Girls, where she engages students to explore STEM careers.  Michelle champions the WIT/WOA collaboration, launching the Maryland Executive Leadership Lunches, which she has chaired for the last three years, and supporting expansion to Virginia.  She launched the WOA cell phone drive to fund WOA MD Scholarships and expanded it to WIT to support GIT programs.

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Prosthetic Limbs and Caribbean Port Calls – An Interview with Amy Grable

Commander Amy Grable is currently serving as Product Line Manager for the Coast Guard’s Enterprise Information Systems Infrastructure. In this position she is responsible for delivering IT services to 42,000 men and women supporting every Coast Guard mission. Previous assignments include Commanding Officer of Electronic Systems Support Unit (ESU) Boston and other positions held at the Coast Guard Personnel Service Center, ESU Seattle, Acquisition Directorate, Research & Development Center, and CGC SPENCER (WMEC 905). CDR Grable holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Coast Guard Academy and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island.

CDR Grable talked to the WIT Young Professionals about her achievements and career path. One of her proudest accomplishments, she said, was completing her training at the Coast Guard Academy. One of the country’s five prestigious federal military academies, the USCGA is extremely selective and well-established. Graduates of the Academy are obligated to serve five years in the U.S. Coast Guard. CDR Grable says her time there was physically and mentally difficult but she loved the challenge.

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Risk Services and Rwanda - An Interview with Stacey Halota

Stacey Halota is the Vice President for Information Security and Privacy at Graham Holdings Company. Ms. Halota has more than 20 years of experience in the IT, security and privacy fields. Before joining The Washington Post Company in 2003, she served as the federal government and southeast region leader of Guardent Consulting Services (now part of Verisign), where she helped transform Guardent from a regional decentralized model into a national information security consulting organization recognized by Computerworld as a top 100 company to watch among IT companies. Prior to Guardent, she worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Technology Risk Services consulting practice where she helped grow the team serving the mid-Atlantic market and federal government from two consultants with no client base or revenue to 46 consultants and $9.3M in annual revenue in three years. She talks to the Young Professionals about her volunteer work and staying positive in the face of change.

Ms. Halota describes herself as a very optimistic and positive person, saying, “there is so much to be grateful here.” She cites an incident recently when she was in a taxi and the driver was from Afghanistan. He said, when you live in the U.S., you’ve hit the lottery. The sentiment rung true for Ms. Halota, as it does for us here on the Young Professionals committee.

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Exceptionally Effective Communication, Balanced by a Good Workout - An Interview with Ashley Baber

Ashley Baber is currently the Director of Account Management and Customer Success at Cvent, a leading cloud-based enterprise event management platform, where she brings a decade of experience in customer success and SaaS technology. Recognizing customer success as a primary pillar of company growth, Ms. Baber built the Cvent AM department from inception to a 40-person team and has since increased renewal rates from 78% to 97%. Her ultimate goal is to ensure Cvent customers derive maximum value from their investment in meetings and events technology. Ms. Baber graduated with a BS degree from James Madison University. She is motivated by human psychology, customer experience and obsessively looks for ways to improve time-to-value.

Asked about managerial skills that she values, Ms. Baber cites her currecnt company, Cvent, which was founded by 3 lawyers. Among them, now President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing Chuck Ghoora, Ms. Baber cites as an exceptionally effective communicator, highlighting for her the importance of honing communication as a skill. It can always be improved upon, she reflects, manifesting itself in better public speaking and leadership. Even in managing a team of 50, Ghoora remained level-headed, which Ms. Baber aims to emulate on a daily basis. Using these skills, she has driven the adoption of new technologies across the organization and is a vocal supporter of embracing automation, new software, data-driven team building, and a host of disruptive approaches to growth, which have paid off immensely for the company.

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Work Hard, Be Confident – An Interview with Jo Decker

By Laura Harcourt

Jo A. Decker serves as Vice President of Business Development, Sales and Operations for the Global Solutions Division of General Dynamics Information Technology. In this role, she is responsible for the strategic development of solutions and services for U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, federal and commercial customers.  Ms. Decker served as Vice President of Business Development for the Defense Solutions Division until December of 2015.

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WIT Cyber Tips: Educating Kids on Cyber Safety

This month’s blog posting is an excerpt from the WIT.Wire on kids and cyber safety.

