Insights on Women and Men in Global Leadership

Posted by: Yvonne Luker - Global Chamber on Wednesday, August 12, 2020

We hosted a globinar led by the team at reesmarx titled "Insights on Women and Men in Global Leadership". This globinar covered women and men in the workplace including progress made, and next steps - globally.

Our approach was informational on the progress women have made, and we also heard from strong women and men in business talk about their growth, struggles, lessons and mentors.

Watch the globinar HERE on youtube.

Topics covered included...

  • Benefit of having a women’s perspective for global growth
  • Benefit of having women on the Executive team and Board of Directors 
  • Women not asking for enough when taking a new role
  • Women always looking at why they are not fit for roles vs why they are
  • Women worried about how they are perceived by being direct
  • Structural issues such as pay gaps and how to overcome them
  • Women looking at seniority very differently than men
  • Why teamwork can work so well – balance of skills and emotional intelligence 

Our speakers...

  • Christina Tomasco – Managing Partner of Urgenci Atlantic
  • Ericha Hartz – Global Partnership Director at reesmarx
  • Suzy Zeng – CEO & Co-Founder, Z-Choice International
  • Lynn Bamford – President Defense & Power, Curtiss-Wright Corporation
  • Jeff Olsen – Business Development Professional

This conversation was helpful for women and men as they navigate leadership challenges in today's world. One of the compelling stories was from Lynn Bamford. Lynn shared that earlier in her career, she was on an executive team that was undergoing a merger with another company, and one of the executives at the other company was sending clear signs questioning Lynn, very likely because of her being a woman. What followed was Lynn confronting the situation very transparently and professionally. You'll want to hear what happened next... definitely listen to Lynn's story, as it will be helpful and informative for any leader as they confront challenges from others.

All the speakers had lots to contribute, and here is a brief summary of Lynn's tips.

  1. Don't assume - listen to Lynn's points on this!
  2. Let your work product speak for your contributions.
  3. Don't be biased in your actions at work.
  4. Lean forward and be part of the conversation(s).
  5. Use your knowledge of sports to build relationships with men.
  6. Be able to have touch conversations (like the story highlighted above).
  7. Be authentic - show empathy, be humble and be a team player.

.... and more! Enjoy!

In addition, there were some follow-up questions that we weren't able to answer in the session. See below for answers to those, along with speaker biographies. 

1. How do handle people from a different era, who aren’t fully accepting you as an equal?
 
From Suzy Zeng: The first challenge for me was to be aware of my differences in other people’s eyes.  I thought my working-hard and showing-results were enough to earn my equality. Throughout my career, I learned that I needed not just work harder and but differently, by bringing my best self and strengths to work everyday.  I’ve also learned that we need to communicate the challenges and our thinking on problem solving so others can relate. I learned to continue to build my strength, as a result, I earned my seat at the table with my reputation as a problem solver and a critical-thinker in crisis.  
 
2. How do you view young women and men coming up in the workforce? Are they advocates for the ideas you discussed?
 
From Suzy Zeng: I think the young women and men coming up in the workforce are very talented and have many skills I wish I had when I was at that age!   I also think that having the talents are not enough. Relationship-building, for example, is one of the critical skills that we all need to develop over time.   Work-ethic is another key element to success so I don’t think we should have entitlement.  We’ve gotta work for it. Achieving success is a journey.  Embrace the process and enjoy the journey, not just the “trophy".  Ask ourselves what our values are. What unique skills POVs we bring to the table. Build positive reputation. Continuously to grow ourselves.  Once we get up there, lend a hand to others and help others to achieve the same. 
 
3.How do women take responsibility of uplifting other women? Any ideas to help me be more aware and impactful to other women?
 
From Suzy Zeng: Thank you very much for willing to take the responsibility of uplifting other women!  I’m sure the women you’ve helped and inspired will appreciate you more than you think. To be more aware and impactful to other women, I’d first suggest to reach out to other women and tell them that you’re willing to help. Don’t assume they got everything figured out.
 
I myself was not really good at reaching out. I assumed that they would ask me for help if they needed help, and I assumed that others won’t want me to offer my help. Throughout the years, I learned reaching out and building relationships are important. Over coffee or one-on-one, ask how they are doing and share your successes and struggles with them. Show that you’re been there and understand the challenges.  And you’re willing to be their sounding board if they have questions. I really think those genuine conversations are going to make a difference in building trust and impact other women.  Thank you all the women leaders who are willing to help and inspire other women, and create a culture of ‘Women Helping Women”!
 
4. You mentioned about using sports to develop connections with male team members. What types of sports are ideal to educate yourself on…cricket, sumo, soccer, Olympics, etc.

From Christina Tomasco: The most important take away is, Know your Audience.  Bonding around sports is purely a common ground with your co-workers, peers, etc.  Listen to their interests, you may pick up on the fact that play, follow or have children playing a specific sport, it can be an ice breaker or a start to a new friendship if you know or learn about the sport or sport(s).  The same holds true for hobbies or family interests; maybe the conversation starts over participation in a concert, running a marathon, attending a play.  it is nice to know something about that sport.  

