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Lessons Learned From Ursula Burns and Ann Mulcahy

courage power speak up Feb 10, 2021

Lessons Learned From Ursula Burns and Ann Mulcahy

Something extraordinary happened at Xerox between 2001 and 2009, prior to the only woman to woman CEO changing of the guard in a large Fortune 500 company. For almost a decade, Ann Mulcahy was a fierce ally and supporter of Ursula Burns, so there would be a smooth transition when Ursula became CEO in 2009. In Mulcahy’s HBR article How I Did It: Xerox’s Former CEO on Why Succession Shouldn’t Be a Horse Race, she was not threatened by the brilliant, outspoken, and power of Burns. Mulcahy recognized Burn’s strengths, challenged her to improve her weaknesses and championed her for almost a decade until Burns eventually replaced her as CEO. 

What can we learn from these two compassionate and powerful women, and how can we use this wisdom to empower more female leaders, emerging leaders and male allies, especially those who sit on the margins?

Quite a lot, but here are two important things to ponder and hopefully...

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Ever Regretted NOT Speaking Up?

Ever Regretted NOT Speaking Up?

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Have you ever had a birthday come and go when you received nothing? No recognition, no card, no special dinner. Nothin'! That happened to me a while back, and it felt like I was invisible and no one cared. The reality was that the most important people in my life cared, but it somehow slipped their busy minds.

See, it’s a human drive to be acknowledged and validated. For example, "Happy birthday!" "Can we spend some time together?" "I made you a card that has a heartfelt note." etc.

When it comes to work, we can have greater influence on ourselves and our teams if we acknowledge our/their milestones... great and small. If we celebrate the process and not just the outcomes, such as making those follow-up calls, the trips to the gym, or trying that new recipe... rather than just the closed deals, weight loss or delicious meals prepared.

If we are not receiving what we need from our colleagues, management, family or...

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Tired of NOT Being Heard?

Tired of NOT Being Heard?

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Four years ago I got asked by a dear friend to sit on a panel for a Google Ventures sponsored event which was hosted by Autodesk. The topic was "Mental Toughness for Women in Tech."

I thanked my friend, and politely declined.

At the time and for the past 25 years, my clients were world-class athletes typically ages 16-22... not the best, brightest and most successful women in technology residing in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and beyond.

Full transparency, I was scared.

Why would they listen to me? I essentially helped the top 1% teens and young adults to be their best, consistently and under highly important or high stakes situations.

Thankfully my friend at Autodesk was persistent, and fortunately I decided that my voice deserved to be heard. I prepared extensively (and then even prepared a lot more), showed up, delivered, and my business was forever changed... especially after I heard this from one of the...

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3 Key Learnings from Women in Cloud Summit 2019

3 Key Learnings from Women in Cloud Summit 2019

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I am so excited! I spent all day at the Women in Cloud Summit 2019 at Microsoft, learning from over 1,000 of the country’s top technologists and tech entrepreneurs and doing a book signing for ZONED IN.

Let’s talk about a couple of the things from the book that resonated most with these amazing women and which are important to all of us.

  1. The importance of long-term clarity:
    Not just your one-year goal, but your five-year goals. This has less to do with what tasks will you accomplish and more to do with how you want to be remembered or what legacy you want to create. Once this is dialed in (It can be hard to do, but there is a process to figure it out!), you have the platform to create the reality for yourself, your team or for you family.
  2. Discovering how you want to feel in your days:
    I shared tips, tools and habits how to take control of work-life balance, how to slow down...
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