WIT Cyber Tips: Educating Kids on Cyber Safety  

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Caps fan appreciates when employees ask “Why?” – An interview with Sonia Kendall

Ms. Sonia Kendall works at United States Coast Guard (USCG) headquarters, Office of Information Assurance and Spectrum Management.  She represents the USCG telecommunications program in the areas of public safety & interagency (DHS/DOD) interoperability coordination and policy.  Ms. Kendall is a retired USCG Lieutenant; her 25 year Navy/USCG career was solely focused on C4IT related work.  Ms. Kendall is actively pursuing her Doctorate in Business Administration through Columbia Southern University.  She holds a Master in Business Administration Degree from Columbia Southern University, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Systems Management from the University of Maryland University College, and an General Associate’s Degree from Phoenix University.

So, Ms. Kendall. You win the lottery for $10 million. What do you do?  

Considering that I live in Maryland, the take-away from a $10 million lottery win would probably only be $5 million. With that money, I would give part of it to a reputable organization or charity and invest the rest of it.

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Building a Business Case for Integrated Leadership

This month’s blog posting focuses on integrated leadership and why it makes good business sense. This is an excerpt from Rebecca Shambaugh, President of SHAMBAUGH, which was posted on her blog site on March 4th.  Please see her bio after the blog post.

Building a Business Case for Integrated Leadership

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Don’t Let the Cybersecurity Blues Get You Down …Some Practical Tips That Can Really Add Up

This month’s blog post is an excerpt from our WIT Cyber & Tech SIG friend Beth Musumeci, Vice President of Cybersecurity at ICF International.

Don’t Let the Cybersecurity Blues Get You Down …Some Practical Tips That Can Really Add Up
By Beth Musumeci

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Because She’s the Most Qualified – An Interview with Cathy Tilton

By Laura Harcourt

Cathy Tilton is Chief Technologist for Biometrics at CSRA.  She has over 30 yearsof technology development and management experience including systems architecture/engineering, system integration & test, and project management in both government and commercial environments covering a broad range of applications.  Professionally, she is best known as a subject matter expert on biometrics and biometric standards, having served as the US head of delegation to ISO on this topic and industry advisor to Purdue’s biometrics program.  Personally, she is active in her church and community.  She is a former Army officer with degrees in Systems and Nuclear Engineering.

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Want to be a better Negotiator? Improve your EQ!

This month’s blog post is an excerpt from our WIT friend Jane Maliszewski from Vault Associates and focuses on emotional intelligence. This is a nice lead to our event coming up on January 21st - Getting What You Want: Negotiation Skills for Women. Please see Jane’s bio after the blog post.
 
Want to be a better Negotiator? Improve your EQ!
 
Does the word “Negotiation” put a knot in your stomach? 
 
Turns out 39% of professionals in the U.S. feel uncomfortable with negotiations, according to a 2012 LinkedInSurvey of global professionals
 
Are you one of those who would consider a visit to the dentist more enjoyable than negotiating for something you really want?  [No offense to the valuable work of dentists, but a recent DeltaDental survey indicated 48% of parents express anxiety about going to the dentist.]
 
The definition of Negotiation is tame: a “mutual discussion and arrangement of the terms of a transaction or agreement” Sounds easy and unthreatening, right? 
 
Negotiation is something we engage in every day. From convincing your mountain-loving spouse to buy-in to your beach villa dream for this year’s vacation… to buying a new car… to adding someone with special skills to your project team… to convincing a new employer of the value of your expertise… to brokering a multi-million dollar merger with a rival company.  
 
