WPO Guest Blog – From Oh No to Aha: The Class of 2017 Had the Opportunity to Tell Their Stories

Peace through business blog
From L to R: Zahra Jafari, Ibrahimi, Muzhgan Wafiq Alokozai (Class of 2008), Dr. Terry Neese (Founder & CEO, IEEW), Freshta Sarwaree, Kobra Dastgirzada (Class of 2010), and Parwarish Oryakhail. Photo by: Amanda Harris 


The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women truly operates as an entrepreneurial venture. And like a good entrepreneur, I like to mix it up each year, bringing in new experts and new sessions to further advance women globally. It’s these moments that take business training into the realm of life-changing. It’s what we strive for each year.

This year, the Class of 2017 enjoyed a first of its kind presentation from author Kate Klise. The goal: to get a room full of women unaccustomed in their own cultures to speaking about themselves to write their own business story. I had my reservations: prying painful memories out of women who have survived genocide and war may bring up unwanted emotions. But Kate believes that stories empower their teller, and by the end of the day all class members, coaches and myself were on board with her vision.

Kate presented thoughtfully and thoroughly on the archetypal pathways that all classic tales tell: a heroine must experience an “oh no!” before she experiences an “aha!” on her life’s journey. In other words, each of us has to overcome something challenging before we can truly succeed. To watch each of the 24 graduates of the Class of 2017 bravely take her story to the front of the room and share her hardest moments along with her biggest triumphs was inspiring and meaningful to every one in that room. Many stuck out, but I especially recall the words of Masooma Ibrahimi (photographed above) weaving the tale of a lonely girl who comforts herself with her notebook and then goes on to empower women through film making.

Read Kate’s article about her experience with PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS(r) and learn about the other student stories shared that day in July at AT&T University in Dallas. Each student took home a booklet containing their newly-written story, a diagram of story structure to use moving forward, and a newly-empowered sense of self and direction for her business. Inspiring words from inspiring women, Kate included!

In case you missed it: a very special video message for the Class of 2017 from Afghan Ambassador, Hamdullah Mohib, on the day of their graduation.



WPO Guest Blog: Creating a Mindset of Courage To Step Into a Bigger Arena

By: Marissa Levin

It takes great courage to think big. It’s much safer to stay where we are comfortable, because big thinking requires us to examine what’s holding us back.

It requires us to evaluate the decisions we’ve made in our lives that seemed right at the time, but perhaps ended up not serving our highest purpose.

One of my favorite books is Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” Primarily a business book, Goldsmith asks us to examine all of the elements that we employ at certain levels of business growth, and then assess whether they are still appropriate for our organization as we grow.

This applies to employees, customers, partners, vendors, processes, IT systems, financial systems, capitalization strategies, and everything else that shapes any business.

We can apply this philosophy to our personal lives too. Understanding that everything in life is impermanent and in a constant state of motion, we are creatures of evolution. For growth-minded individuals, it is natural that the people, events, and experiences that defined us and supported us in one phase of our life may not be the same as we personally evolve.

As we grow, our world will expand to include new communities and new opportunities.

Reflecting on the first half of 2016, I’ve embraced three new opportunities and communities for quantum growth:

  • In January, Inc. Magazine invited me to join their community of columnists. As a lifelong writer and entrepreneur, the opportunity to integrate these two passions with a publication like Inc. was like winning the lottery. However, I unknowingly stepped into one of the steepest learning curves I’ve ever encountered.Many times I felt inept and questioned whether I was in over my head. My editorial team never wavered in their belief of me as I grew into the role of a columnist. My mindset has gradually shifted from one of doubt to one of confidence. However, it took many soul-searching conversations with myself and with my inner tribe of support to keep going.


  • In April, EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) Global asked me to join their Global Communications Committee (GCC) to help set the internal communications strategy for outreach to its 11,000 global members. We are responsible for creating consistent messaging across a range of diverse communities & cultures, that unifies, engages, connects, & excites all members. I momentarily questioned my ability to successfully achieve the objectives assigned to me, but once again I shifted my mindset to one of confidence and determination to succeed.


  • In May, Women’s Presidents Organization (WPO) contacted me to consider assuming the role of Chair for its Northern Virginia chapter. WPO is a global organization of several thousand women leaders who run companies that generate an average of $13 million in annual revenues. Their Zenith-level members gross more than $153 million annually.These women represent the very best of women’s leadership. The role of the Chair is to facilitate monthly meetings for groups of 15-20 local women leaders to help them develop their greatest leadership potential. Again, I heavily weighed the responsibility presented to me. I’m being entrusted with a global Brand, and the women I will facilitate bring serious business challenges to the group. All of the women in WPO are incredibly successful. To be a leader of leaders is the highest leadership calling.

