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Tina Tchen: Make Your Mark Award Winner Spotlight

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 24, 2020
Congratulations Tina Tchen, the winner of our 2020 Advocate Award. We will be honoring Tina (and our other winners) at our annual Make Your Mark Awards on Wednesday, January 29 at the Schultz Cultural Arts Hall in Palo Alto.
RSVP HERE

THE ADVOCATE
Tina TchenPresident and Chief Executive Officer, TIME’S UP. Tina Tchen serves as president and CEO of TIME’S UP Now and the TIME’S UP Foundation, overseeing the organizations’ efforts to change culture, companies, and laws in order to make work safe, fair, and dignified for women of all kinds. In 2017, Tina co-founded the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund with Robbie Kaplan, Fatima Goss Graves, and Hilary Rosen; since then, the Fund has connected nearly 4,000 people to legal or PR support for sexual harassment across dozens of different industries. Tina served all eight years in the Obama White House, including as an Assistant to President Obama, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama. While at the White House, Tina spearheaded the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families and helped form the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. Prior to taking the helm at TIME’S UP, Tina was a lawyer specializing in workplace culture, advising companies on gender inequity, sexual harassment, and diversity. She has served on numerous strategic advisory boards for organizations, businesses, and nonprofits, including the United State of Women, which she continues to co-chair.

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THE FOOTNOTE
“Change is not inevitable - it happens only when each of us does what we can.” - Tina Tchen

Tags:  #MYM  #WeAreWatermark  Make Your Mark 

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Charles Meyers: Make Your Mark Award Winner Spotlight

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 23, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Congratulations Charles Meyers, the winner of our 2020 Bill Campbell Award. We will be honoring Charles (and our other winners) at our annual Make Your Mark Awards on Wednesday, January 29 at the Schultz Cultural Arts Hall in Palo Alto.
RSVP HERE

THE SUPPORTER
Charles J. Meyers joined Equinix in 2010 as President, Equinix Americas, leading the company’s largest P&L through a time of significant growth and strong operating performance. Mr. Meyers then served as the Chief Operating Officer at Equinix, where he led the Global Sales, Marketing, Operations and Customer Success teams. For the past year, he was President, Strategy, Services and Innovation (SSI) leading Equinix’s strategic business teams including Corporate Strategy, Technology Innovation, and Product Management and Engineering. Under Mr. Meyers’ leadership, SSI worked to optimize the company’s position as a cloud enabler, identify key growth areas, and evolve our services portfolio in response to market, competitive and technology trends.

Mr. Meyers has built a distinguished 25‐year career in the high‐tech industry. Before joining Equinix, Mr. Meyers served as Group President at Verisign where he led a P&L portfolio including the company’s Security, Communications and Mobile Messaging businesses. Prior to Verisign, Mr. Meyers held various executive positions at Level 3 Communications, including Group Vice President of Global Marketing, President of IP and Data Services, and Senior Vice President, Softswitch Services. During his tenure, Mr. Meyers helped Level 3 emerge as a premier global provider of Internet and VoIP services. Mr. Meyers also held senior operating roles at BellSouth, was a member of the pre‐IPO executive team at Internet Security Systems and served as a Senior Associate with Booz‐Allen & Hamilton Consulting. Mr. Meyers earned dual master’s degrees from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and McCormick Graduate School of Engineering. He also holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado.

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THE FOOTNOTE
Upon his appointment, Charles made a commitment to making Equinix a place where every employee can confidently say, “I’m safe, I belong, I matter”, and has embedded diversity, inclusion and belonging as a critical component of Equinix’s strategy and identity. 

Tags:  #MYM  #WeAreWatermark  MYM 

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Dr. Shelia Robinson: Make Your Mark Award Winner Spotlight

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Congratulations Dr. Sheila Robinson, the winner of our 2020 Develop Award. We will be honoring Sheila (and our other winners) at our annual Make Your Mark Awards on Wednesday, January 29 at the Schultz Cultural Arts Hall in Palo Alto.
RSVP HERE

THE DEVELOPER
Sheila Robinson is Owner and Publisher of Diversity Woman Media, a professional business magazine for women leaders, executives and entrepreneurs of all races, cultures and backgrounds. Due to the overwhelming national response to her first magazine, North Carolina Career Network, the publication expanded nationally in April of 2008 becoming Diversity Woman. Ms. Robinson is a former Marketing Director with the textiles division of global chemical giant DuPont, where she traveled throughout the U.S. and abroad tracking apparel trends displayed at industry events including Essence magazine’s annual “Essence Award Show”, GQ magazine’s “Men of the Year Award”, and New York’s “7th on Sixth” fashion shows. 