Your negotiation savvy can be enhanced with good Emotional Intelligence. Here are 5 EQ competencies to polish up that will improve your negotiation presence: 
  1. Empathy, the ability to deeply listen and understand where another is coming from, whether you agree with them or not. Knowing the other’s perspective can help you determine what looks like a win-win from their side. 
  2. Emotional Self-Awareness/Expression, the ability to be acutely aware of your feelings about the issue at hand, the parties involved, and the outcome, and how displays of emotion can be perceived in a positive or negative light. Displays of anxiety, for example, can weaken your bargaining position or tempt you to close the conversation too early. Just as important, the presence of mind to identify the emotional triggers around the issue that may arise for you and being prepared to recognize and deal with them.
  3. Assertiveness, the ability to effectively express feelings & beliefs, and stand up for your personal rights even when faced with opposition. Believing that your side/point of view/needs matters and effectively presenting your case. This is not aggression or bullying which only serves to alienate the other party and stir up a defensive reaction, making it harder to develop a solution all will agree to. 
  4. Flexibility, the ability to be agile, tolerant, and react to change. Negotiation by its nature, is meant to be a give and take. Those with flexibility and adept at assessing and responding to the shifting feedback they get from their environment. If you approach negotiation with no wiggle room it is likely you will not get an outcome you can live with. 
  5. Reality Testing, the ability to see things objectively, rather than how we fear or wish them to be.Those with a high reality testing competence are skilled at assessing the environment with an objective lens, keeping their focus on the main issue, and recognizing that all parties view a situation with their own perspective, colored by their experiences and prejudices. Reality testing in negotiation helps balance the ‘head swirl’ of negative emotions which seed doubt and anxiety against the ‘rose-colored glasses’ naiveté that everyone sees things our way.
Harvard Business Review devoted the “spotlight” in the December 2015 issue to the ‘softer side of negotiation,’ including this article on Emotion and theArt of Negotiation. Well worth a read!
Finally, if you are in the DC Metro area, join us on Jan 21st, 2016 when Leslie Mulligan, negotiation consultant at WatershedAssociates, presents a special workshop on Getting What You Want: Negotiation Skills for Women for the Women in Technology  professional organization of the DC Metro area. For more info and to register: http://bit.ly/1mvWYn2
 

Jane Maliszewski is an Executive Coach and founder of VAULT Associates, a consulting business providing leader development and organization effectiveness services to technology companies. She often works with leaders who want to develop Emotional and Social Intelligence competency to create positive changes in their professional and personal lives. Jane served 27 years as an officer in the US Army. She has Masters degrees in Business Administration and National Strategy, and advanced professional certification in Leadership Coaching, Organization Development, and Knowledge Management. Jane is a WIT Board member and Chair of the WIT Programs Committee. Favorite things -- besides helping people achieve their potential! -- are cooking and adventure travel.

5 Money Hacks for the New Year

As we kick off a new year, this month’s blog posting is an excerpt from the December 20, 2015 Working Mother by Teri Cettina, Working Mother contributing writer. You can find her bio at the end of the posting.

5 Money Hacks for the New Year

These are uncomplicated and essential for keeping an eye on your finances.

Want to get smarter about managing your money this coming year? It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming project, says financial coach and mom-to-be Kelsa Dickey, owner of Arizona-based Fiscal Fitness Phoenix. In fact, these are super-simple strategies for getting into better financial shape in 2016.

1. Review those January paychecks. If your salary is automatically deposited into your bank account, it’s easy to forget that this month’s checks could be slightly different amounts. Did you opt for different health insurance coverage? Change your 401k deductions? Who remembers? Those were way back during your open enrollment period. “Particularly if you’ve made any big changes, review your new deposit amounts and update your monthly budget if necessary,” advises Dickey. It’s a simple thing—but not doing it could mess with your bank balance and cause you to overdraft.

2. Let your calendar save you cash. How can something as basic as your schedule help improve your finances? Easy, says Dickey: “My clients who are disorganized spend a lot more money. They pay for missed doctor appointments and late childcare pickup, they eat out a lot because they forgot to pick up groceries, and more.” Whether you use a paper or digital calendar, commit to using it regularly starting January 1. Coordinate schedules with your partner too (Google Calendar makes it easy). Review your kids’ school/daycare calendar along with your and your partner’s work and personal calendars, and enter important 2016 events into your schedule ASAP.
If you use your calendar on your phone, make sure key reminders and appointments are set as pop-up alerts with sound or text. If you constantly run late, set reminders further ahead (30 minutes instead of 10) to give yourself time to disengage from whatever you’re working on and get out the door in time.

3. Use your FSA money now. Got a stack of healthcare and childcare receipts you haven’t yet submitted to your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) provider? Bite the bullet and round them up and submit in January. You probably have a few more months (your employer sets the date) to submit 2015 receipts, but the longer you wait, the more likely you are to forget an expense. If you have a chunk of money left, think: eyeglasses—and go today or tomorrow. Use it or lose it!

