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Power of Courage and Gratitude

Posted By Connie Delaney, U of M School of Nursing, Thursday, April 12, 2018
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The Forum lifted up powerful and inspiring stories of courage of Minnesota women in health care. When we gathered on April 11 we came from all sectors of Minnesota’s health care community, representing diverse career stages and leadership paths. Our common mission that evening was to celebrate women leaders who found the courage within to tackle risk, open themselves to vulnerability, and in that journey transform health and health care. Our common mission increased our awareness, engagement, and liberation through experiencing the potential of an integrated community dedicated to transformation through bold leadership.

The 2018 TRUST Courage Awards celebrated 20 incredible women who showed grit and determination, dared without fear and boldly transformed health and health care in remarkable ways. We are grateful that these courageous women in Minnesota health care chose courage, moved through fear and transcended challenges to inspire countless other women in the industry. Congratulations to the 2018 Courage Award recipients: Khadija Ali, Global Language and Staffing Connections; Jane Anderson, University of Minnesota School of Nursing; Julie Burton, ModernWell; Sara Criger, Mercy Hospital and Allina Health; Jill Davies, GeneMatters; Gina Tallarico Hall, HealthPartners; Lee Jones, Rebiotix, Inc.; Barbara Jordan, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine; Molly Joseph, UnitedHealthcare Global and UnitedHealth Group; Marie Manthey, Creative Health Care Management; Elizabeth Murphy, Be the Match; Leslie Pitt Schneider, Project Lolo; Jen Rosetta, Allina Health; Uzma Samadani, HCMC; Lisa Schafer, Teva Pharmaceuticals; Trisha Stark, Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice; Martha Turner, American Nurses Association Center for Ethics & Human Rights; Kari Willey, HealthPartners; Ghita Worcester, UCare; and Yvonne Ybarra, Be the Match.

We also celebrated and learned from Forum keynote Ann Bancroft – an exemplar of courage and transformation. Her Minnesota roots helped her link the wisdom of nature and humanity and find the courage to achieve greatness as an explorer, teacher, author and philanthropist. We are thankful Ann shared her stories of courage and breaking down barriers to inspire the Forum audience and motivate women and girls around the world to unleash the power of their dreams.

The evening celebrated the Jean Harris Award presented to Paula Hart and the 21st Century Pinnacle Leader Award to Patricia “Patsy” Riley. Paula, President and CEO of Volunteers of America – Minnesota and Wisconsin, and a past TRUST President, was recognized for advancing health care, embodying Jean Harris’s legacy of  inspiring leaders and others to shape a world with hope, honor, and dignity, and exemplifying the vision of the TRUST. Patsy, recently retired Senior Vice President and Chief Government Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, was honored as an outstanding leader who has paved the way for change and transformation in health care. Thank you Paula and Patsy for being exemplary health care leaders and, lifting up women in leadership; and congratulations on your achievements!

And we thank you to our sponsors whose essential support empowered the TRUST in offering a stellar evening of learning and networking for more than 900 attendees. These companies showcase the ongoing leadership in health care that makes Minnesota’s commitment to health renowned on the global level. The TRUST is deeply grateful for all of our Forum sponsors!

My final thank you is to the Forum Committee: Carol Kraft, Theresa Pesch, Dee Thibodeau, Aliza Bach, Christine Bent, Monica Engel, Cheri Jacoby, Kate Lanners, Diane Nanstad, Leslie Parran, Amy Ronneberg, Patricia Salkowicz, Kandace Schuft, Janet Stacey, Sherri Walsh, Mary Welsh, and Candee Wolf. This committee’s unwavering work and heart-driven joy brought the Forum theme to life and lifted up courageous women in health care.

I trust that each of you will accept opportunities to embrace courage, determination and inspiration to manifest your dreams and to transform Minnesota health and health care, planetary health, and most significantly cultivate exciting new directions.

Connie currently serves as TRUST President, and Professor and Dean at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Delaney holds degrees in nursing and mathematics, adult health nursing, educational administration, and informatics. Delaney’s work is expanding connections, collaborations, integrative informatics, and social structures which advance co-discovery of solutions that transform health and education systems.