Sheila achieved early career success at DuPont but after she had been with the organization for 14 years, her division was sold. Faced with relocation, she resigned from the company to pursue a long awaited dream - to launch a professional magazine for women seeking career advancement opportunities. As an African-American woman Sheila was no stranger to adversity, and she was strongly committed to providing what she thought to be a much needed resource for women. Sheila is a graduate of North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Pre-Law.

In 2011, Sheila graduated with Beta Gamma Sigma honors in the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Masters Program at Western Carolina University, and was selected as the “Most Outstanding Student” by the College of Business faculty. Sheila is a graduate of Leadership Greensboro (2006), and Leadership North Carolina (2007) and holds certificates from Stanford University’s Professional Publishing Program (2007) and Wharton’s School of Business Chief Learning Officer Program (2013). In 2009 she was honored with the MEAC Image Award for her career achievements and as a positive role model for young women. Other honors include the 2011 Minority Business Person of the Year by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, one of the 2012 Diversity MBA Top 100 Leaders by Diversity MBA Magazine and most recently during the 50th March on Capital celebration she received Kingonomics’s Corporate Diversity Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Sheila has been featured on the cover of Publishing Executive Magazine and named as one of 50 Top Women in Magazine Publishing for the significant contribution she has made in her industry. She has received a Doctor of Education in Talent Management from University of Pennsylvania.

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THE FOOTNOTE
"What someone else says or does is a reflection of who they are and what I say and do is a reflection of who I am." - Dr. Sheila Robinson

Tags:  #MYM  #WeAreWatermark  Make Your Mark 

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Anne Devereux-Mills: Make Your Mark Award Winner Spotlight

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Updated: Monday, January 20, 2020

Congratulations Anne Devereux-Mills, the winner of our 2020 Connect Award. We will be honoring Anne (and our other winners) at our annual Make Your Mark Awards on Wednesday, January 29 at the Schultz Cultural Arts Hall in Palo Alto.
RSVP HERE

THE CONNECTOR

Anne Devereux-Mills is the Founder and CEO of Parlay House, a global modern "salon" series designed to spark authentic conversations and build meaningful, supportive relationships across a diverse range of women. With over 5,000 members in San Francisco, Oakland, New York City, London, Paris, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Amman and Seattle, Parlay House provides space for the conversations that aren’t held in other places. Anne’s story and journey are chronicled in her recently released best-selling book, The Parlay Effect: How Female Connection Can Change the World. Anne is a mentor for SHE-CAN, and organization supporting and grooming the next generation of female world leaders coming from post-genocide countries. An activist on issues related to social justice, she was a key member of the team that helped pass California's Proposition 36, which brought fair sentencing to thousands of non-violent inmates as part of California's Three Strikes reform. Following that victory, she was the Executive Director for the Emmy-nominated documentary film entitled, The Return.

Anne supported Stanford University by serving as the Executive Director of Healthy Body Image Programs, which then grew into the digital mental health company called Lantern. Before taking on these roles in more philanthropic ventures, Anne raised two daughters in the New York area, with a significant career that specialized in the healthcare marketing. Specifically, she was the Chairman and CEO of LLNS and TBWA/WorldHealth (and their worldwide marketing network) after her successful roles as Chief Integration Officer at BBDO and Managing Director of their highly successful healthcare unit. She also served as CEO of Consumer Healthworks, a division of Merkley and Partners, as well as President of Harrison& Star.

She is the former Chairman of the Board of Marchex, a public company in the mobile technology space. Anne recently completed a successful sale of a home healthcare company as a board member for Angelo Gordon, and was a founding board member of of Braven, a non-profit organization which focuses on identifying and empowering our nation’s high-performing yet underserved youth. Anne also helped launch the iHUG Foundation, a not-for-profit school in Uganda supporting some of that nation's most needy children. She continues to participate in many activities that mentor and nurture underserved women.