4. Embrace library e-book downloads. If you’re a big reader—as many professional women are—you probably drop a good amount of cash on books (both paper and digital). An easy way to save money in 2016: Commit to downloading digital books from the library instead of always buying them. “You can easily go back and buy the book if it’s really great—but often you’re only going to read it once,” says Dickey. Also, if you tend to rack up library fines for late returns, library e-books should be your new best friend. When your borrowing time is up—poof!—the book automatically removes itself from your digital device, so you never pay a late fee. Pretty slick.

5. C’mon, get app-y. “I’m still amazed at how many professional moms haven’t embraced money-saving apps they can use on their smartphone,” says Dickey. Some of her favorites:
  • GasBuddy Compare the price of gas at multiple nearby stations—including warehouse clubs like Costco—so you know whether to fill up near home or somewhere closer to work.
  • Key Ring Add everything from store loyalty cards to your barcode-scannable library card or gym ID card access to this app. You’ll never be without your important cards, and you’ll instantly slim down your wallet. If you have an Apple device, also consider the built-in Wallet app.
  • Mint.com If you don’t use a full-blown budget program, Mint does a great job of tracking and categorizing your expenses, notes Dickey. You can also use its bill-alert system so you don’t overlook a bill and end up paying late fees and extra interest.
  • Your Bank/Credit Union App Mobile deposit is Dickey’s favorite banking feature. Snap a photo of the front and back of your check and submit it electronically. No need to drive to the bank! 
Teri Cettina is a Working Mother contributing writer who specializes in parenting/family, money and business. She also writes for Real Simple, Reader’s Digest, Parents, Women’s Day and more. Teri lives in Portland, OR, with her husband and two daughters. Follow her at @TeriCettina or on LinkedIn, or visit her website Cettinaworks.com.

Can You Navigate the New Normal?

This month’s blog posting is an excerpt from November 11, 2015 from the Washington Technology blog, by WT contributor Nick Wakeman.

Last year, when the immixGroup launched their first Government IT Sales Summit, they asked me to moderate a panel on partnering.

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How Carly’s CEO Style Helped Her Win the Republican Debate

This month’s blog posting is a topical one, speaking about the recent Republican debate. Here is an excerpt from Rebecca Shambaugh, President of SHAMBAUGH, which was posted on her blog site on September 23rd. Please see her bio after the blog post.

How Carly’s CEO Style Helped Her Win the Republican Debate

by Rebecca Shambaugh

A record number of viewers tuned into last week’s Republican debate. While prior to the latest contest Donald Trump had steadily held a significant lead, many pundits agree that after an intense three-hour match, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina dominated the floor, emerging as the number-two candidate not far behind Trump. According to CNN, Fiorina’s support rating climbed to 15 percent—12 percentage points higher than in early September.

Meanwhile, Trump saw a substantial decrease in support post-debate, losing 8 percentage points from earlier in the month and weighing in at just 24 percent.

With less than 10 percentage points now separating Fiorina from the Republican frontrunner, the question everyone wants answered is: what is Fiorina’s secret sauce that enabled her to climb the charts so dramatically and so quickly? Fiorina demonstrated multi-dimensional layers of leadership presence—cultivated from her over five years as chief executive of one of the largest IT companies in the Fortune 500—offering viewers a glimpse of her CEO style as well as substance.

Her style was visible through her executive poise, standing tall with a sense of calm control in an electric blue suit. She was clear and succinct in her delivery and impeccable in her time management, overrunning the timing bell only once throughout the debate. Fiorina’s style also involved rising above the fray as needed, avoiding the types of direct aggressive attacks that Trump has used throughout the campaign when she knew such attacks would not serve her.

Her substance was demonstrated by her tough, calculated demeanor, calling out Trump for his lack of a policy plan and in contrast inserting her own short list of actions she would take to build up America’s military presence. She spoke confidently and firmly about the logistics of her plan, outlining clear action steps. When tested, as she was frequently during the debate, she never wavered—even when challenged about her past performance as CEO at HP and comments about her physical appearance.