In each of these examples, I had to be comfortable with the unknown, and with being the least knowledgeable and/or experienced in the community. I had to embrace being “new.” What almost held me back in each opportunity were the questions, “What happens if I fail?” “What if I am not enough?”

These questions can lead us down a dark path of imagining worst case scenarios that likely will not materialize. I consciously flipped the question to, “What happens if I succeed?”  With this thinking, my potential is limitless. One of the most transformational books of my life is “The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself.”

  • “Contemplate how much energy is wasted resisting what might happen. Since most of the things you think might happen never do, you are just throwing your energy away.”
  • “Stop and think about what you’re capable of achieving. Up to now, your capacities have been constrained by constant inner struggles. Imagine what would happen if your awareness was free to focus only on the events actually taking place, free from the fear of past events or future outcomes. If you lived like this, your capabilities would be exponential compared to what you’ve ever experienced.”

In my last column, I discussed the importance of setting boundaries that prevents others from entering into our personal space when it doesn’t serve us. Now I’ll discuss the importance of recognizing the boundaries you place upon yourself that are self-limiting beliefs.  We all set limits for ourselves, knowingly and unknowingly. When we approach our limits, we begin to feel uncomfortable and insecure. Our internal voice sends us conflicting messages to move forward towards the calling, but to also stay safe.

We can never know what awaits us on the other side until we brush up against the edge of possibility.

  • What are your boundaries?
  • How resistant are you to going beyond your boundaries?
  • How does the fear of the unknown, or fear of failure impact your willingness to embrace opportunities for growth?
  • How are you limiting your access to your greatest potential and joy?

These are important questions to address when we are presented with opportunities to expand any aspect of our life.

Your boundaries are your personal container. As you move through this life, strive to expand the container. Your greatest potential lies beyond its walls.

You are stronger than your boundaries, and more capable than you realize.

You are as strong as the depth of your courage.  

See you on the other side of comfort!



The Encore – UPS: How 3D Printing Could Bend the Cost Curve in Healthcare

By: John Menna

Imagine if any patient could be at the top of any donor recipient list. As Baby Boomers reach their retirement years, policymakers and leaders in medicine are scrambling to find better health outcomes with lower expenses. Additive manufacturing could provide a real breakthrough in treating patients around the world, writes John Menna, Vice President of Global Strategy for Healthcare Logistics at UPS.


UPS Blog

Even as people around the globe enjoy longer, healthier and more productive lives, the rising cost of healthcare threatens to impede such progress.

This is particularly troubling in the United States as Baby Boomers approaching retirement place a greater strain on an overburdened healthcare system.

Policymakers and medical leaders are scrambling for innovative ways to slow expenses, bracing for a demographic shift that will become arguably the central story in healthcare in the years ahead.

A Great Equalizer

However, one of the great equalizers could come in the form of another disruptive technology – 3D printing. Cost is at the center of the debate on 3D printing, with skeptics questioning whether 3D printers are too expensive to find a mainstream audience. But it’s equally as important to examine how additive manufacturing could bend the cost curve in a number of industries, especially healthcare.

It’s expensive to bring new drugs to market, and developing cutting-edge technologies for evolving threats requires significant investment.

Additive manufacturing would bring newfound efficiency to the healthcare supply chain, both at the front and back ends. Right now, the pharmaceutical industry spends more than $50 billion annually on research and development.

But with 3D printing, clinical trials for drugs could be more efficient, preserving valuable research and development budgets for private companies and nonprofits alike.

With developers creating treatment plans on demand, inventory levels would also shrink. U.S. hospitals, for example, generate more than 2 million tons of medical waste each year. Much of that “garbage” is unused medical supplies and equipment. Newer models often replace usable medical products that are destined for the landfill without ever leaving the bubble wrap.

3D Printing Efficiency

But 3D printers could root out such inefficiencies. Already, surgeons are using 3D printing to develop replicas of the human heart for surgery. Prosthetics for children that once cost tens of thousands of dollars now run a few hundred dollars. And 3-D printed tools are reducing error rates in surgeries.

This is just the beginning. With so-called bioprinting, cells could be deposited layer over layer to grow organs. Imagine a 3D-printed liver or even 3D-printed lungs.

The 3D printer would essentially place any patient at the top of any donor recipient list. Fewer people would risk death waiting for that perfect kidney match.