Anne is a Wellesley College graduate, a 2003 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She has been honored by a range of organizations including SHE-CAN, Advertising Women of New York, The All-Stars Foundation, and Project Kesher.

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THE FOOTNOTE
In her spare time, Anne can be found doing motivational speaking, working out in a pilates studio, skimming waves on a paddle board, sitting at the kitchen counter making jewelry or traveling the world.

Tags:  #MYM  #WeAreWatermark  Make Your Mark 

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Announcement: 2020 Make Your Mark Award Winners

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Congratulations to our 2020 Make Your Mark Award winners! And thank you for all the nominees submitted for consideration.

RSVP to secure your ticket or table of ten today!

Join us on January 29, 2020 for our signature event, Watermark's Make Your Mark Celebration! This annual appreciation event is a celebration of women making their mark and recognizing leaders who connect, develop and  advocate for women.

CONNECT: Anne Devereux-Mills | Founder and CEO, Parlay House
DEVELOP: Dr. Sheila Robinson | Owner and Publisher, Diversity Women Magazine
ADVOCATE: Tina Tchen | CEO and President, TIME'S UP
BILL CAMPBELL: Charles Meyers | CEO, Equinix
IMPACT: Pivotal Ventures


Update: Fireside Keynote, Tina Tchen in conversation with Jessica Aguirre!

Our Make Your Mark Awards celebrating our 25th anniversary is next month and we are thrilled to announce our Keynote Speaker, Tina TchenPresident and Chief Executive Officer, TIME’S UP. Tina Tchen serves as president and CEO of TIME’S UP Now and the TIME’S UP Foundation, overseeing the organizations’ efforts to change culture, companies, and laws in order to make work safe, fair, and dignified for women of all kinds. In 2017, Tina co-founded the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund with Robbie Kaplan, Fatima Goss Graves, and Hilary Rosen; since then, the Fund has connected nearly 4,000 people to legal or PR support for sexual harassment across dozens of different industries. Tina served all eight years in the Obama White House, including as an Assistant to President Obama, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama. While at the White House, Tina spearheaded the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families and helped form the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. Prior to taking the helm at TIME’S UP, Tina was a lawyer specializing in workplace culture, advising companies on gender inequity, sexual harassment, and diversity. She has served on numerous strategic advisory boards for organizations, businesses, and nonprofits, including the United State of Women, which she continues to co-chair.

Jessica Aguirre | Emmy Award-Winning News Anchor, NBC Bay Area
Jessica Aguirre is the 6 and 11 p.m. evening anchor at NBC Bay Area News and an Emmy award winning journalist. Jessica has been a primetime, evening anchor, in the Bay Area for the last 20 years. She has anchored and reported in Los Angeles, and Miami, including Univision. She has earned several Emmy awards for her coverage, reporting and investigative series on the deadly Sonoma and Napa county firestorms, transgender teen fertility preservation, live coverage of the "Ghostship" warehouse fire, migrant children, and child molesters. As the daughter of immigrant parents, she deeply involved in organizations that promote literacy and help stem the Latino achievement gap including The Silicon Valley Education Fund. Her Emmy nominated education show "Class Action" at issues facing California educators and public schools, including interviews with U.C. President Janet Napolitano, State Superintendent of Education Tom Torlakson, and reform activist Michelle Rhee. Her investigative reporting into the aftermath of the Napa earthquake and the impact on local schools led to school safety legislation being introduced by Assemblyman Bill Dodd.

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Watermark Welcomes New Vice President of Membership

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Watermark is pleased to announce that Lauren Schmidt has joined our incredible team as Vice President of Membership. Recognizing that Watermark members are the heart of its community, Lauren will continue to build, foster and develop relationships with all of its members.

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to start off my 2020 and a new decade with Watermark," says Lauren Schmidt. "And look forward to connecting with our amazing membership community!"

Over the past decade she has engaged with and provided advocacy support to individuals in a robust government-based healthcare system. Her endeavors have included partaking in collaborative program development with a multitude of community-based stakeholders, in addition to implementing tangible applications focused on interpersonal well-being. The scope of Lauren’s career has entailed both domestic and internationally based work placements with integrative team-based models. She holds interest in policy development within the spheres of improving access to equity for under resourced populations, human right advocacy and the development of public health supports for women. Lauren acquired her B.S.W. at San Diego State University and received a master’s degree from New York University in Clinical Social Work.

