Monthly Archives: May 2013

Helen Drinan: A Woman Who LEADS in Academia


Helen Drinan - Photo
Few women can claim to have had a direct impact on the lives of thousands of young women, but Helen Drinan has done just that. As president of Simmons College in Boston, she is both a role model to her students and an active contributor to their academic and career success.

Like many successful women, Drinan has shown her talent for leadership in multiple fields. Before joining Simmons College, she was a leader in healthcare and business who hired, recognized, and empowered women employees. While serving as executive vice president of Bank Boston, she developed strategies for diversity and work-life policy that were recognized locally and nationally.

Drinan did not achieve her success overnight. Along the way, she faced some enormous challenges, including an abusive boss. But she fought back, approaching the problem with grace and fortitude. The incident set her up for success and gave her insights that would prove useful when she became a leader herself and could influence workplace policy.

As she wrote in the Huffington Post:

I believe to this day that standing up against this behavior, calling on executive leadership to take a support position, making a very tough decision (to end the matter without further conversation), and to continue working very hard, not only saved my career, but also helped me continue to ascend into leadership positions. […]  In the end, clear goals, education, experience, and confidence will move the ranks of talented and motivated women to great heights.

For her personal professional achievements across fields, for her commitment to empowering women leaders in her own company, and for her willingness to share her own story with others, we recognize Helen Drinan as a Woman Who Leads in Academia and Inspires Others. 

Helen-Drinan

To learn more about how the revolutionary WomenLEAD platform supports women’s development as leaders individually and within organizations, please check out our main page at www.womenleadinc.com and consider supporting our Indiegogo fundraising campaign. Follow us on Twitter @WomenLEADInc. 

 

Deborah Dunsire: A Woman Who LEADS in Biotech

D DunsireDeborah Dunsire former CEO of Takada Millennium Pharmaceutical is a big name in biotech, but her leadership is an inspiration to women in any field!

Dunsire was born in South Africa, where she studied medicine. She started her career as a physician, but it wasn’t long before she turned her attention toward the development of potentially life-saving pharmaceutical drugs. Over the next 20 years, she became a leader in her field, earning the 2009 Woman of the Year Award from the Healthcare Business Association.

She has combined the science and business of healthcare to bring new drugs for cancer treatment to market. Dunsire’s early successes in pharmaceutical research, development and commercialization were so significant that her company, Sandoz, brought her from Johannesburg to Switzerland, to work at global headquarters.

From there, she was sent to New Jersey and soon took up the  management of the company’s portfolio of oncology drugs. When Sandoz merged with Ciba-Geigy to become Novartis, Dunsire was named senior vice president and put in charge of oncology for all of North America. She helped Novartis transform its approach and quadrupled the revenues of its oncology unit in just ten years.

In 2005, Dunsire became CEO of Millennium, a company of over 1000 employees that develops and markets new drugs for cancer treatment. She transformed Millennium from a small, promising drug-maker to a thriving biotech company that, in 2008, was worthy of a $8.8 billion acquisition by Takeda Pharmaceutical.

Under her leadership, Millennium was recognized by, Fortune (#20 on the Fortune 100 Best Places To Work list in 2012) , The Scientist and The Boston Globe (#1 among large companies in 2012) as one of the best places to work. During Dunsire’s tenure, the company’s executive team was between 40 and 60 percent female. She credits this diversity to a board that was sought out the right people, regardless of gender. “It was and is a very diverse company,” she told Pharmalive in 2006.

Her leadership lessons are useful for men and women alike. In a 2009 interview with the New York TimesDunsire advised leaders to let their employees make mistakes and learn from them without management’s interference.

Dunsire also has some specific advice for women who want to lead in biotech. When she was named one of FierceBiotech‘s Top 10 Women in Biotech, she told young women to

Be passionate about your work and the fact that through the biotech work we do we can change outcomes in human health. […] Be optimistic but grounded–there will be many disappointments, but learn from failure and rise up and do it better.

That is great advice for any leader.

As part recent organizational changes, Deborah has decided to leave the Company at the end of her Takeda board term in June. She will be sorely missed in the biotech community and the small circle of women CEO’s at major global companies so we are looking forward to her next endeavor!  Deborah Dunsire is a powerful example of a Woman Who Leads in Biotech and we are proud to recognize her.

Deborah-Dunsire

To learn more about how the revolutionary WomenLEAD platform supports women’s development as leaders individually and within organizations, please check out our main page at www.womenleadinc.com and consider supporting our Indiegogo fundraising campaign. Follow us on Twitter @WomenLEADInc. 

 

WomenLEAD, Inc: The Big Idea and Why It will Work

WomenLEAD,Inc has just become a finalist in the MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup incubator. Between now and October we will have free office space, access to interns, and free coaching from mentors; experienced serial entrepreneurs. During that time we’ll be building the first release of WomenLEAD, and we’ll need to be able to pay for software developers to help us turn our ideas into a working system. That’s why we’re launching this campaign. Your contributions will help us get to the place where we can start getting paid by companies for our work. We expect the beta to be completed in the fall with a January 2014 public launch.