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Tags:  21st Century Pinnacle Leader Award  Ann Bancroft  Jean Harris Award  TRUST Courage Awards  TRUST Forum 

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A Time for Renewal and Inspiration

Posted By Connie Delaney, U of M School of Nursing, Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Spring is drawing near and it’s a great season for reaffirming, rededicating and reimagining. This is a season of renewed optimism and an ideal time to open up to new ways of thinking and feeling.

Spring is also a sure sign the TRUST Forum is right around the corner. This year’s Forum will be held on April 11. The Forum brings inspiration, renewed confidence, and rededication to the spirit and passion of the TRUST’s support of women leaders in health care. These themes are often echoed in the statements of those who attend the Forum. Here’s what a few people had to say about the TRUST and our 2017 Forum:

  • “I love the camaraderie. I love the inspiration.”
  • “There’s no place other than right here in Minnesota that has a women’s health leadership Forum like we do.”
  • “The Forum is a great way to recognize women and to inspire.”
  • “It’s a superb networking event to meet women from all sectors of health care throughout Minnesota.”
  • “These are pivotal years in health care and the Forum is the perfect place to address this and help share the value of the TRUST.”

It’s so heartwarming to hear women speak of how the Forum inspired them to act. We bring the Forum to you each year because we know it can make a positive impact in the lives of women leaders and spark the innovation and courage to transform the health care industry.

I anticipate this year’s Forum will again inspire action in ways currently unknown. Our theme this year is courage, which we talked about on this blog in January. Courage expands our awareness, our ability to be transparent, our vision to transform, and most significantly, the audacity to act.

The TRUST believes strongly in supporting women leaders in health care to move through fear, choose courage, and transcend challenges. That’s why the 2018 Forum will recognize 20 Courageous Women in Minnesota Health Care who found the courage within to tackle risk and vulnerability with grit and determination. We are excited to celebrate these women who discovered the power of “we” and partnering, and gain inspiration from their courageous achievements. The 20 Courageous Women will be announced on March 9 via the TRUST website and that day’s issue of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.

The TRUST is overjoyed to have Ann Bancroft as keynote speaker for the 2018 Forum. I have had the opportunity to meet Bancroft; she is truly dynamic and engaging! At the Forum, she will share her insights as a teacher, author and explorer who has repeatedly demonstrated vulnerability, grit and courage through her incredible expeditions. The TRUST recently talked with Bancroft and we were a bit surprised to hear she doesn’t view herself to be courageous. You can find the TRUST’s Q&A with Bancroft in the February 23 issue of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal and on our website.

I hope you will register for the Forum as an individual or as a table of 10, and join us April 11 as we celebrate courageous women and connect with women leaders in health care. One final note on spring — the first day of spring, March 20, is also the International Day of Happiness. May your spring be filled with joy, gratitude, and renewed inspiration!
 
Connie currently serves as TRUST President, and Professor and Dean at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Delaney holds degrees in nursing and mathematics, adult health nursing, educational administration, and informatics. Delaney’s work is expanding connections, collaborations, integrative informatics, and social structures which advance co-discovery of solutions that transform health and education systems.

Tags:  Ann Bancroft  courage  courageous leadership  TRUST Forum  Women's Health Leadership TRUST 

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The Power of a Personal Brand

Posted By Connie Delaney, U of M School of Nursing, Thursday, February 1, 2018
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You have a personal brand, whether or not you consciously set out to build one. Your brand is one of your most important assets and it is essential to shape and nurture it. Powerful personal brands have numerous benefits, such as leadership opportunities, greater credibility, higher compensation, more clients, added recognition, rewarding partnerships, and most significantly, impact on the health of your community.

Defining Your Brand

Your personal brand is at the intersection of how you see yourself and how others perceive you. A brand is the value, emotion and reputation an audience attributes to you. In other words, your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not around. Although you cannot define your own brand, you can influence your brand.

Brand alignment occurs when how you see yourself and how others perceive you are similar. Brands can change as we gain new skills and grow both professionally and personally. There are opportunities to shape and build your brand throughout your career.