She will work closely with Kim Steppe, Vice President of Sponsorship and Erin Tselenchuk, Vice President of Marketing and Events, to continue to bring Watermark members opportunities to connect, develop and advocate for themselves and for all those who identify as women. To welcome Lauren, please contact here HERE.


Watermark is a non-profit organization and community of top women executives, emerging executives and entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area whose mission is to increase the number of women in leadership positions. Led by the current Watermark Board of Directors, the organization connects, develops and advocates for the advancement of women in the workplace by offering regular leadership development programs and networking opportunities and promoting gender diversity and equality initiatives. Watermark also supports girls’ leadership programs to help build a well-qualified workforce for the future.

For more information about Watermark, contact press@wearewatermark.org.

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Watermark Announces a New Board Member

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Watermark is pleased to announce the appointment of the newest member to its Board of Directors: Khozema Shipchandler. The Board provides leadership for carrying out Watermark's mission to increase the representation of women in leadership roles by empowering them to make their mark in and for their companies, their careers and their communities.

"Khozema brings financial acumen, board experience, and a strong interest in advocating for women.  We are delighted to have another male ally serving on our board," says Marilyn Nagel, Watermark's CEO. "We at Watermark believe that many men support gender equality and must be not only part of our events and conversations, but included in creating our vision, strategies and have representation on our board"

Khozema Shipchandler is the CFO at Twilio, a cloud communications platform as a service company based in San Francisco. He brings over 20 years of experience in finance, most recently serving as GE Digital’s chief commercial officer. Khozema previously served in a variety of positions within GE, including as the chief financial officer and EVP of corporate development at GE Digital and the vice president of corporate audit staff of GE. Khozema earned his bachelor's degree from the Indiana University Bloomington and graduate coursework at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Watermark is a non-profit organization and community of top women executives, emerging executives and entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area whose mission is to increase the number of women in leadership positions. Led by the current Watermark Board of Directors, the organization connects, develops and advocates for the advancement of women in the workplace by offering regular leadership development programs and networking opportunities and promoting gender diversity and equality initiatives. Watermark also supports girls’ leadership programs to help build a well-qualified workforce for the future.

For more information about Watermark, contact press@wearewatermark.org.

Tags:  Board of Directors  Make Your Mark  Watermark  WeAreWatermark 

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Your Career, Menopause & Ageism

Posted By Guest Contributor: Barbara Mark, Ph.D., Friday, October 18, 2019
Contributed by Barbara Mark, Ph.D. | A Time of My Own / Full Circle Institute Leadership and Life Strategies for Professional Women in Their Prime

The 40s, 50s and 60s are three of the most dynamic decades in a woman’s life and career.

This becomes important as women in their 40s look at long term career planning. Women in this age group are in a stage of personal and psychological development that includes moving away from depending on others for approval and permission and are making important career decisions. Women are typically aggressively moving into more visible and influential leadership positions in their areas of interest and expertise.

It is a great time for women to be robust in their desire to achieve the results they want to achieve at this time in their career. They have credibility and enough experience to know what they want to be doing and at what level. They have done their networking and know how to find the contacts that will help them to move up where they are or make the big move to a different place. If they are unsure of where they want to be, this is a great time to engage with a coach to help get some clarity and develop strategies for making change.

This is an exciting time and yet a challenging time for two reasons. First, this age group is called the Sandwich Generation. They are likely to still have children, sometimes young ones, if they have had children, and parents who are aging and may require care.

Second, it is during this decade that women typically will begin to enter perimenopause and experience the accompanying array symptoms. For some women it is a blip on the developmental radar screen and for others it is a nightmare! In our youth obsessed culture, nothing says “old” like menopause. It has been so fully stigmatized that women are often unfamiliar the symptoms never mind how to address them despite the fact that it is a normal human experience. Women simply don’t talk about it and most physicians are poorly prepared to provide assistance or support.