Let me give you a little background so you can determine if this is an idea worthy of your support.

In the US women and men are equally represented in entry-level jobs. But women only occupy fourteen percent of the senior executive ranks. Other than the fact that seems inherently wrong, who cares?

Well, it turns out companies do. A study by the Harvard Business review showed that 52% of women in Engineering, Science and Technology leave their careers mid-career. Not to start families, but because they find the work environment unsupportive, they have unclear career paths and they have no role models.

Companies care because it costs them around $100,000 to replace these highly-skilled women.

Equally compelling are studies that demonstrate that companies with women on their boards and on their senior teams perform better financially. A lot better ( 53-84% better on return on Equity according to Catalyst)

From my perspective, this is great news. I’ve been championing women’s rights for decades, having founded one of the first battered women’s shelters in the country, having worked on the Equal Rights Amendment Extension, and recently supporting women in their careers as the CEO of a non-profit dedicated to advancing women in STEM.

This is great new because companies now see it is in their best interest to do something. Instead of having to fight for equality, there are many companies who now are COMMITTED to do something.

So here’s the idea. I’m creating a online application for women to build their own online “Personal Advisory Board”. What’s an advisory board?

Whenever I’m facing a new opportunity or challenge, I reach out to this incredible group of women who have become members of my “Personal Advisory Board“, Their advice and guidance has been invaluable. In my last role I tripled our organization’s revenue and doubled the membership. I attribute this to the deep relationship I have with the women  and men on my personal advisory boards.

I’m inherently a networker, at business functions multiple times a week where I get to meet powerful women. Over time casual relationships turn into deeper relationships and I’ll ask them to join my personal advisory board.

I realize that not all women network the way I do, nor are they located in cities where there are many opportunities for networking, so something else is needed. Specifically, women need a way to find people for their advisory board online.

WomenLEAD is building an online platform to enable women to build their own “Personal Advisory Board“. The idea is simple. You search for advisors using a matching algorithm that helps you find people who can meet your needs. You start a conversation, either on line or on the phone, and if you find you click, you ask if they’ll join your “Personal Advisory Board”.

Once they’re on your “Personal Advisory Board”, you can talk with them individually or as a group about whatever is of interest to you in your career. Working with a multi-site team? Find out who has experience who can help. Have a challenging manager? Get advice on how to handle it. Putting together a career road map? Share it with your “Personal Advisory Board” and get their feedback.

If you have people you already know you can add them as advisors – women and men – buy just sending them an invitation from WomenLEAD, Inc.

It’s my belief that women will advance further in their careers if they have a strong supportive group behind them. And this is better than traditional one-on-one mentoring because a single mentor may not be able to provide you with what you need when you need it.

It turns out that companies also think this is true. I have four large companies, including a Fortune 150 and a Fortune 10 who are interested in making WomenLEAD, Inc  available for their employees.

But I need to show working software to be able to get their business. Once we have the first clients on board, we’ll be able to make the investments in the WomenLEAD to fully realize our vision, including online training, leadership assessment and communities focused on specific interest groups (e.g. women in biotech).

But we need that initial working system to show them, which is where you come in.

Once we get the first solid beta ready, we’re convinced we can get funding from potential customers and investors, but we need to take that first step and get development under way, which is how your contribution will be used. We are asking you to contribute to our Indiegogo campaign so we can achieve these goals.

I think that this is a tipping point for women now – businesses recognizing that it is in their best interest to support their women employees. I think we have a solution that will enable women to dramatically make progress in their career. I have evidence that companies will buy this solution. But I need some capital to get us started.

Will you help? If yes, click here and be taken to our Indiegogo campaign where you’ll be able to donate in just a couple of minutes. Thank you!

Deborah Dean: A Woman Who LEADS in Corporate Law

Debbie-DeanDeborah Dean has a unique name for her personal advisory board: The COTTON CLUB – from COT, or Circle of Trust.

On her journey from corporate attorney to corporate vice president, the support of Dean’s personal advisors made a huge difference.  Even now that she is a vice president at leading global software firm Dassault Systemes, she still looks to this trusted group of women for advice.

“They have served as a sounding board to help me crystallize my goals and understand the political landscape that exists in every company, as advisors to help me strategize as to how to approach and overcome challenges, and as a cheering squad to bolster my self-confidence,” Dean says.

Not only has Dean achieved tremendous career success for herself, she has become a champion for others. She leads an initiative to support women inside Dassault, helping them achieve personal and professional growth. That initiative also supports technical education for three girls in Rwanda, which she hopes will change their lives.

Since 2012, Dean has served on the board of Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology (WEST) and recently co-authored an article on women’s advancement in the workplace through the Center for Women in Business at Bentley University.

Dean encourages younger women to set up their own personal advisory boards to help them achieve career success. “The business world is vast, with many twists and turns, and it is important to draw on the wisdom and views of others who are either in the same working world or who have gone there before,” she says. “Others have trailblazed – There is no need to keep blazing the same trail. Learn from those who have gone before.”

For the impact she continues to have on women in her company, in her field, and all over the world, WomenLEAD is proud to recognize Deborah Dean as a woman who leads.