What else seemed potentially presidential about Fiorina? Balanced with her firmness and “ready to fight” demeanor, she displayed a clear sense of compassion and emotion that made it easy for potential voters to connect with her, sharing her personal story of having to bury her stepdaughter who died of drug addiction. She also achieved voter empathy by calling out the American Dream, inspiring others with her story of starting her career as a secretary and rising to CEO, proving that anything is possible in our country.

Lastly, Fiorina’s messaging was strong, such as when she highlighted the fact that women are not a “special interest” group: “Women are the majority of this nation,” she said. “We are half the potential of this nation, and this nation will be better off when every woman has the opportunity to live the life she chooses.”

Regardless of your political affiliation, no one can deny that Fiorina is a fighter, and that her stance and style demonstrate the attributes of a strong and capable leader. The American public is looking for a leader with the power to bring not just toughness but also a human side to the table—and for this debate, Fiorina did just that. As the 2016 presidential race heats up, she’s definitely one to watch.

Who do you think won last week’s Republican debate? I welcome your comments to this post.

Rebecca Shambaugh’s Biography

Rebecca Shambaugh is an internationally recognized leadership expert, author, and keynote speaker. She speaks before thousands of leaders around the world every year, challenging conventional wisdom and overturning assumptions about how to lead in today’s business environment. Her compelling and new vision for leadership in the 21st Century has electrified and inspired audiences on six continents.

Rebecca is President of SHAMBAUGH, a global leadership development organization and Founder of Women In Leadership and Learning (WILL), one of the first executive leadership development programs in the country, dedicated to the research, advancement, and retention of women leaders and executives. Rebecca has coached and advised over a hundred leaders and executives and has enhanced their overall level of excellence in such areas as communications, strategic thinking, inclusive leadership, employee engagement, executive presence, and culture transformation.

Prior to starting her own company, Rebecca has worked for such premier organizations as General Motors, Fairchild Industries, and Amax Inc. as a senior executive in the leadership and human capital arena.

Rebecca has been showcased on CNBC, TED Talks, Fox News (New York), NPR, Washington Business, ABC, and numerous syndicated radio talk shows. She has been featured in publications such as: Leader to Leader, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Time Magazine, USA Today, Fortune Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Pink Magazine, and Entrepreneur Magazine.

Rebecca is a known thought leader in the industry and is the author of two best seller books titled, “It’s Not A Glass Ceiling, It’s A Sticky Floor” and “Leadership Secrets of Hillary Clinton,” and her new book, “Make Room For Her: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model To Achieve Extraordinary Results,” all published by McGraw-Hill. Her books illustrate her unconventional and results-focused approach to creating great leaders.

Rebecca partners with a cross-section of clients such as: Booz Allen Hamilton, Dow Chemical, Hilton Worldwide, KPMG, Marriott International, IBM, Cisco, National Grid, Humana, HP, Intelsat, MedImmune, Microsoft, and J&J. She is a member of the National Press Club, the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., on the Board of Visitors for Marymount University, on the Board of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, and on the Executive Board for the Virginia Women’s Center. Rebecca is also the Chairman of the Board of Young Women Lead and an Executive Partner for Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business, as well as on the Board of the Red Cross. Other accomplishments include recipient of the Smart CEO Brava! Award, Women Who Mean Business Award, Entrepreneur Organization of the Year Award, and Finalist for the Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Award for Woman-Owned Business of the Year.

Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Relations from Purdue University and a Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Development from Marymount University.

What Do Men Get Out of Advancing Women?

This month’s blog posting is an excerpt from Rayona Sharpnack, the founder and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Leadership which was posted on the Diversity Best Practices blog site on July 27th. Please see her bio after the blog post.

What Do Men Get Out of Advancing Women?

by Rayona Sharpnack, Founder and CEO, Institute for Women’s Leadership

"I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together."
–Jack Johnson, from Better Together on the album "Between Dreams" 


There are many terms bouncing around the internet these days to describe the ideal state for men and women who work together: gender equity, gender equality, gender parity, and gender balance, to name a few.


To me, these terms have a regrettable tinge of separate but equal. What I envision is Gender Partnership, where men and women of all colors and backgrounds bring their widely diverse talents and skills to the table and work together in service of a common goal. (You might recall my May 4 article on the differences between men's and women's brains and how they make it vital to have both perspectives working on the same issue at the same time.)