Building a Successful Brand

Your brand is constructed like a building – from the ground up. The strength and sustainability of your brand needs your attention and action. Words and actions influence your brand. Are your experiences with others positively building your brand?
Consider these three key components to building a successful personal brand:

  • Authenticity – Be who you are. To be who you are asks you to know who you are. Take time to discern who you are now and who you want to be by gaining greater awareness, clarity and intention. Your brand depends on it. Be true to your True North. Be genuine, be who you are.
  • Visibility – It is nearly impossible for others to form an opinion of you if no one sees you or hears from you. You can enhance your visibility via your presence at work and industry events, publishing articles, speaking at programs and volunteering. Writing on social media channels, such as LinkedIn, is also a way to enhance your visible profile.
  • Consistency – Walk your talk to ensure a consistent brand experience. Ensure consistency of your thoughts, actions and words to build a successful brand that is easy for others to ascertain.

Our TRUST Forum event on April 11 is a great place to showcase your personal brand and build upon it. Treat your personal brand with care and recognize it for the essential asset it is. The work you put into your brand now will pay dividends for years to come.

Connie currently serves as TRUST President, and Professor and Dean at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Delaney holds degrees in nursing and mathematics, adult health nursing, educational administration, and informatics. Delaney’s work is expanding connections, collaborations, integrative informatics, and social structures which advance co-discovery of solutions that transform health and education systems.

Tags:  personal brand  TRUST Forum  Women's Health Leadership TRUST 

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Lessons in Courage: Follow Your Heart

Posted By Connie Delaney, U of M School of Nursing, Tuesday, January 2, 2018
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"Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without it we can't practice any other virtue with consistency." - Maya Angelou

Courage. It’s the theme for this year’s TRUST Forum event on April 11 and it’s a topic we talk about frequently within TRUST programs and communications. Why? We believe strongly in supporting women in health care to move through fear to find their courage to boldly transform the industry.

Definitions of courage often include persevering in the face of challenges and following one’s heart to stand up for what is right despite fear and risk. This is apt because the word courage comes from the French root coeur, which means heart. The heart is our spiritual core, closely linked to the mind, together providing wisdom. The link between the head and the heart is apparent every time our fight or flight drive is engaged. It is at that point we call on courage to stand up or stand down. Many times, the boldest, more courageous move is to take a step back to deescalate a perilous situation.

Courage is woven throughout our lives. At its core the courage to know and be who we uniquely are is ongoing. Courage expands our awareness, our ability to be transparent, and our vision to transform.

Our courage comes from within despite not always feeling bold or brave. It has been said that what you yearn for is who you are. If you yearn to be bold, it doesn’t mean you lack boldness; rather, you have not yet reached your full potential for it. Mary Anne Radmacher sums up this idea of courage by stating: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”

The TRUST is here to support women to realize courage comes from within. The TRUST exists to support women leaders in health care and create a collaborative force of women who share insights and expertise to lead within the industry. I hope you’ll join us in sharing your stories of leading courageously in health care.

I also encourage you to join us at the Forum in April as we learn from and honor 20 courageous women in Minnesota health care and hear from Ann Bancroft, one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers and an internationally recognized leader. Ann has used her courage to explore the unknown and to inspire women and girls around the world to unleash the power of their dreams.

As we start a new year, may you have the strength to unleash the full potential of your courage for today, tomorrow and the future of health care.

Connie Delaney currently serves as TRUST President, and Professor and Dean at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Connie holds degrees in nursing and mathematics, adult health nursing, educational administration, and informatics. Connie’s work is expanding connections, collaborations, integrative informatics, and social structures which advance co-discovery of solutions that transform health and education systems.

Tags:  Courage  Maya Angelou  TRUST Forum 2018  women leaders in health care 

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How to Build and Enhance a Powerful Network

Posted By Connie Delaney, U of M School of Nursing, Thursday, November 30, 2017
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We’re in a season of giving thanks, recommitting to a life anchored in gratitude, and extending warm wishes as 2017 nears its end and 2018 starts to dawn on the horizon. It’s a time for numerous holiday gatherings filled with friends and colleagues, old and new, as well as a time to discern our wishes for the New Year. It is an ideal time to continue building or enhancing your professional network.