Much testing remains before widespread bioprinting becomes a reality. We must also clear a number of regulatory hurdles – safety and ethical standards should drive this process. This healthcare evolution won’t happen overnight, but 3D printing is providing a glimpse into a brighter future.

With 3D printing, scientists have created a bionic ear that can detect radio frequencies beyond the normal range of human hearing. Three-dimensional printers have created airway splints designed to grow as a baby grows. And researchers have developed 3D-printed skin for burn victims.

This is the ultimate form of personalized medicine, with doctors and surgeons tailoring medical plans to the individual rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Elderly patients in need of a hip or knee replacement could benefit from the 3D printer for specialty implants. Because the process is more exact, these patients would avoid the second or third procedure to replace traditional, less-effective implants.

Manufacturing Better Health

In such a future, patients would live healthier and happier while driving down the cost of specialized and costly medical procedures. But this is more about people than dollars and cents. Picture a patient living in a remote village in the heart of Africa without access to sophisticated surgeries and medicines. What was once too expensive – nothing more than a pipe dream – is now deliverable.

And a logistics provider like UPS can send 3D-printed medical supplies around the globe, connecting all corners of the world faster than ever before. In this 3D-printed future, we’ll treat more patients. And by today’s standards, we’ll do so for pennies on the dollar. And those troubling healthcare spending charts? They’ll start trending in a downward direction.

(Top image: Lawrence Bonassar, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and colleagues collaborated with Weill Cornell Medical College physicians to create an artificial ear using 3-D printing and injectable molds. Credit: Lindsay France, Cornell University.)

This article is part of UPS Longitudes’ Routes to the Future series, which explores the business and technology trends that will shape our world in the next 10 years.

Forbes: Started By Three Women, NightLight Pediatric Wants To Be The McDonald’s Of Urgent Care

By: Amy Feldman

Zawadi Blog

Ten years ago, when Dr. Anastasia Gentles worked at Texas Children’s Hospital’s emergency room, she spent many hours seeing children with fevers and ear infections who wound up in the ER for lack of other options. The pediatrician, now 49, came up with the idea of an urgent-care center just for kids, and asked a friend from church, Zawadi Bryant, 43, who had business experience, what she thought. The women – along with a third partner, Connie Cazares, 41 – founded NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care with a single location in Sugarland, Tex. Today, the chainlet of pediatric urgent-care centers spans five Texas locations (with two more in the works) and expects to produce $8.5 million in revenue this year. In a conversation that has been edited and condensed, Bryant, the company’s CEO, spoke about their hopes for going national.

Amy Feldman: Tell us about starting NightLight Pediatric.

Zawadi Bryant: Dr. Gentles had this great idea: What if we had an urgent-care center just for kids? That way we could see these fevers, coughs and ear infections that are not so urgent, but cannot wait for the next day to be seen at the doctor’s office. She and I went to church together, and she knew I had a business background. She floated the idea past me. I have an MBA but knew nothing about medicine. Urgent care was really young then, and no one was doing pediatric urgent care. We started with a first location in Sugarland. We didn’t want to start too big because we didn’t know if people would accept the concept. Within a year, we were outgrowing the space.

Feldman: Are there other pediatric urgent-care centers now?

Bryant: Very few people do it.

Feldman: What was it like at the beginning?

Bryant: A lot of pediatricians thought we would take their patients. Our motto is very simple: We are not a replacement to primary care. We don’t do well checks, we don’t do inoculations, we don’t do follow-up. It took them a while to trust us. Once they believed we weren’t going to steal their patients, they started referring to us.

Feldman: How do you manage the growth?

Bryant: This is where it is nice to have an engineering background. I am very methodical and systems-oriented. I worked for large companies, like BP and Hewlett-Packard. That helps us with standardization. Whether you go to our Sugarland location or our Webster location, the same procedures will be followed. I want to be the McDonald’s of urgent care in our systems and processes.

Feldman: Is that part of the reason you took over as CEO in January?

Bryant: Yes, that was a major part of it. My partner was like, “This is really a business.” This year we are focused on the numbers and on getting more efficient. She and I had shared the co-CEO role. Dr. Gentles will be the chief medical officer.

Feldman: Where are your clinics?

Bryant: All are in the Houston area. We are now evaluating other cities in Texas, and we have our eyes set to be in other states. We want to get our footing in Texas first because the laws are so different state-to-state. We’re looking at Colorado, California, Arizona. Pediatric urgent care really plays well in urban areas. You need a dense population for it to work.