Now, not everyone is a "team player" who wants to work in partnership. But I urge each of you to open your minds to the experience of trading some innate preferences or understandable pride in individual achievement for the greater results -- and greater pleasure – that come from truly cooperative success.


There's a catch, though. We know from research and past experience that in order for women to be given an opportunity to express their full potential at work, they need men speaking up for them. Men have the power to open more doors, make others listen, and enlist other men in the cause. They can serve as powerful, positive mentors for women wanting to move up the corporate ladder. They've got the clout, they've got the numbers, and when they support the advancement of women in their companies, they cannot be accused of self-interest. Their words carry weight.


I have seen this first-hand in the companies I work with. Gender Partnership goes from being a slightly suspect new concept to men to an exciting (and well-documented) path to increased profits, better problem solving, more innovation, higher customer satisfaction and increased productivity.
 

There has been much documented about the economic benefits corporations have yielded from higher percentages of women in leadership. Here are some of the specific benefits men reap from stepping up and speaking out in behalf advancing women to achieve full Gender Partnership.

       •    They can get better performance reviews   


According to a recent study from the University of Colorado, when white men promoted diversity in hiring and advancement, they got a bump in their  performance reviews. (Women and non-white executives who pushed for other minority candidates to be hired and promoted, however, got dinged when it  came to their performance reviews. Women recommending other women were perceived as colder; non-white executives recommending other non-white executives were seen as less competent.)

       •    They can contribute significantly to talent retention among women at their company


A number of respected studies have shown that women are actively (unconsciously) discouraged from returning to work after having a child. The results of a large survey of Harvard's female MBA grads "suggest that when high-achieving, highly educated professional women leave their jobs after becoming mothers, only a small number do so because they prefer to devote themselves exclusively to motherhood; the vast majority leave reluctantly and as a last resort, because they find themselves in unfulfilling roles with dim prospects for advancement."

The Los Angeles Times reported that qualified women are leaving the tech industry in droves. Women in tech say filling the pipeline of talent won't do much good if women keep quitting — it's like trying to fill a leaking bucket… A Harvard Business Review study from 2008 found that as many as 50% of women  working in science, engineering and technology will, over time, leave because of hostile work environments and male cultures, a sense of isolation, and lack of  a clear career path. An updated study in 2014 found the reasons hadn't significantly changed.


The 200 largest law firms in the country are running into the same problem. Women make up just 17% of the equity partners in these large firms. "The reason for the female exodus from traditional law firm life," an article in the American Bar Association Journal said, "likely touches on… poor culture, inflexibility, and archaic and inefficient business structures."


       •    They can be heroes in saving their companies money


Let's take just one example: It costs $150,000 to $200,000 to replace a high tech worker. This includes the cost of recruiting, the hiring and vetting process and training the newcomer. It doesn't even include the losses incurred in terms of the talent relationships that walk out the door.


And consider this: How much does a company have to make on the top line to pay out a bottom line cost of $200,000?


       •    They can help fill the pipeline and ensure their company’s future


Within five years, more than 60 percent of all of U.S. college grads will be women – while simultaneously 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 every day!   Which companies will they choose to work for?  Firms that practice full Gender Partnership and welcome their ideas, career aspirations, and collaborative approaches to problem solving? Or those with cultures that are unfriendly, dismissive of their talents, and slow to promote them to positions of authority?

       •    They can become better people, fathers, husbands and contributors by uncovering their unconscious gender bias


Few of us believe that we go through life having unconscious bias about women or ethnically diverse people. But one only has to take the Implicit Association Test to see that it's alive in us in every category.  Even women are biased against women, blacks against blacks, and so on. Until we come to consciousness about the frame of reference from which we regard and judge others, this won't change.

I have worked with groups around identifying and shifting their frames of reference – their contexts – for more than 30 years. Here is the process for doing so:  1) Identify your current frame of reference (a belief you have that forms a conclusion) that isn't working for you such as “Women with small children won’t take jobs that require travel”; 2) Consciously choose a new contextual frame of reference (e.g. “Women can be trusted to make job decisions that work for their families”).


Another simple example is this. If your current frame of references sees people unlike you as "them" you can choose a new frame of reference that trades in “It's us versus them" for "It's all us." If you look for evidence to support your new frame of reference, I suspect you will find it as readily as you ever did "proof" of  how valid you old frame of reference was.
 