Your professional network of peers can help you learn more about the health care industry, new career paths, and enhance partnerships to make a bold impact on health and health care. Here are a few suggestions to help you build and expand your network.

Be a connector. Introduce people who can enhance one another. This can be done easily and quickly while attending events or through LinkedIn messages. People remember those who listen, are available, and help them. Your kindness will be reciprocated in the future.

Ask for connections. While you’re helping connect others, don’t forget to ask for connections. This could be as simple as asking, “Who else might I talk to in the health care (nursing, operations, finance, HR, IT, marketing, etc.) space?” These colleague-of-a-colleague connections can be very strong and carry extra credibility.

Look for the win-win. Give assistance to others as often as you ask for help. It’s a two-way street and networking should be about creating win-win situations of mutual benefit.

Leverage social networks. LinkedIn is the ideal professional social network to stay connected with people you meet. It’s also a vibrant pathway to research organizations you may want to work for and identify those who can help you connect to others. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date as it is often the first place people go to learn more about you. Feel free to connect with me on my LinkedIn profile. And be sure to join the TRUST's LinkedIn group.

Join professional organizations. Energetic professional organizations, such as the TRUST, are a wonderful way to meet others, partner, and create impact. The TRUST provides numerous opportunities to meet women in health care who share your professional interests and goals.

Attend professional events. The TRUST offers events of all topics and sizes so you have the ability to network with large groups or in more casual small group settings.

Networking involves reciprocal relationships. Help others in your network with new introductions and job leads, and you’ll find others will do the same for you. The most vigorous networks are nourished and fostered over time with generous amounts of tending to your field of connections. You enrich your long-term success when you create deeper connections.

Connie currently serves as TRUST President, and Professor and Dean at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Delaney holds degrees in nursing and mathematics, adult health nursing, educational administration, and informatics. Delaney’s work is expanding connections, collaborations, integrative informatics, and social structures which advance co-discovery of solutions that transform health and education systems.

Tags:  LinkedIn  networking  relationship building 

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Bold Leadership: Thinking Bravely, Leading Confidently

Posted By Connie Delaney, U of M School of Nursing, Friday, November 3, 2017
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The Women’s Health Leadership TRUST’s mission is to support women leaders in health care, and we continually aim to support our members grow as the most transformative leaders they can be. Recently, we’ve heard members tell us they want the TRUST to support them to not only become leaders, but BOLD leaders. We’ve listened and are taking action by adding related topics to our strong programming line-up and honoring courageous women in health care at the 2018 Forum.

What does it mean to be a bold leader? A bold person is defined as taking risks; being brave, confident and courageous. A leader who is bold, confident and courageous chooses to act in a situation that involves risk or fear, and yes, vulnerability. She follows the integrated heart and mind to lift up health, and radiates fortitude as well as vulnerability to persevere in the face of challenges even when she can’t control the outcome. A bold leader thinks bravely and acts confidently to expand horizons, move beyond the familiar, and envision a future of health and well-being.

Sometimes boldness and confidence come naturally, other times it is a skill to be enhanced through increased mindfulness, intentionality and action. So, how can women move forward as bold leaders, even if it doesn’t come naturally? Here are a few suggestions no matter where you are on your journey.