Yes, Global sports differ. Learning where a co-worker resides, went to University or where they grew up will likely give clues as to what sports they are interested or participate in.  As stated in the presentation, you do not need to be an expert in every sport, but it is a good idea to know regional sports.  A few simple examples: to someone raised the USA, their idea of Football is very different from someone raised in Australia or the UK.  If you see someone wearing a Manchester United jersey; Football in UK, Soccer in the US on the converse if you see someone wearing a Seattle Seahawks jersey, Football in the US and American Football in the UK.  They key is to have a general idea of the sport to spark a general conversation.

5. Some may say sports are more of a male dominated subject, in that case, why should women conform to a more male interested topic?

From Christina Tomasco: Participation in some sports are certainly gender specific; but that does not mean that a woman can’t be a fan of that sport.  For example, as a female, I have not played organized American Football; BUT I know a great deal about the sport, because I am a fan and I enjoy watching games and the festivities around the sport. A woman should never feel pressured to play or learn a sport if that is out or your comfort zone.  Sports are only 1 way of bonding in the workplace. If that does not work for you, pick up on other interests of those around you; cooking, travel, gardening, etc.  The common theme of Bonding: Know your Audience.

6. How do you maintain a personal relationship with someone, without venturing into political and ethical conversations?

From Christina Tomasco: Politics and religion can be a very touchy subject.  Know your Audience; in some scenarios both are fine to discuss, other situations, better not to go there.  Ethical conversations are somewhat different.  In business and in personal relationships, actions typically drive a person’s ethical actions.  For example, if you catch someone cheating that is something that is in their character.  Sports are a great way to get insight into a person’s character; typically character comes through in business as well; taking shortcuts, taking credit for someone else’s work. 

7. Listeners Question: I work primarily in the EU and the Emirates.  Prior to that I had CEO positions in a few private and public companies in the States. In the EU and to a slightly lesser extent in the Emirates, there’s no shortage of women in C level positions. In the EU, vs the States, management is more direct, to the point, very little fluff.  My second observation is most people, men and women, here, don’t take criticism or differing views personally. The question is:  Does anyone have a view of why it’s so different in the States on these things?

From Lynn Bamford: Possibly your first observation is more reflected in some industries. My experiences are tied to the defense and aerospace industry and have not observed a difference in management styles between the US and elsewhere in the world.. I think generally the goal here is to be not just direct, but to lead and speak in a way that is going to thoughtful and  accomplishes the goal and does not diminish a colleague unnecessarily. 

As for receiving criticism, I think that may take a level of maturity to receive comments without taking them personally.  It’s important to be able to listen to other viewpoints and ideas with an open attitude.  Again I have not observed a regional difference of note in this area. 

8. Do you think female vs male stereotypes push women harder, or create fear of entering a male dominated industry?

From Lynn Bamford: I think it is both.  While companies may talk a good game, if there is an entrenched group of male leaders, it could be hard for rising woman executives to break through in that company.  Longevity with a company as a proven leader and more women in management and on the boards would help with this. Bottom line is this will vary person by person.   Personal experiences from their life will most likely effect this. 

9. What was your biggest lesson learned that you wish you knew when you started your career?

From Lynn Bamford: As important as your intelligence and success is in your work environment, it is just as important to create relationships with your colleagues and to treat everyone well even when you are under stress. Be innovative and stay open to new ideas/opinions and make sure you keep learning every week of your life.   

10. Have you ever witnessed sexism in the workplace? …And are there things to look out for, to educate young men entering the workforce?

From Jeff Olsen: Unfortunately, yes I have witnessed sexism in the work place. I am happy to say, I have witnessed much less in the last decade than in previous decades. My advice to young men is twofold. First, I challenge them to personally maintain a zero tolerance policy to sexism. To repurpose a US DHS slogan – if you see something – say something. Call people out. If you witness sexism – POLITELY and simply say something. The more we speak up as individuals, live and in the moment, and call attention to sexism on any scale , the less it will remain socially acceptable.  Silence is complicity. Have an opinion. Darkness cannot survive in the presence of light. The second piece of advice is to maintain a first person perspective. We get “in trouble” when we think or speak in generalities. For me a good reality check has been: Would I use the same words if I was speaking to my mom, wife, sister, or daughter? Would I react favorably if someone spoke to my mom, wife, sister or daughter in a similar fashion? Be accountable. Be the change you wish to see in the world gents.

11. What advice would your mother have for the new generations of women entering and existing in the workforce?

From Jeff Olsen: Far be it from me to speak for her! The woman has her own opinion and her own voice so I asked her :) she says: “Be educated in the area you want to work, have a precise resume and be prepared for your interview . Think about the types of questions you may have and how you would answer them . Look your interviewer in the eye and show them you are confident and eager to work. Dress for success be well groomed”.

12. If you were approached by a female co-worker and she expressed concern of sexism from someone else (not you, as I know that would not happen), what steps would you take/urge people to take, after hearing something like that?

