"The program gave me a close-up view of political, business and social issues and trends, information that is invaluable to me as an entrepreneur and active participant in the success of our great state. The speakers were incredible� they inspired us and stretched our minds. The opportunity to connect with successful and dynamic California women leaders was a main highlight. Being part of Leadership California is like being part of a powerful sisterhood."

—Ursula C. Mentjes, M.S., ACC
President and Certified Business Coach
Potential Quest, Inc.
"I have enjoyed my involvement with Leadership California. Our trip to the state capitol was most enlightening. As a result I have gotten involved with the Los Angeles African American Women's Political Action Committee. Thank you, Leadership California, for sparking a genuine interest in the political process."

—Shawn Farrar
Director Corporate Diversity
Sempra Energy
"The CIT program brings together successful women from all over California, and gives them the opportunity to build a network with other successful women. It's a way to learn about the important issues in our state, and to get ready to take the next step in your professional life."

—Isela Vilchis Hoenigmann
"Leadership California has provided me a panoramic view of issues, challenges and opportunities for this lovely state that I live in. The program was my introduction to women of unbelievable talent, experience and passion who are set to make a difference. The feeling to want to be more, to accomplish more, is simply contagious. I hope to know these women for the rest of my life."

—Rosario Montes-Arena
Manager, IBM Software Executive Briefing Program
Silicon Valley & Worldwide Briefing Program
"As a young immigrant woman working in the nonprofit sector, it was inspiring to see women leaders in action, to be able to network with them, and talk about the issues that are relevant to our communities and our state. I feel honored and privileged for the opportunity to participate in such an awesome program that weaves women leaders from different sectors and geographies of California to engage in a conversation about the social, political, and economic fabric of California."

—Winnie Hui-Min Yu
Development Associate
Asian Law Caucus
San Francisco
"I've spent half of my work life in the corporate world, and the past ten years in the nonprofit world, but neither taught me how to be who I am at work�the whole pastiche of talent and spirit. I found role models who excited me, the true state of our state of California (which frustrated me), work partners continually learning like me, and friends."

—Peta G. Penson, Ed. D.
Oakland Unified School District
"Leadership California sessions feature influential speakers and lively discussion on timely issues shaping the economy and workforce. The session on work-life balance struck a chord with me, where key leaders advised us to map out a personal career plan. Networking with other women was invaluable. Leadership California is an engaging and downright fun experience."

—Roberta Tinajero-Frankel
Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Dept.
Healthy Eating, Active Living Project Manager
"Simply put, Leadership California is time well spent that will benefit me personally and professionally for years to come. I've not only kept in contact with my fellow classmates on a social level, but have had opportunities to work with some of them on business projects as our professional paths crossed. The sessions gave in-depth looks at the critical social issues that many Californians face, inspiring me to get more involved in my community�s outreach programs."

—Teena Massingill
Manager of Corporate Public Affairs
Safeway Inc.


A distinguished panel of women leaders included, from left, Marty Gilles, Teresa Briggs, moderator Barbara Kaufman, Ph.D. and Theodora R. Lee, Esq.


5 Key Takeaways from Successful Women in Male-Dominated Fields

By Barbara Kaufman, Ph.D.
May 5, 2014

I was struck by the responses from a panel I moderated on Sunday evening, “Lessons Learned on the Journey” with three gifted women leaders in fields historically dominated by men. The topic was career trajectories and what it took to get to their positions of leadership. Our audience was the Leadership California Class of 2014, who met our speakers at Session II in San Francisco last week.

Our distinguished panel included Marty Gilles, Vice President of Strategy, Planning & Technology, Chevron Corporation; Teresa Briggs, West Region Managing Partner, Deloitte; and Theodora R. Lee, Esq., (’93) Shareholder, Littler Mendelson, P.C.


“Be willing to reinvent yourself. You are only as good as what you have done for your last client.”

Here’s a recap of their key points:

1.  STARTING OUT IN A CAREER, A LINEAR PROGRESSION HELPS YOU DEVELOP a deep understanding of the business. However, from there, you need to be open to non-linear opportunities. This means being able to take risks and recognize, as Teresa said, "If not me, who?" when you feel you are not quite ready for the opportunity presented. You have to be able to deal with ambiguity and work through defining a role. Persistence and resiliency in the face of adversity are critical success factors if you expect to be an exceptional leader.

2.  ACTIVE SPONSORSHIP IS DIFFERENT THAN MENTORING OR COACHING in that sponsors are active in seeking opportunities for you. For example, a sponsor is willing to open doors and put their "currency" and reputation on the line by suggesting you for opportunities to grow. It is wise to have more than one sponsor.

3.  BUILDING STRATEGIC NETWORKS is a critical success factor. You need not only an operational network but a network that helps you realize your future goals. Don't wait to build a network until you need one. You want to build a network of reciprocal relationships.

4. “LEAN IN” WHEN YOU NEED TO TAKE THE RISK of asking for an opportunity, as Teresa suggested. Lean in to get what you what. Promote yourself, e.g. by having others mention your achievements. Be willing to reinvent yourself. As Theo commented, "you are only as good as what you have done for your last client." Teresa mentioned the need to "be your own advocate" when you are doing impactful work. When she didn’t receive a couple of promotions for which she was highly qualified, Marty recalled a letter she wrote to her boss's boss to ask, “What else do I need to do to be ready for the next opportunity?” 

5.  “LEAN OUT" AND TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Make appointments on your calendar that will contribute to your personal resiliency in areas like regular exercise and hobbies. Theo bought land and began growing grapes as a way to add balance to her busy work life—but you don't have to buy a vineyard! Teresa mentioned asking herself, "Do I add value in this activity?" as a way of taking unrewarding or unproductive activities off her calendar. Theo likes to ask herself the question "Do I have a passion for this?" as her filter.

Take it from these three wise women: it takes a journey to get ready for your next leadership role. Make sure you’re prepared.


Barbara Kaufman, Ph.D. is founder and president of ROI Consulting Group, Inc., offering high-value customized programs and services for senior leaders and their teams to accelerate leadership effectiveness, including executive coaching, on-boarding advice, leadership assessment, retreat facilitation, comprehensive performance reviews for senior administrators and board development services. She is an alumna, Class of 1995, and a past-president of Leadership California. www.roiconsultinggroup.com.





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