  • Lead Authentically from Your True North. Determine who you are based on your values and sources of insight and satisfaction in your life. Your leadership will be authentic and confident when you’re true to your True North.
  • Take Confident Action. Share your insights even if they differ from the views of others. Get involved with projects outside of your comfort zone. Talk/listen to a stranger at a networking event. Practice creates more confidence, so aim to take one confident action a week.
  • Talk with Bold Leaders. Bold leaders are seldom shy about sharing their experiences with others. Talk to women you view as courageous and confident, and ask them to share their insights for growing as a bold leader.
  • Share Information. The most confident leaders share information and wisdom with others rather than amass it and use it in a short-sighted attempt for power.
  • Tell Stories. Confident leaders tell stories with impact and they weave these into their meetings, presentations and day-to-day conversations. Sharing and listening to stories are a bold way to engage with your audiences and help drive home messages.
  • Be Present; Demonstrate Confident Body Language. Body language can instantly demonstrate confidence, or a lack thereof. Engage through authentic eye contact and expressions with others.
  • Use Your Voice. Be mindful of the way you communicate verbally. Allow your energy to flow.
  • Prepare Comments. There is almost always an opportunity to prepare comments even in situations that may seem spontaneous. Think about what you want to say, then say it and stop. Allow silence to speak.

We all have something to share and to learn about being transformative leaders. Live your boldness daily. The Women’s Health Leadership TRUST is here to support you on your bold journey!

Connie currently serves as TRUST President, and Professor and Dean at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Delaney holds degrees in nursing and mathematics, adult health nursing, educational administration, and informatics. Delaney’s work is expanding connections, collaborations, integrative informatics, and social structures which advance co-discovery of solutions that transform health and education systems.

Sources:
Forbes, “How to Communicate Like a Confident Leader,” 5/10/17, http://bit.ly/2xbevq7
Inc., “7 Things Really Bold People Do,” 4/4/14, http://on.inc.com/2yGGcLh

Tags:  bold leaders  courageous leadership  women leaders 

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Reflections and Focus for a New TRUST Year

Posted By Connie Delaney, U of M School of Nursing, Thursday, October 19, 2017
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I am honored to serve as the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST President and join the Board of numerous strong, stellar women leaders in the health care industry: Monica Engel, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota; Theresa Pesch, Children’s Health Care Foundation/Children’s Minnesota; Chris Bent, Allina Health Group; Amy Ronneberg, National Marrow Donor Program/Be the Match; Leslie Bodell, Optum; Julie Dekker, Fulcrum Health; Amy Dewane, HealthPartners; Sharon Gabrielson, Mayo Clinic; Sheri Henck, Medtronic; Beth Honkomp, CentraCare Health System; Ellyn Hosch, Prime Therapeutics; Jana Johnson, formerly of Medica; Stefanie Lenway, Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas; Leslie McDonnell, 3M’s Critical & Chronic Care Solutions Division; Nancy McMorran, DeCare Dental; Allison O’Connor, Fathom Consulting; Dee Thibodeau, Charter Solutions; and Mary Welsh, UnitedHealth Group.

Join me in expressing our gratitude to Theresa Pesch, Immediate Past President of the TRUST. The TRUST was fortunate to have Theresa’s influence and strong leadership on the TRUST Board and organization. It has been a pleasure to work closely with her over the last year.

The Board of Directors met recently to define and refine our priorities for 2018 and reaffirm the TRUST’s mission “to support women leaders in health care” and vision “to be a collaborative force of dynamic women in health care, aligned to share insights, expertise and trusted knowledge to lead within the industry.”

Our full plan for the year is very detailed with priorities to empower the membership through support from each of our committees. Here are some highlights that the Board, in partnership with all members, believes will have a transformative impact and lift up the collaborative force of dynamic women in health care in the year ahead.

  • Take TRUST Programs to a higher level. We plan to expand new, edgy content, responding to member feedback valuing thought leader and other strong programming focused on our turbulent health care market environment and opportunities to foster transformation.
  • Strengthen our value proposition. We are committed to advancement of women in health care and welcome thoughts and insights to enhance our value proposition for both current and prospective members.
  • Continue to grow and retain membership. We celebrate our recent milestone of reaching 500 members! And, we welcome creative engagement of both new and veteran members to advance our mission.
  • Continue to define our core competencies. What does the TRUST do best, and how can we improve?
  • Create enduring relationships between the TRUST and our sponsors. Strong support of sponsors is a hallmark of our Forum and other events. We will continue to expand visibility of our sponsors and partners throughout the year.

I welcome engaging with current and prospective members, sponsors, and partners via the TRUST’s communication channels. Please visit our website as well as our LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter channels for more information about our inspiring and thought-provoking programs throughout the year.