Feldman: What are the numbers you need to open a new center?

Bryant: For urgent care to do well, you need at least 200,000 people in a five-mile radius. Kids are normally a third of that. You need an area where you could put in multiple centers.

Feldman: How profitable a business is it?

Bryant: We’ve been doing 20% to 25% profit margin.

Feldman: How has the business changed with the Affordable Care Act?

Bryant: The ACA has not really affected us.

Feldman: Why is that?

Bryant: The ACA really was to address the uninsured adult population. I couldn’t articulate why it didn’t impact us until I went to a workshop on Friday, and saw a graph showing children covered by Medicaid. Fifty-percent of children in Texas are covered by Medicaid or CHIP.

Feldman: You hear a lot of talk about doctors not being able to make enough money on Medicaid patients. How does that work for you?

See the full list: Forbes Small Giants 2017

Bryant: In the state of Texas, Medicaid is pretty much privatized, so the plan administrators for Medicaid are very savvy. The largest Medicaid plan in Houston approached us and said, “How can I make sure my kids are seen at NightLight because I’d rather pay you than pay five times that for the ER.” They are smart enough to know that their members are going to go somewhere and it’s better for them to come to us than go to the ER.

Feldman: What do you expect to happen with insurance going forward?

Bryant: It’s so out of control—the whole situation. That is why we are looking into a membership program where we can offer people a discount to participate. You pay a monthly subscription fee, and have a reduced fee when you visit. Even now, people have commercial plans, but the deductibles are so high that they pay the full visit themselves, which can be very expensive. Our parents will sometimes pay out of pocket because it can be cheaper.

Feldman: How would a membership program work?

Bryant: We’re still trying to work out details. It’s very popular in urgent care. It could be $50 a month, and a $50 copay so there is risk-sharing with the family.

Feldman: How does that compare to the regular cost?

Bryant: Our self-pay rate is $150 for a visit, including all shots and X-rays.

Feldman: What’s been your experience offering health insurance to your own employees?

Bryant: We pay 100% of our full-time employees’ health insurance. It’s a challenge, but being in healthcare we took a stance when we started that was something we were going to do. Also, employees’ children can be seen at the clinic for free up to a certain amount of visits.

Feldman: Have you taken on any outside investors?

Bryant: No. We have good strong banking relationships. That is the cheapest form of money. We’re talking to investors now, we’re talking to private equity. Right now we are happy with the pace that we are growing, but at some point we would want to grow faster.

Feldman: What’s your benchmark for needing an outside investor?

Bryant: Beyond 10 clinics, we would need a partner. Pediatric urgent care is growing. We probably have three to four years until the bigger players start to consolidate. We want to be one of those players.

Feldman: How many years down the road would you need an investor?

Bryant: Definitely within the next couple of years. We have two clinics under construction now, and we’re looking for three or four new sites in Houston.

Feldman: Is your ultimate goal to be a national business?

Bryant: We think so. PM Pediatrics is a big pediatric urgent care center with 20 clinics in New York, New Jersey and D.C. There’s another Night Lite Pediatric in Florida that is not related to us that has 10 clinics. Outside of that and the ones affiliated with hospitals, there are no players of size. There is definitely an opportunity for a major national player.

Feldman: Could general urgent-care players move into pediatrics?

Bryant: I don’t think so. It’s such a different model. They do primary urgent care. We see kids, so we don’t do workmen’s comp, we don’t do occupational medicine, and we don’t do regular care that competes with our physicians. They’re generally open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. We’re open Monday to Friday 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Feldman: How has it been for you personally to start a company after working for some of the biggest ones?

Bryant: When it was just the three of us, we all had day jobs. I worked at BP during the day, and at the clinic at night. I worked the front desk for a year. Early on Saturdays, we would put on our headphones and wash the windows.

Feldman: How did you get to the point where you quit BP and focused on this full-time?

Bryant: After a year, I was able to. There was a situation where my boss was like, “We need you in London for a couple of weeks.”  Of course, he didn’t know I was running a business. I just freaked out. I’m like, “How am I going to go to London for two weeks?” Dr. Gentles knew this great lady who did the front desk at one of the places she worked. She trained her and was good to go. I was like, “I probably can’t do that for much longer.”

Feldman: Did you tell your boss you had launched a business?

Bryant: I never did. I quit when it got to be too much. He probably knew because all my coworkers knew.

Feldman: Are there things that happened that you didn’t expect?

