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How Female CEOs Can ‘Lead with Impact’

deboramcl3 Ways to Set Yourself Apart from the Competition

A record number of women are Fortune 500 CEOs.

Women are launching businesses at 1.5 times the national average.

There are now 8.2 million American women running their own companies.

“The numbers are notable,” says executive and business coach Debora McLaughlin, author of “The Renegade Leader: 9 Success Strategies Driven Leaders Use to Ignite People, Performance and Profits,” (www.TheRenegadeLeader.com).

“From 1997 to 2011, the number of U.S. women-owned businesses increased by 50 percent,” McLaughlin says. “And in 2011, the median compensation for female CEOs was 13 percent more than for male CEOs,” according to NerdWallet Financial Markets.

According to Catalyst, a non-profit organization, as of Jan. 1, there were 21 women running Fortune 500 companies, including IBM and PepsiCo, That’s up from seven in 2002-2003. Among the Fortune 1000 companies, there are twice as many, including the CEOs of Neiman Marcus Group, Cracker Barrel and Dun & Bradstreet.

“Nonetheless, business women still face hurdles,” McLaughlin notes. “Keep in mind, while 21 are Fortune 500 CEOs — a record high – that’s only 4.25 percent of the total and the figures hold for Fortune 1000 companies, less than 5 percent have a female at the helm.”

A recipient of the 2012-13 Women of the Year award presented by the National Association of Professional Women, McLaughlin watches the financial trends. While women are launching more businesses, they have an upward climb; studies show that women-owned companies are less likely to hit the $1 million mark and are more likely to fail.

“To claim, own and keep the keys to the corner office, women executives need to be seen, heard and to lead with greater influence and impact,” McLaughlin says. She offers three key tips:

• Develop your personal brand: Let people get to know you, your core story of experiences and how they relate to your drive and vision. As Steve Jobs said, “connect the dots,” then use transparent communication to share your story. People make better connections with people who tell a great story, and they’re most interested in the story behind the person at the top. Transparency encourages greater communication, team building and leadership.

• Develop and use your personal network. Find a mentor and be a mentor; seek out other women at your level; and accept the strength, ideas and energy your connections have to offer. It is no longer necessary to blaze trails alone, and women have more power than they may realize. According to a Dow Jones report, startups with five or more female executives have a 61 percent success rate. It goes further and says that odds of success “increase with more female executives at the VP and Director levels.”

• Stand for something; position yourself as a strong thought leader. It’s not easy being at the top. Women tend to distrust powerful women, and men may view women as weak or too collaborative and sensitive. Take a firm stand on something you care about deeply and rally the organization around that objective. You will gain the respect of your peers, customers and stakeholders.

As the numbers clearly demonstrate, business is changing. Women account for 73 percent to 85 percent of consumer decisions in the United States, which gives female CEOs yet another advantage — insight into their customers’ values, McLaughlin says.

About Debora McLaughlin

Debora McLaughlin, best-selling author of “The Renegade Leader: 9 Success Strategies Driven Leaders Use to Ignite People, Performance and Profits;” the forthcoming book, “A League of Her Own,” and CEO of The Renegade Leader Coaching and Consulting Group combines her experience as certified executive coach and as a top sales performer in New York City and Boston to help CEOs, business leaders and organizations achieve accelerated results.

 

 

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Should You Pursue a Green MBA?

America has hitched a ride on the green bandwagon and businesses are doing their best to keep up. As being environmentally friendly becomes the norm, companies are changing the way they operate in order to meet consumer demand. If you will be applying to graduate school soon, you may want to consider a green program rather than a more traditional one.

Traditional MBA vs. Green MBA

The first question to ask yourself is, “What is a green MBA?” Though every degree is different and every program takes its own path, a green MBA is one that weaves sustainability throughout its curriculum. For instance, instead of taking a class on sustainability in business, each course you take will be linked to environmental responsibility. A traditional economics class may focus on numbers and figures, but a green economics class will teach students how economics relates to the environment and social responsibility. At the end of the program, graduates will understand how every aspect of business relates to the green industry.

What are the Benefits of a Green MBA?

Graduates with a green MBA may find themselves more employable than those who take the traditional path. As more Americans turn to green living, and more businesses turn to sustainable practices, graduates with a green MBA will be highly desirable. Instead of having to teach new employees green practices and the benefits of sustainability, companies will employ graduates who already have the knowledge and can immediately implement what they have learned in order to benefit the company.

Is a Green MBA Right for You?

A sustainable MBA isn’t the right path for every student, and there is nothing wrong with following a more traditional path. If you have an interest in a niche career, such as sustainable management or consulting, a green MBA program will be highly beneficial. If, on the other hand, your interests lie more towards finance and marketing, a traditional program may be the right choice. The first step in deciding whether or not a green MBA is right for you is to consider the career path that you want to follow.

What School’s Offer Green MBA’s?

If you are interested in learning more about a sustainable MBA program, or if you have already made your decision to enroll, the following schools offer top notch coursework: Colorado State University, Baingridge Graduate Institute, Presidio Graduate School and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. The admissions office at any of these schools will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with more information.

Career Opportunities

The career possibilities with a sustainable MBA are wide open. Many graduates look for work in the not-for-profit industry and others work within a company’s sustainability departments. Companies like UniLever and PepsiCo employ people to work specifically on making products and practices more environmentally compliant. Students who graduate with a green MBA may also choose to work with smaller companies that focus solely on green products and services. Graduates may find that salaries in the field of sustainability are not as exorbitant as those in the traditional field, but the rewards of working in a green job can often lead to greater job satisfaction.

Green degrees are the wave of the future. As businesses become more concerned with sustainable practices, companies are looking to hire graduates with a certain skill set. If you are interested in taking a less-traditional path towards your MBA, a green path may be the right choice for you.

Steven Lowell is a business-savvy freelance writer, who blogs about educational opportunities. If you are interested in getting an advanced degree, Steven advises that you look into a marketing mba online.

 

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