Connie currently serves as TRUST President, and Professor and Dean at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Delaney holds degrees in nursing and mathematics, adult health nursing, educational administration, and informatics. Delaney’s work is expanding connections, collaborations, integrative informatics, and social structures which advance co-discovery of solutions that transform health and education systems.

Tags:  future of health care  women leaders  Women's Health Leadership TRUST 

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The Definition of a Strong Woman

Posted By Theresa Pesch, RN, Friday, September 1, 2017
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This is my last blog post as Women’s Health Leadership TRUST President and I can’t begin to tell you all how much I appreciated serving in this role for the past year. I’m especially thankful for the nearly 500 women in health care who make up our membership.

You are the strength of the TRUST. The TRUST exists for and because of strong women like you. Melinda Gates has frequently spoken about what makes a woman strong1:

“How does she grow into a strong woman? It begins with a step that sounds simple, but isn’t. She finds her voice. A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult. …
“It’s not easy to bring a new idea into existence. It’s not easy even to stand up and talk about why things need to change. I know that from my own experience as a young adolescent searching for my own voice. It’s a long and difficult process, and I think it’s fair to say that it’s never finished. At least I hope it’s never finished. I think a voice is always a work in progress.”

Thank you all for contributing to the success and strength of the TRUST. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as President and truly hope you have become stronger through your TRUST experience. I often hear from members who share how their involvement with the TRUST has positively impacted their lives whether through volunteer service, one of our professional advancement programs, Accelerate! Mentoring or someone met during a TRUST networking opportunity.

I hope you continue to use the TRUST to find or enhance your voice and strength. You will soon be in the very capable hands of Dr. Connie Delaney who will take over as TRUST President at the Annual Meeting on September 28 and I know Connie will carry on the enduring mission of the TRUST. I look forward to staying on the board as Immediate Past President and continuing to serve you all.

I’ve used this blog several times to talk about one’s True North — who you are based on your values. My final words of advice are to find your True North and authentic voice if you haven’t yet done so, and then stay true to it. You’ll find when you’re true to your internal compass of values and true to your voice it becomes much easier to be a strong, courageous leader.

1 GatesFoundation.org, Melinda Gates Powerful Voices Luncheon, October 16, 2003

Theresa currently serves as TRUST President, and President, Children’s Minnesota Foundation. Originally trained in nursing, Pesch has 25 years of health care administration experience and is a sought-after presenter for national philanthropy conferences. She was recognized as a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business honoree in 2012.

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Tags:  authentic voice  strong women  TRUST Annual Meeting 

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Show Me the Money: The Business Case for Female Leaders

Posted By Theresa Pesch, RN, Wednesday, August 9, 2017
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The TRUST is built on supporting women leaders in health care so it’s no surprise our members know women can be great leaders. A recent study proves the point and makes a strong business case for female leaders.

The study by Robert Naess1 of Nordea Bank AB found companies with a female leader, either as a chief executive or head of the board of directors, beat industry performance benchmarks in all but one year since 2009. The female-led companies had an average annualized return of 25%, double the 11% on the MSCI World Index. This main point bears repeating — organizations with a woman at the top performed significantly better.

Another study by Credit Suisse2 found organizations with at least one woman on the board out-performed those without women. That held true for average growth and return on equity and share price.

There’s much speculation as to why women leaders in these studies were able to get better returns for their companies. Naess has two speculations: 1) women may be more conservative resulting in fewer negative surprises, and 2) perhaps “only the very best women can actually get to the top.”

It is interesting to delve deeper into the reasons why things happen; however, it’s disappointing the same question does not appear to be asked of male leaders. Why do women seem to undergo greater scrutiny? Is it so unbelievable that women can be strong business leaders simply because they are smart and excellent fits within their careers of choice?

I find it refreshing Naess and Nordea are walking the talk regardless of the reasons why. The Nordea Global Stable Equity Fund, featuring a substantial number of female-led companies, has returned 14 percent each year for more than five years. That’s nothing to sneeze at and should be a wake-up call, especially to organizations without female leadership.