Bryant: When you are running a health care organization, one of the big things is billing. I was like, “I do not want to learn billing.” So we outsourced it. But, of course, I’m a numbers person, and I required them to give me monthly reports. And we were losing money. We lost about $100,000 the first year because they weren’t billing correctly. So I had to go to billing school and teach myself to bill.

Feldman: What did you learn?

Bryant: There were books of these codes that I had to understand. We figured out what codes we use, which were appropriate for each procedure, and came up with a spreadsheet. Then I was able to teach other people based on a protocol. It was like learning a whole new language.

Feldman: Other surprises?

Bryant: The H.R. thing. Our first employees were people we knew, family and friends, and when we started hiring people from resumes we made a lot of mistakes. We didn’t appreciate the culture we were building. One big aha moment was when we went from one clinic to two clinics. It nearly killed us.

Feldman: What went wrong?

Bryant: We were trying to run clinics clear across town from each other. It was just the three of us, and we didn’t have a management structure in place to run the older clinic. So when we took ourselves out of the first one, it started to decline. In order for us to duplicate, we couldn’t be so heavily involved in the success of any of the clinics. I think that’s a turning point for any entrepreneur. You want to feel necessary, but that’s to your detriment if you want to grow. We go on a partners’ retreat every year. We went to Sedona this year. It was the first time that we were really at peace. No one called us, and no one emailed us, and we didn’t have a desire to check in. It was like, “Wow, we’ve finally hit our stride, we can be gone for 10 days, and not worry.” We went to the Grand Canyon, and could look at how big the earth is and just take appreciation for God’s creation. We spent two years grooming the management team, and if they can’t run the clinics for 10 days then that two years has been in vain.

New York Times: Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were

It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers.

By: Susan Chira

A year ago, dressed in suffragette white and addressing a cheering, weeping convention, Hillary Clinton stood for possibility. Now she is a reminder of the limits women continue to confront — in politics and beyond.

More than 40 years after women began pouring into the workplace, only a handful have made it all the way to the top of corporate America. The percentage of chief executives of Fortune 500 companies who are women just passed 6 percent, creeping up (and occasionally dropping back) at a glacial pace.

Why don’t more women get that No. 1 job?

Consider the experiences of the people who know best: Women who were in the running to become No. 1, but didn’t quite make it. The women who had to stop at No. 2.

What their stories show is that in business, as in politics, women who aspire to power evoke far more resistance, both overt and subtle, than they expected would be the case by now.

The impact of gender is hard to pin down decisively. But after years of biting their tongues, believing their ranks would swell if they simply worked hard, many senior women in business are concluding that the barriers are more deeply rooted and persistent than they wanted to believe, according to interviews with nearly two dozen chief executives, would-be chief executives, headhunters, business school deans and human resources professionals.

What they say: Women are often seen as dependable, less often as visionary. Women tend to be less comfortable with self-promotion — and more likely to be criticized when they do grab the spotlight. Men remain threatened by assertive women. Most women are not socialized to be unapologetically competitive. Some women get discouraged and drop out along the way. And many are disproportionately penalized for stumbles.

“For years I thought it was a pipeline question,” said Julie Daum, who has led efforts to recruit women for corporate boards at Spencer Stuart. “But it’s not — I’ve been watching the pipeline for 25 years. There is real bias, and without the ability to shine a light on it and really measure it, I don’t think anything’s going to change. Ultimately at the top of an organization there are fewer and fewer spots, and if you can eliminate an entire class of people, it makes it easier.”

Jan Fields worked her way from crew member at a McDonald’s restaurant to become president of McDonald’s USA, the No. 2 position at the company. She was fired in 2012, blamed for the first monthly drop in profits since 2003 during a strategic push for higher prices. From her perspective, she was making bold changes necessary for the company’s survival; McDonald’s has struggled in recent years amid increasing consumer consciousness about health.

She’s blunt about the life of a woman near the top.

“You’re the only woman,” she said. “It’s very lonely. I was at a high level playing in a golf foursome with all high-level men. One said, ‘I didn’t know you knew how to play.’ I said, ‘You never asked me.’ I never drank with them. I never tried to be one of the guys. I spent more energy on performance.”

In the end, she said, she won over many of the men. “The men along the way, they were extremely jealous and competitive,” she said. “It didn’t really last that long because they saw my production, and when they did start to work for me, they realized, ‘She was not that bad.’ ”

Like many women who became senior executives, she said she rose fastest and most smoothly when she was measured by the straightforward metric of profits. “It’s really all about money,” she said. “I always had to do better than anybody else to be considered equal. I ran great restaurants, had great profits and had the most successful people working for me.”

