Fit in or Stand out? How Women Lead Across Cultures

Thursday, March 4th 2021
This event is sponsored by Amazon Lab126
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Researchers Elisabetta Ghisini and Isabelle Lescent-Giles have spent the last year interviewing top female executives around the world--how they rose through the ranks, what characteristics they share, what they’ve learned along the way. The result is a new model of female leadership that’s nothing short of liberating for those of us who’ve been educated in the North American male corporate mold. Flexibility around cultural codes, resilience, an acceptance of complex family dynamics, and an embrace of “accidental leadership” are all part of this new style. Join us for a lively discussion as co-author Ghisini shares her initial findings for the first time.

Elisabetta Ghisini
Elisabetta Ghisini

“This project got its start from a very personal realization: based on our own experience as professional women who lived and worked in different continents, we suspected that the myth of “leaning in” was not the golden path to the top for most women leaders,” says Ghisini.

Elisabetta is an expert in Global Branding and Cross-Cultural Communications. She helps senior executives shape their brand and reputation with global stakeholders.

In her current role as CMO of, an AI-focused venture firm, Elisabetta enjoys working with startups at the forefront of applying AI to business.

She is also a part-time Professor of Practice at Hult International Business School, where she teaches Management Communications and Leadership and where she is conducting a research project on female leadership across cultures.

After starting her career at McKinsey & Company in Milan and San Francisco, where she led the West Coast Communications Department, Elisabetta tasted the dot com boom as a Managing Director in the Tech Practice of Burson-Marsteller. She learned the ropes of entrepreneurship as the founder of Verba, a boutique marketing communications consultancy, and then joined the world of startups as CMO of M31 USA, an Italian venture incubator in Silicon Valley.

She loves sharing her expertise with students and over the years has taught cross-cultural communication, interviewing skills, and public speaking courses at the University of San Francisco and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

Elisabetta is very involved in the Italian community in the Bay Area as the President of COMITES, an elected body of official representing Italians living abroad, and is committed to supporting female professional advancement as the founder of Rete Rosa.

A native of Italy, Elisabetta holds a graduate degree in German Literature from the Universita’ degli Studi di Milano. She is the author of Communicating the American Way, a guide to U.S. business communication.