From Jeff Olsen: First I would hear her out completely. In my opinion, historically men have had a bad habit of minimalizing or rationalizing sexism. Before gender, race, or sexual orientation, we are human beings. We all have the right to feel the way we feel - and to speak our hearts and minds. After I heard her out, I would likely recommend she confront the individual or speak to HR. Again, have a zero tolerance policy. If you see something – say something.

Speaker Bios

Christina Tomasco – Managing Partner of Urgenci Atlantic. Christina earned BS degrees from Pennsylvania State University in Accounting and Human Resource Management while minoring in Economics.  Upon graduation, she began her career with IBM in Connecticut.  Realizing the technology goes hand in hand with business, Christina earned an MBA in MIS from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Christina has applied her skills within fortune 50 companies as well as start-ups showcasing her talents in Accounting, Financial Analysis, Business Management, Software Training, Market Analysis, Mergers & Acquisitions, Project Management, Process Re-engineering and Teaching.  Her agility and perseverance have contributed to modernizing IT organization’s views on strategic planning, through evaluating efforts from a financial perspective and focusing on delivering results.  While at Lowe’s Companies, Christina was responsible for strategic planning inclusive of process and resources for a $1B annual cap/exp within IT and Digital.  This was achieved through evaluating, measuring and fine- tuning Lowe’s IT’s hiring process to ensure attracting, training and retaining the best talent to deliver on the Lowe’s IT strategy as well as driving process to support program execution and delivery on time, within budget while focusing on maintaining scope and delivering on the customer’s needs. Christina has been instrumental in driving the strategic partnership between Urgenci Atlantic and reesmarx.  The partnership enables reesmarx the opportunity to offer professional services for a period of time or for a specific project without deviating from their core business. Christina resides in Mooresville with her husband Ray and their two English Springer Spaniels, Morgan and Kensi.  Weekends are spent on Lake Norman or on the golf course under the Carolina Blue sky.

Ericha Hartz – Global Partnership Director at reesmarx. Ericha Hartz holds the role of Global Partnership Director for reesmarx. She is responsible for developing Partnerships, Sales, Channel Operations, as well as implementing our direct sales strategy globally. Ericha brings valuable experience and insights to her role. Prior to her promotion she fulfilled the role of Senior Resourcing Partner (Americas) for reesmarx, where she was responsible for researching, managing and delivering global recruitment projects in over 30 countries. In her role as Global Partnership Director, she implements and manages Partner activities, identify new opportunities and define the actions required to bring a new dynamic to our business model. Ericha resides in North Carolina, United States and graduated from the University of East Carolina with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Marketing.

Suzy Zeng - CEO & Co-Founder, Z-Choice International and Formal Vice President of Asia Market Development at WhiteWave (Danone). Suzy is a seasoned corporate executive and entrepreneur with extensive experience in global market development, customer connections, and product innovations.  She is a thought leader with diverse experience, dynamic leadership skills, and is known as a motivator, a passionate leader through example and a powerful connector.   
 
While working in the corporate, Suzy lived in China 3-times as an expat, and helped the establishment of various US businesses in Asia, including PepsiCo, Kraft and Danone. Most recently she was the Vice President of Market Development for WhiteWave (Danone), led its market expansion to key Asia markets, as well as the creation of its China Joint Venture.
 
She is currently the CEO of Z-Choice International based in Denver, focusing on providing market/business strategy for US-China small-medium size companies. She’s also the president of Chinese American Association for Rocky Mountain Region and a board member of Global Chamber Denver and Colorado Business Women. She is passionate about holistic wellbeing, and is on a mission to help women and families to achieve physical and financial wellbeing.  
 
Lynn Bamford – President Defense & Power, Curtiss-Wright Corporation. Lynn is a results-driven leader with a proven background across multiple industries. She is able to effectively interface with all levels of an organization to facilitate engagement, best in class processes and decisive strategic plans. Strong people developer and motivator, successful at attracting and retaining key leadership talent. Builds impactful relationships and balances demands of stakeholders, customers and employees. An inspiring leader that thrives on new challenges and personal growth opportunities. She has an extremely successful career and looks forward to sharing some of her thoughts on success as a working women, mother, wife, and business executive.

Jeff Olsen – Business Development Professional. Veteran Sales and Business Development Professional with experience in US Corporate Tax and Global Expansion Arenas. Proven Professional, skilled in Sales, Management, Business Development, Sales Process, and Finance. He is a father of four and was raised by an intelligent and perceptive professional woman in the 70’s and 80’s. He prides himself on witnessing and instigating change and evolution in the workplace.

 

 

Moderator: Doug Bruhnke - Founder/CEO of Global Chamber®. Doug is a global entrepreneur dedicated to helping members of Global Chamber® successfully reach new markets across 525 metros - everywhere! He is a two-time expat with Dupont in Tokyo and Singapore with over 30 years of global business experience in nearly all countries and segments. Doug is also regional advisor for U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and a member of global groups including Arizona District Export Council. He has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Utah and an EMBA from Michigan State University, and is co-inventor on 5 patents. Doug was born in Mt. Kisco, New York and now is based in Scottsdale, Arizona and Palo Alto, California. Hear the Global Chamber® story here.

 

Yvonne Luker - Global Chamber

 

 

 

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