Man or woman, young or old, Asian, African-American, Latino, Native American – I urge each of you to make the commitment to full Gender Partnership – and check your unconscious bias at the door!

Rayona Sharpnack’s Biography

Rayona Sharpnack is the founder and CEO of the Institute for Women's Leadership, an organization renowned since 1991 for its groundbreaking initiatives in leadership and organizational effectiveness. Drawing from highly successful careers in education, professional sports, and business, Sharpnack is an inspirational teacher, coach and mentor to senior executives across industries. She is also co-founder of GenderAllies, an alliance of inclusion professionals committed to full gender partnership.

Sharpnack's clients include Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, universities and nonprofits, including Pfizer, Gap Inc., Hertz, Cardinal Health, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard and World Pulse. Her masterful approach takes complex theoretical concepts and distills them into memorable and easily grasped learning. More than 20,000 women and men – from mid-level managers to C-suite executives – have relied on her and the Institute for Women's Leadership to coach them to achieve breakthrough results both at work and in their personal lives.

Her pioneering work has earned her numerous awards and appointment as Chairwoman of Leadership Development on the Women's Leadership Board of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Sharpnack has presented her outstanding achievements in advancing women leaders and building high-performance organizations to prestigious institutions and associations such as:
  • Harvard University 
  • Stanford Business School
  • U.C. Berkeley's Hass School of Business
  • State of the World Forum

  • Canadian Federal Government
  • Australian Federal Government
  • Leadership America
  • Professional and Business Women of California
National publications, including Fast Company and The New York Times, have showcased her leadership model.

WIT.Connect: Resiliency & Bouncing Back!

This month’s blog post is a recap of our recent WIT.Connect from June 18th on resiliency and bouncing back from adversities. Our guest writer is an eleventh grader and future Girls in Technology (GIT) member from Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, VA.

WIT.Connect: Resiliency & Bouncing Back!

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Is Culture of Overwork Behind Women’s Stalled Advancement?

This month’s blog posting caught our eye. It’s an excerpt from Rebecca Shambaugh posted on June 9th. Please see her bio after the blog post.

Is Culture of Overwork Behind Women’s Stalled Advancement?
by Becky Shambaugh


The speculated reason why fewer women than men reach the leadership ranks has changed over time. From the early to mid-1990s, most explanations for the discrepancy at the top pointed to sexism and sexual harassment of women, according to research from Harvard Business School (HBS). From the mid-90s to 2000, the media chorus shifted to blame women’s exclusion from the “old boy’s club.” By 2001, the focus turned to responsibilities for children as the reason more women couldn’t get ahead.

But in recent years, the pendulum has swung in a different, though related direction—the challenge of balancing work and family, and women’s continued greater burden in managing household matters. Now, a 2015 study being released as part of HBS’s new gender initiative has questioned whether women’s competing work-life demands are really the primary problem—or if America’s corporate culture of overwork is.

The HBS study, co-authored by Harvard professor Robin Ely with researchers Irene Padavic of Florida State University and Erin Reid of Boston University, was based on results from an unnamed global consulting firm with 90 percent male partners. The researchers set out to determine how to both boost the number of women promoted to the higher echelons of the firm, and decrease the number of women who left the firm.

The surprising results were that it wasn’t a lack of family-friendly policies that were the main reason women were held back. Instead, the culprit identified behind this distressing long-term trend was a round-the-clock work culture that demands both women and men alike be constantly available to their boss and colleagues in order to get ahead.

In a recent article in The New York Times, Claire Cain Miller notes that this workaholic expectation is particularly acute in industries like consulting, finance, law, and accounting. Data from the Current Population Survey shows high earners work the longest hours, and that Americans of both genders spend significantly more time in the office today than they did in past decades.

