The Leaders We Need

I have a great job.  I get to be part of leadership development for women and to see a large number of our program graduates get promoted.

As advocates of leadership development for women, we take a special kind of pride at Women Unlimited in the success of our graduates.  In a survey to alumnae, over 60% indicated they had advanced their careers since graduation.  The leadership development for women that our programs are able to achieve is nothing short of breathtaking.

One of our more recent success stories is Mary Ann Gallo.  Mary Ann graduated from our San Francisco-based LEAD program (Leadership Education and Development) in November of 2011.  In April, just five months after completing the program, she was promoted from Senior Director to Vice President of Global Communications for Hitachi Data Systems, heading up a 30-person organization.

Mary Ann credits LEAD for helping her get the promotion.  She pinpoints certain components as especially conducive to her advancement to higher levels in her organization.  She says she learned about “looking like a leader” and that by formulating an “Individual Development Plan” she was able to become more “deliberate, active and passionate” about her career. She also indicates that her boss was quick to notice the changes…”always a good thing.”

Mary Ann has also been aggressively sharing her LEAD insights with her team. For example, posted on her office wall are the program’s 10 Rules for Success, an on-going reminder to herself and to all who come into her office of the game plan for being a talented and competent leader.  Additionally, she and fellow LEAD graduate, Linda Xu, ran a form of the “Looking Like A Leader” exercise from the LEAD program for other Hitachi employees.  The two exercises Mary and Linda facilitated were praised by participants, both male and female. It became quickly apparent that the goal to “give them a reality check” on “the impact of what they do versus what they do” was being met and exceeded.  Incidentally, Linda was also promoted following her participation in a recent LEAD program– from Senior Director of Product Marketing to Vice President, Product Marketing.

As with Mary Ann and Linda, the individual success of our LEAD graduates spawns corporate success in a variety of ways. Talented professionals stay with their organizations longer. Their leadership savvy spills down to their teams.  Their commitment to their organization and their fellow employees, nurtures a new willingness to “give back” by serving as mentors and encouraging others to foster leadership development for women.

Yes, it may be a bit of cliché, but LEAD participation is “win win” at its best.

Rosina Racioppi                                                                                 President & CEO                                                                               WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.