The Power of Feminine Leadership

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the Tuck Business School Executive Leadership program. I gathered with about 60 other female CEO’s from varying size companies. Some of us were first generation entrepreneurs (founders) and some were 2nd and 3rd generation entrepreneurs taking over at the helm of parents and grandparents. Some were sole proprietors while others were leading $100mm+ organizations. Whatever the mix, we all had similar challenges. We rejoiced, we cried and we celebrated!!

As the week approached it felt more like a burden to take me away from my company and consistently mounting list of tasks. Hurricane Joaquin was brewing in the Atlantic heading up the coast and I was wishing that bad weather would delay the program. Nope, Joaquin veered off into the ocean and I was free & clear to arrive on time. So I drove up to North Jersey on Sunday, got to my room and slowly unpacked and mentally prepared myself for an intense week of learning. I was already tired, balancing caretaking for my mom and just not in the mood to put on my extroverted hat. Too bad; I’m here to learn, give and build collaborative partnerships.

The first reception was a pleasant introduction to the professors and sponsors; all whom were welcoming and gracious. I thought to myself that with all the preparations that go into making this a globally successful program, I would overcome my own “stuff” and jump in fully. The first day we all went around the room making introductions and listened to valuable insights about how to dig deeper into our organizations. As I listened and took notes, there were feelings of gratitude that my organization is positioned with so much going for it and the employees. I had no horror stories to share and that is unusual with the journey myself & AdNet has been on since the recession. Everyone is working so well together, has each other’s backs in a fiercely loyal way and works toward success for the team while growing as individuals. The days of the greedy lone wolves are long gone and I love it!!! Listening to others challenges had me dig deeper into my company’s structure and foundation. Both are strong AND we have areas that definitely need improvement. I went back to my room each night filled with ideas and questions that need to be asked. It was enlightening.

As the week progressed, the natural bonding of like minded women began to form. We could look at each other after a thought provoking comment and almost be able to finish each other’s sentences. And then the humorous side comments poking fun at ourselves and each other made sometimes intense learning easier to bear. This was a room filled with highly accomplished women who are committed to our craft of running businesses; and it is a craft I love!!! Nothing can stop any of us and the economy and life experiences have tried to set us back. Yes, we all had/have various setbacks yet the common theme is that we are all warriors with an incredible resolve!!! I look at my own journey and with what life has put on my path over the past 5 years; I know how to pick myself up, dust myself off and forge a new path. Nothing can keep me from my joy!!!

I came away from the program with not just a clearer roadmap and affirmation that AdNet is on a solid path but at the end, amazing women and one incredible man (who is the lead professor) who will help keep my leadership on track. The energy in the room was something that can’t be bottled; you have to experience it to take it with you. And the beauty of that energy is that it can be easily accessible by just asking or sitting still long enough to recall the messages. One more time I learned that when I take more time to work “on” my company versus “in” my company, we grow at a healthier & more accelerated pace. That was my final outcome; that growth is the goal and it must be a healthy culture for the revenue growth to have greater meaning. So that is my focus and priority. You won’t find me bragging about numbers; you will hear me share how an ailing company is healing and thriving. We are advocates for workplace excellence and equality!! That is who we are and very much who I am. Thank you WBENC for sending me and thank you to my team for doing your magic in my absence.

I highly recommend the Tuck Program. It is a life changer; a gift!!