Some take-home points from the HBS study:
  • Men quit at the same rate as women, and were as likely as women (or more so) to blame long hours at work for interfering with their family lives.
  • While more women took advantage of formal flexible work policies (like working part-time) than men, deciding to do so often derailed their careers.
  • Men used different strategies than women to try to deal with the problem of long hours expectations. Unlike women, men often worked their preferred number of hours without asking for their company’s permission, while others reduced travel by finding more local clients or arranging informally for colleagues to cover for them while they attended their children’s events.
  • While men’s attempts like these to maintain work-life balance often led to promotion, women were not similarly rewarded by the company if they left the office at the end of the day or flexed their schedule creatively. In Miller’s article, she reported that the researchers said, “When a man left at 5 p.m., people at the office assumed he was meeting a client. When a woman left, they assumed she was going home to her children.”
There are no easy answers here, yet the study raises new questions about what types of changes in corporate culture might help the problem of women’s stalled advancement. In Miller’s article, she quotes HBS study co-author Ely as asking, “Is it really necessary for people to be on call 24/7? The answer is increasingly no. These professions are beholden to the whims of the client, and every question has to be answered immediately—but it probably doesn’t.”

To learn more about how SHAMBAUGH can help you build inclusive/integrated leadership within your organization, or about SHAMBAUGH’s targeted women’s leadership development programs, executive coaching, and other core services, visit www.shambaughleadership.com.


Rebecca Shambaugh is author of the best-selling books “It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor”, “Make Room for Her: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model to Achieve Extraordinary Results” and "Leadership Secrets of Hillary Clinton."

Rebecca Shambaugh’s Biography

Rebecca Shambaugh is an internationally recognized leadership expert, author, and keynote speaker. She speaks before thousands of leaders around the world every year, challenging conventional wisdom and overturning assumptions about how to lead in today’s business environment. Her compelling and new vision for leadership in the 21st Century has electrified and inspired audiences on six continents.

Rebecca is President of SHAMBAUGH, a global leadership development organization and Founder of Women In Leadership and Learning (WILL), one of the first executive leadership development programs in the country, dedicated to the research, advancement, and retention of women leaders and executives. Rebecca has coached and advised over a hundred leaders and executives and has enhanced their overall level of excellence in such areas as communications, strategic thinking, inclusive leadership, employee engagement, executive presence, and culture transformation.

Prior to starting her own company, Rebecca has worked for such premier organizations as General Motors, Fairchild Industries, and Amax Inc. as a senior executive in the leadership and human capital arena.

Rebecca has been showcased on CNBC, TED Talks, Fox News (New York), NPR, Washington Business, ABC, and numerous syndicated radio talk shows. She has been featured in publications such as: Leader to Leader, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Time Magazine, USA Today, Fortune Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Pink Magazine, and Entrepreneur Magazine.

Rebecca is a known thought leader in the industry and is the author of two best seller books titled, “It’s Not A Glass Ceiling, It’s A Sticky Floor” and “Leadership Secrets of Hillary Clinton,” and her new book, “Make Room For Her: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model To Achieve Extraordinary Results,” all published by McGraw-Hill. Her books illustrate her unconventional and results-focused approach to creating great leaders.

Rebecca partners with a cross-section of clients such as: Booz Allen Hamilton, Dow Chemical, Hilton Worldwide, KPMG, Marriott International, IBM, Cisco, National Grid, Humana, HP, Intelsat, MedImmune, Microsoft, and J&J. She is a member of the National Press Club, the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., on the Board of Visitors for Marymount University, on the Board of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, and on the Executive Board for the Virginia Women’s Center. Rebecca is also the Chairman of the Board of Young Women Lead and an Executive Partner for Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business, as well as on the Board of the Red Cross. Other accomplishments include recipient of the Smart CEO Brava! Award, Women Who Mean Business Award, Entrepreneur Organization of the Year Award, and Finalist for the Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Award for Woman-Owned Business of the Year.

Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Relations from Purdue University and a Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Development from Marymount University.

The Ultimate Mentor to Women: Dave Goldberg

This month’s blog posting is an excerpt from our friend Rebecca Shambaugh, recognized leadership expert and author. This is her timely blog entry from May 6, 2015 on the passing of SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg. Please see her bio after the blog post.

The Ultimate Mentor to Women: Dave Goldberg
by Becky Shambaugh

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STEM: Engineering the Future for Women in Science

This month’s blog posting is an excerpt from the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Corporate Citizenship Center blog.  This piece is by Anna Maria Chavez, the Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts USA and is titled STEM: Engineering the Future for Women in Science.

Please see her bio after the blog post. Enjoy!

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