A recent New York Times article3 noted a little over 6 percent of women hold chief executive positions within Fortune 500 companies. That’s progress albeit at a snail’s pace. The same article stated the lack of women CEOs isn’t due to a pipeline problem, it’s “about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers.” Interviews with a number of senior women in business showed these women found barriers to their ascent were more pervasive than they believed possible. Most barriers were related to perceptions – conscious and unconscious bias – such as being seen as too dependable, not visionary enough, too assertive, or not vocal enough. These themes were discussed in our July blog.

I’m proud of our TRUST members and their organizations for the shared commitment to advancing and empowering women in health care professions. Yet, there’s much more work to be done to accelerate the pace of change for all women in all professions and industries.

1 Smart Company, 8/4/17 http://bit.ly/2vdPn3B
2 2020WOB.com, http://bit.ly/2o7OreP
3 New York Times, 7/21/17 http://nyti.ms/2uGNMUs

Theresa currently serves as TRUST President, and President, Children’s Minnesota Foundation. Originally trained in nursing, Pesch has 25 years of health care administration experience and is a sought-after presenter for national philanthropy conferences. She was recognized as a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business honoree in 2012.

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Find Your Authentic Voice, Speak Your Truth

Posted By Theresa Pesch, RN, Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Updated: Monday, July 17, 2017
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I believe in the power of the voice of women.” – Malala Yousafzai

Your voice is more than the sound produced by your vocal cords. Your voice is an expression of your wishes, choices and opinions. Your voice has influential power. Unfortunately, in 2017 women are still being silenced or shamed for their voice, especially when viewed as being assertive.

Some of the stories of women being silenced are high profile. Senator Kamala Harris was scolded during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in June by the committee’s male chairman who said her style of questioning was disrespectful. Senator Richard Burr went on to inform Senator Harris she should show “courtesy” and be more polite when questioning people. Senator Harris has now turned her admonishment into a rallying cry of “Courage, Not Courtesy.”

The silencing and shaming of women’s voices is not isolated to politics. I’ve heard women in a multitude of industries share their personal stories of being shushed or told their voices were not appropriate, i.e., too loud, too soft, too professional, not professional enough, too feminine, too masculine, too direct, not direct enough, and so on.

Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In included a key premise that women are judged more harshly when voicing opinions. Assertive men are respected for being direct while women acting in a similar manner are often deemed to be overbearing or selfish.

Much of the difference of voice by gender comes down to differing standards and cultural stereotypes according to Joseph Grenny coauthor of Crucial Conversations. He states, “Women are burdened with the assumption that they will conform to cultural stereotypes that typecast women as caring and nurturing. Speaking forcefully violates these cultural norms, and women are judged more harshly than men for the same degree of assertiveness.” 1

The perception of women having a more caring and kind voice also appears to be a key reason virtual assistant voices, such as Siri and Alexa, are female. A recent survey by Accenture Federal Services noted more than 60% of respondents preferred a digital assistant voice with a young, female and human-sounding voice.2

How do we combat stereotypes and unconscious bias associated with voice? First, we need to be bold and stay true to our voice in the same way we are authentic by leading from our true north. Second, it’s essential to call out unconscious bias and empower others to do so as well. For example, speak up if you observe someone always relegating women to note-taker roles rather than leading the discussion. Third, consider unconscious bias training. There are many free online resources if your organization doesn’t offer such training. Google has put great effort into its re:Work unbiasing guides, available free online, to make “the unconscious conscious” in order to create a more welcoming and inclusive workplace.

Be bold, be courageous and speak your truth.

Theresa currently serves as TRUST President, and President, Children’s Minnesota Foundation. Originally trained in nursing, Pesch has 25 years of health care administration experience and is a sought-after presenter for national philanthropy conferences. She was recognized as a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business honoree in 2012.
1 The Huffington Post, 6/8/17 http://bit.ly/2rFUqYK
2 Fedscoop.com, 6/28/17 http://bit.ly/2skr3gB  

Tags:  cultural stereotypes  unconscious bias  women's voices 

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