Menopause is an issue of ageism. To reveal and request any accommodation because of menopause symptoms is to subject oneself to this bias. Ageism is a species of Diversity and Inclusion that is rarely addressed as such and the menopause taboo is a subspecies of ageism.

This year has marked a shift in the tide in the US and menopause is now becoming a more frequent topic of conversation in the media and among women’s groups. However, ageism especially gendered ageism is still an issue that is not being addressed in a way that is supportive of women as they age. This is still a frontier that needs to be explored.

Moving into their 50s, for many women, is a journey toward increased personal empowerment. However, the beginning of the journey is beset with some navigational challenges. Many women are still in the grips of perimenopausal symptoms yet for most women the end is in sight as the average age of menopause is 51. Perimenopausal symptoms can last for a while longer than actual menopause (one year after your last period), but they are usually waning.

Developmentally, this is a time when women begin to reflect on what life has been so far and wonder if they have accomplished all that they hoped or thought that they would. This time of deep self reflection is often accompanied by a lot of questions about being in the right place.This can mean looking at their level of passion and looking for sufficient levels of purpose and meaning in their career and other aspects of their lives. Alo, this can be a time when some women experience their own personal/professional midlife “crisis” in that they feel that they want to or need to make a move but have no real clarity about what that move should be. Mistakes can be made during this time and it is a good time to see the counsel of a close friend or to engage the services of a coach who can help you gain the clarity you need to move forward with confidence.

Careers can be very fulfilling at this time as often reached the pinnacle of their careers. As women move into their late 50s, they are usually feeling on more solid ground. Many women will take big steps, concrete steps toward feeling greater purpose and meaning. If women have had children, they are usually launched by this time leaving women with more time to focus on what they truly want professionally and personally. If that isn’t fully happening career-wise, many women add creative pursuits or volunteer opportunities that are meaningful and fulfilling. In the workplace, many women derive deep satisfaction from mentoring and sponsoring younger colleagues. This is no time for ageism to deprive the workplace of the life wisdom and institutional knowledge that women hold.

Here are some pro-tips on dealing with ageism in the workplace:

  1.  Know your value and be able to articulate how your skills contribute to positive business outcomes. Be proud of what you have accomplished and be able to detail your track record with your current or prospective boss.
  2.  Network across generational networks. Developing good relationships across the generations can go a long way to being seen as relational, valuable and relevant. You have a lot of institutional knowledge and earned wisdom - these are very valuable in the world of work. Sharing this knowledge and wisdom with younger colleagues will help you to nurture trust and influence. You will also be able to keep up to date on current trends and technologies through some reverse-mentoring.
  3.  Always manage up well!
  4.  Be sure to challenge your own assumptions and biases about age. If you think you are “old” you are likely to look, act and sound old. You are not old - don’t hold yourself back!
  5.  Also, it doesn’t hurt to know your rights when it comes to possible age discrimination - just in case ;).

Women in their 60s are often both vibrant and elegant. Wisdom is in vogue now, so 60 year olds should glow in the workplace and in other areas of their lives. It is time to enjoy this stage of “Individuation” when women accept all of who they are and kick to the curb anything that doesn’t fit. It is time for women to appreciate all they have accomplished and to accomplish some more with purpose and passion!

Tags:  #menopause  #Women 

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Watermark Announces Two New Board Members

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Watermark is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors: Lori Nishiura Mackenzie and Carin Taylor. The Board provides leadership for carrying out Watermark's mission to increase the representation of women in leadership roles by empowering them to make their mark in and for their companies, their careers and their communities.

"Watermark's mission has always been to connect, develop and advocate for women at any level of their career. With a focus on women’s equality and advancement since our inception over 25 years ago, Watermark continues its evolution that can only be achieved from a strong foundation built upon engagement from its prestigious Board of Directors." says Ann Barlow, Watermark Board Chair. "By welcoming the new newest Directors, Lori and Carin, to the Watermark Board reflects the powerful contributions and dedication it has by bringing recognized leaders who advocate for women into the fold to advance our work." 