Debbie-Dean

To learn more about how the revolutionary personal advisory board platform from WomenLEAD supports women’s development as leaders, please check out our main page at www.womenleadinc.com and consider supporting our Indiegogo fundraising campaign. Follow us on Twitter @WomenLEADInc. 

Ursula Burns: A Woman Who LEADS in Engineering and F500 CEO

Ursula-Burnsv2How do you get from the projects to the top of a Fortune 500 company? Xerox CEO Ursula Burns will tell you: Speak your mind. Be fearless. And when your dreams are big, chase them.You might have seen Burns in the recent Makers documentary, where she talks about her path to success, or heard about her remarks at the 2013 Catalyst Awards Conference, or read her profile in Fast Company magazine.

Her story is an inspiration to women and men who aspire to lead.Burns got her start at Xerox as a summer intern while she was still a student of mechanical engineering at NY Polytechnic. Since then, she has moved all the way up the ranks, helping to turn her company’s financial performance around. Now, she is pushing Xerox to evolve from a printing equipment manufacturer to a leader in the digital age.This forward-leaning approach has earned Burns many kinds of accolades, from a profile in Fast Company to opportunities to lead the White House’s Export Council.

But it’s her approach to the workplace that may be most enlightening for women. Under Burns’ leadership, Xerox employees are encouraged to be more outspoken about the things they know best.Earlier this year, she told the Wall Street Journal that balance should be achieved through the span of a lifetime, not a week, day or month, and sometimes that may mean putting personal needs ahead of career and family. And sometimes it may mean the opposite.

She also urges young women to stay encouraged, even when they feel like they don’t fit in, and to be unafraid to ask for help. As she wrote in her personal story for Lean In,

Dreams do come true, but not without the help of others, a good education, a strong work ethic and the courage to lean in.

For not only demonstrating courage in her own career, but encouraging other women to do the same, WomenLEADInc recognizes Ursula Burns as a Women Who Leads in Engineering and as a F500 CEO . 

Ursula-Burns

 

To learn more about how the revolutionary WomenLEAD platform supports women’s development as leaders individually and within organizations, please check out our main page at www.womenleadinc.com and consider supporting our Indiegogo fundraising campaign. Follow us on Twitter @WomenLEADInc. 

Dee Dee MyersIt’s hard to confine Dee Dee Myers to just one field. She has proven herself as a leader in politics, serving as press secretary to President Bill Clinton both on his campaign and in the White House. She is a managing director at the communications firm The Glover Park Group. She is also a writer and commentator; her work has appeared in numerous media outlets, and she has been an editor at Vanity Fair for almost two decades. She served as a consultant on the television series The West Wing.

And, since the publication of her best-selling 2008 book, Why Women Should Rule the World, Myers has become known as an outspoken champion of women’s leadership.

Myers has been close to the spotlight for much of her career. She is familiar with the unique pressures women face when subjected to public scrutiny. As a successful young woman in the White House, she stood out as much for her gender as for her talent, and it often held her back. When she asked her boss, Leon Panetta, for a raise, he told her that she didn’t deserve one as much as a man with a family to support. Her job at the White House was high profile, but she was stripped of the authority given her male colleagues.

Myers chose to speak up about these issues in her book, even though women with her profile rarely do so. In a 2008 interview with TIME magazine, she pointed out that, for all the momentum of the women’s movement, there are still plenty of challenges ahead.

Even though she has achieved great personal success, Myers continues to advocate for women as leaders. When asked whether women would really want to rule a world so full of challenges, she replied:

I think that women know that by bringing more women into all avenues of public life, we can solve some of those problems. I don’t think women hold all the answers, but with their skills, their strengths, we can get to a better place.

She is certainly doing her part. For that reason, WomenLEADInc is proud to recognize Dee Dee Myers as a Women Who Leads in Media and Politics.

Dee-Dee-Myers

To learn more about how the revolutionary WomenLEAD platform supports women’s development as leaders individually and within organizations, please check out our main page at www.womenleadinc.com and consider supporting our Indiegogo fundraising campaign. Follow us on Twitter @WomenLEADInc. 

30WomenWhoLead

30 Women Who Lead

The team at WomenLEAD Inc. is excited to launch our 30 Women Who LEAD campaign!

For the next two months we will be honoring women who have proven, through their own success, that women have what it takes to lead companies across all sectors.

One of the core ideas behind WomenLEAD Inc. is the belief that women are fully capable of leadership at the highest levels. Women are poorly represented on corporate boards and in executive leadership positions: They make up just 14 percent of corporate leaders in the United States, 5 percent in Italy, and as little as 3 percent in Scandinavian countries.

But the reasons for this problem have nothing to do with women’s capabilities. The 30 Women that LEAD we honor during this campaign prove it.

Follow us as we honor these outstanding women and the message they send to companies around the world: When they are given the right opportunities, Women LEAD.

To learn more about how the revolutionary WomenLEAD platform supports women’s development as leaders individually and within organizations, please check out our main page at www.womenleadinc.com and consider supporting our Indiegogo fundraising campaign.