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Advice From Women Leaders On Our Board Of Directors

Advice from Women Leaders on our Board of Directors

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, we would like to celebrate the women on our board by sharing their wisdom with future leaders everywhere. Here’s what they said…

Dawnet Beverley, Vice President and Managing Director, Donnelley Financial Solutions

Question #1: What advice do you have for the next generation of women leaders?

I recently attended our sales conference and our guest speaker was Jim Abbott. He was inspirational as he shared his life’s journey. His advice captured exactly what I would share with the next generation of women. Be the person who knows how to ADAPT!

A –Adjust often, quickly, without judgement, shame or fear of failure
D –Determination — be resolute, have strong will
A — Accountability — hold yourself and others accountable. Do what you say and what is expected
P— Perseverance — even when it isn’t easy, press on!
T— Trust — trust others, be trustworthy: your team is counting on you

Question #2: What woman inspires you and why? (other than a relative)

Oprah Winfrey inspires me. I have had the pleasure of hearing her speak at an event and, WOW! she is as impressive as she has been on TV. I have listened to her intentionally, and her authenticity; the power of her work; the wisdom of her words; and, the kindness of her heart, continually inspire me. She allows herself to be vulnerable, and learns from her challenges and that of others around her and she shares, without apology, that which she “knows for sure”. I admire her deeply!

Question #3: What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

The opportunity to lead, while a privilege, is a great responsibility. Approach every day with humility and treat everyone with respect.

Rhonda Johnson, President, AT&T California

Question #1: What advice do you have for the next generation of women leaders?

Find your voice and always find your seat at the table – do it humbly and with an attitude to learn and grow, but be at that table. Your opinions matter and your voice matters, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Question #2: What woman inspires you and why? 

Madeline Albright. I didn’t really have any women role models early in my career, and instead I ran across a few women in leadership who embodied Madeline Albright’s famous quote “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” I’m inspired by her ability to blaze her own path in a male-dominated world, but also by her candor in how she overcame imposter syndrome by finding her voice, and how she continues to use that voice to lift up other women.

Question #3: What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Be humble and always learn from mistakes. It’s important to have and express your vision as a leader, but that vision must be malleable as we learn and grow. Acknowledging our mistakes and collectively learning from them engenders trust from your teams and a shared sense of purpose.

Stacy Owen, President & General Manager, NBC Bay Area and Telemundo 48

Question #1: What advice do you have for the next generation of women leaders?

Don’t be afraid of leaning into your womanhood. It is one of the things that makes you unique. Empathy, problem-solving, diplomacy. Once perceived as weaknesses, they are your strength. Have an open ear, connect with your people, listen. Be a unifier, a coach, an open ear. From that foundation, you can build skyscrapers.

Question #2: What woman inspires you and why? (other than a relative)

I am inspired by all three “Madame Secretaries.” Regardless of your – or their – politics, they faced the challenge of being taken as the voice of the nation in countries around the world, many of which are marked by male-dominated cultures where women are little more than property. Yet they stood tall, strong, and fair.

Question #3: What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Be strong, be decisive, but be kind. Listen. An expression I love – but don’t always follow – is “no one ever learned anything while talking.”

Dr. Mary Papazian, President, San Jose State University

Question #1: What advice do you have for the next generation of women leaders?

Throughout my career, from my days as a PhD candidate through the growing challenges of university teaching, scholarship and leadership, I have benefited from the generosity of many advisors, mentors, and supporters. So, similarly, I would encourage the next generation of women leaders to harness the experience, wisdom and power of others they encounter along the way as they find their own leadership styles and voices. You are not alone, I would remind them.

Question #2: What woman inspires you and why? (other than a relative)

There are many women who have inspired me over the years, but I am particularly awed by the courage and bravery of those women—including my own grandmother—who survived the Armenian genocide. Despite the unimaginable trauma and suffering they experienced, many went on to have families and lead productive lives, lives that allowed generations after them to thrive and prosper. The fortitude and strength displayed by these women is astonishing and humbling.

Question #3: What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

I learned from a young age, largely from my family, that I would have to assert myself. My father loved current events and always encouraged lively debate around the dinner table. So, growing up in that kind of environment – with three brothers!—I quickly learned that to be heard, I would have to just jump right in. Women often feel that they have to be invited in, but that is just not the case.

Elizabeth “Lizz” Vilardo Morgan, MD, MBA, President & CEO, Sutter Health Bay Area Medical Foundations

Question #1: What advice do you have for the next generation of women leaders?

Don’t be a great woman leader be a great leader! In other words you have been given (or developed) special talents some related to gender some not, your leadership is your leadership comparable to any other leader.

Question #2: What woman inspires you and why? (other than a relative)

That is at least 50% of the people that inspire me, but I’ll give it a try.

Eleanor Roosevelt an amazing woman who used her knitting, as I do, as a concentration device. It also helps me not speak before I engage my brain.

Question #3: What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Presume positive intent, people are trying to do the right thing be sure you understand their point of view- before you begin the deep dialogue needed to come to a better solution.

March 31, 2020

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