Lori Nishiura Mackenzie is Executive Director of Stanford University's Clayman Institute for Gender Research and the co-founder of the new Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab. She advises the diversity and inclusion efforts at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and teaches executive education. Lori speaks globally at organizations such as the European Central Bank, the Watermark Conference for Women and the World Banking Group. Her work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, BBC, San Francisco Chronicle, and brand eins. Lori was one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2017 and was interviewed for the 2018 documentary, bias. Lori brings 20 years of business management experience from companies including Procter & Gamble, Apple, eBay and PayPal and is on the board of the Alliance for Girls. She has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Carin Taylor is Chief Diversity Officer at Workday and has global responsibility for the development and execution of Workday’s inclusion and diversity strategy. Prior to joining Workday, Carin served as the head of diversity, inclusion, and innovation at Genentech where she was responsible for strategic initiatives including executive coaching, building and leading highly effective teams, and increasing employee engagement. She was also responsible for creating strategies to successfully recruit, develop, and retain diverse workforces as well as enabling large organizations to leverage diversity and inclusion to drive innovation. Before Genentech, Carin held various positions in human resources, inclusion and diversity, finance, and customer service at Cisco Systems.

Watermark is a non-profit organization and community of top women executives, emerging executives and entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area whose mission is to increase the number of women in leadership positions. Led by the current Watermark Board of Directors, the organization connects, develops and advocates for the advancement of women in the workplace by offering regular leadership development programs and networking opportunities and promoting gender diversity and equality initiatives. Watermark also supports girls’ leadership programs to help build a well-qualified workforce for the future.

For more information about Watermark, contact press@wearewatermark.org

Tags:  Board of Directors  Make Your Mark  Watermark  WeAreWatermark 

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How Do You Command A Room? 3 Tips to Boost Your Executive Presence

Posted By Guest Post: Ching Valdezco, Exec|Comm, Wednesday, August 14, 2019

This is an original post from Exec |Comm, a Watermark partner and co-branded workshop facilitator.

REGISTER TODAY | Watermark's Co-Branded Workshop | Executive Presence for Financial Managers | October 17, 2019 | Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto


How Do You Command a Room? 3 Tips to Boost Your Executive Presence
By: Ching Valdezco
 

Growing up in the Philippines, I was taught to be humble and accommodating, rather than outspoken or bold. We were encouraged to get along, rather than rock the boat.

My first jobs were with two of the world’s top companies, Procter & Gamble and Hewlett-Packard. My global colleagues were extroverted and confident – they always knew the right thing to say. I found myself too intimidated to speak up in meetings. Not a quality that was going to fast-track me for a leadership position.

I’m petite – 5’ flat. On top of that, I’m an Asian woman, so I look much younger than I am. As a director of strategy and planning at a Fortune 50, I had to learn how to boost my presence, command the room, and engage executive audiences effectively.

So what changed that allowed me to confidently lead global teams and work with senior executives? I took control of my presence. Coming from a technical background, I had to learn that it’s not just about the facts – how I say something is just as important as what I say.

Here’s how you can strengthen your presence and instantly own the room.

1. Connect With Your Listeners

  • Eye contact helps you connect with your audience and show confidence. It’s a powerful connection tool, and it’s all about balance. Too little and you seem detached. Stare them down and you seem creepy. The most effortless way to relate to your audience without detracting from what you’re saying is to follow “one person, one thought.” That is, each thought gets delivered to one set of eyes.

Tip: When seated, look for ‘power positions.’ Position yourself somewhere in the room where you can see the group and make eye contact with key stakeholders.

2. Own Your Space

  • Gestures reinforce your message, and help you own your space. When standing, open your gestures and demonstrate a strong stance. Don’t be afraid to visually express what you’re saying, but keep it in the “gesture zone” – from about your chin to your waist, and just over shoulder width.

Tip: When seated, keep your hands on or above the table and remember to gesture naturally.

3. Take Your Time

  • Pace and pauses tell your audience that what you’re saying matters. Power is never rushed. When you sound confident, it’s easier for your audience to have confidence in you. If you speak too fast, you risk sounding nervous or uncomfortable, and you send one of two wrong messages:
    • “What I’m saying isn’t important enough to take up your time,” or,
    • “I don’t care if you understand, I just want to dump my info on you.”

Tip: Slow down and use pauses to command attention and emphasize key points. There’s power in the pause.

Follow these three quick suggestions and you’ll come across as confident and credible.

Tags:  Executive Presence  Leadership  Workshop 

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