What I Learned at the National Association of Women MBA Conference

At the National Association of Women MBA (NAWMBA) conference during October 19-21, women leaders from various industries and businesses gathered in one room to share best practices, industry trends, and stories of personal development and career exploration.

I met Dianna Klein, who shared her prediction of the role of drones in business; Davina Linguist from a Real East company, who expanded my vision of job diversity there; woman from PNC shared how to be healthy and fit in all situations.

Particularly I ‘d love to share my conversation with two fabulous women leaders–the author, speaker and woman entrepreneur– Lisa Marie Platske; and the author, coach and consultant Vivian Blade.

Getting to know Lisa was such a joy. At first, I was drawn to her name tag—Upside Thinking LLC. What does that mean? Is there a downside thinking? Then I got the honor to meet and chat with this brilliant woman. She is very observant and intentional in the interactions she has with others, and is willing to make an effort to create a special experience with everyone she meets. She shared with me these 7 pillars of Leadership:

7 Pillars of Leadership

  1. Plan

Create a written plan aligned with your mission, value and vision. Understand why what you want matters.

  1. Personality

Understand who you are and who you’re not by utilizting behavioral assessments to generate greater influence.

  1. Partnership

Develop collaborative relationships with like-minded peers to leverage bigger opportunities.

  1. Priorities

Identify your non-negotiables in business and at home. Ensure that your physical, emotional, intellectual, financial, spiritual, relational, and work/creativity well-being are well-balanced for optimal results.

  1. Presence

Increase your executive presence through clear positioning and understanding the importance of image. Discover how knowing what to say, when to say it and who to say it to will increase your impact.

  1. Progress

Evaluate where you are using clear metrics. Change direction if necessary.

  1. Professional Development

Invest in furthering your knowledge, skills and abilities to ensure you are a leader worth following.


Executive Presence Guide for Emerging Leaders

Vivian went through her transition from an associate to an executive decision-maker with external guidance and support. That inspired her to pay it back and speak to emerging leaders in order to facilitate their journey of establishing executive presence.

To give you a better idea, here is part of the interview:

Q: What are common issues you encountered working with emerging leaders?

A: Credibility. Can I pass the Credibility ticket based on whether I am delivering effectively, according to what the business needs and where it’s going?

Sometimes the credibility crisis is from within. One of the solutions for self- doubting is always being prepared. That also goes back to the dimension of the executive presence that I talked about—Business Intelligence. Knowledge is something no one can take away from you just like of the importance of getting you an educational degree. If you have knowledge that you can come to the table with, that begins to build your confidence because now I know the connection between my recommendations, the decisions and the comments I made. I know the connection between the business and the industry and there is a relationship that other people can’t see that. So, I’ll be more confident about that.

Then if you’re presenting – for example you go to a meeting where you have an opportunity to share of thoughts and ideas, prepare for that. What are things that are going to be discussed, what’s the information that I need to know? Who is gonna be there, what are the things they care about? What’s their point of view and why? And what are my opinions and thoughts and ideas in comparison to all of those? Therefore, how can I begin to share my response – my input – based on these pieces of information? So if you prepared in that way and you got some background insights, so when you go into the meeting ready to substantiate your point. If you’re presenting, make sure you practice, and then you are going to definitely be more confident.

Q: If you are speaking to a group of men, how will you tailor the speech? What will be the differences?

A: In large context the information on the dimensions of executive presence are really the same. And sometimes for males, the advocacy, the speaking up, the sharing of what work got done, connecting to relationships may be a bit more natural for some. I don’t want to make an over generalization here, but just the socialization of our girls versus boys when we grew up in our society creates some of the differences. But what I talk about is really about where you are in your career positionally more so than genders. I see it as challenges and difficulties with executive presence early in your career. Do I have it or not? How do I build it? And people are told that you need to walk on. But what does it mean?

To me the Conference was a gathering of wonderful people to exchange ideas and news. I always learn so much from people at conferences and had a good time exploring this new one.



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