One handicap to becoming the chief executive, she said, was her own choice not to work overseas. “I thought so many of the countries we were going into were so against women,” she said. “I thought, I don’t need that.”

But after three years in the No. 2 spot, she and her boss disagreed about strategy. She pushed hard for changes, as she said many women in her place have done. “That’s how come I’m gone,” she said.

When women act forcefully, research suggests, men are more likely to react badly. A Lean In/McKinsey & Company survey in 2016 of 132 companies and 34,000 employees found that women who negotiated for promotions were 30 percent more likely than men to be labeled intimidating, bossy or aggressive.

Another executive spent 30 years in Fortune 500 companies, rising to the C-suite, the pool from which the next chief executive may be chosen. She described her experience in detail but insisted on anonymity because she has a settlement agreement with the company and remains friendly with her former boss. She gained a reputation for finding growth where others had not, often doubling the revenue of her divisions.

She was seen as a possible successor to the chief executive, but she said she was unprepared for corporate politics at the very top. “Before heading to the C-suite, I didn’t feel I was handicapped at all,” she said, echoing conversations with many other women. But the next rungs of the ladder depend not only on results but also on prevailing in an environment where everyone is competing for a chance at the top job.

“I got a guy his C-suite job,” she recalled. “I’m sitting there at the C-suite table and he takes a massive swipe at me on my business: ‘She’s not doing this right.’ I go down the hall, and I go to my friend and say, ‘What the hell just happened?’ And she said, ‘Did you forget the boys play a 24/7 game of dodge ball? You just walked into the gym. You whip the ball, and if it happens to knock somebody on the head, so what?’ And my husband said, ‘Why the hell did you help him get his job two years ago?’ ”

Her turning point came when she was outmaneuvered by male colleagues during a corporate reorganization. Believing she was not going to rise further, she asked for an exit package.

Looking back, she is convinced that being a woman hurt her. “I rewrote the entire strategy for the company, doubled its share price,” she said. “We had a little bit of a dip. All of the guys had missed their numbers more. There’s a guy positioning himself as the successor. He hasn’t made his number in seven years. He’s tall and good looking and hangs around the right circles.”

She drew an unwelcome conclusion. “Women are prey,” she said. “They can smell it in the water, that women are not going to play the same game. Those men think, ‘If I kick her, she’s not going to kick back, but the men will. So I’ll go after her.’ It’s keeping women in their place. I truly believe that.”

Such experiences resonate even with women who did rise to the top job. “We are never taught to fight for ourselves,” said Ellen Kullman, the former chief executive of DuPont. “I think we tend to be brought up thinking that life’s fair, that you thrive and deliver, and the rest will take care of itself. It actually does work for most of your career. It doesn’t work for that last couple of steps.”

Ms. Kullman withstood a challenge from an activist investor but then decided to resign in 2015, telling Fortune that she concluded she had become a target and “was getting in the way of the future of the company.”

Sally Blount, dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern and the only woman to lead a top 10 business school, noted that data predicts that half or more of the women who earn an M.B.A. this year will drop out of the full-time work force within a decade. The reasons range from family conflicts to placing less inherent value on position or money. That accounts in part for the low number of women who do reach the very top job, because fewer remain in the pipeline. Yet even those women who stay and reach the C-suite are more likely than men to be overlooked, Ms. Blount said.

“Getting looked over is incredibly painful, particularly when you’re not sure why after all these years,” she said. “I used to love the word ‘gravitas.’ I now think it’s male code for ‘not like us’ at the highest levels.”

The parallels with politics are striking. Research in both fields, including some conducted after Mrs. Clinton’s loss, has shown it’s harder for assertive, ambitious women to be seen as likable, and easier to conclude they lack some intangible, ill-defined quality of leadership.

Click here to read full article.

PwC Canada – PwC’s Tax Insights: Government targets tax planning using private corporations

On July 18, the Canadian government released legislative proposals and a consultation paper targeting three tax planning strategies that, in the government’s view, use private corporations to gain unfair tax advantages for high-income individuals. The draft proposals are complex and will impact every Canadian private company and their shareholders.

The proposals focus on three main areas:

  1. Income splitting with family members to reduce the overall family tax burden
  2. Perceived tax advantages achieved through the accumulation of a passive investment portfolio owned by a private corporation
  3. Strategies that convert regular income or dividend income of a private corporation into capital gains, which are taxed at lower tax rates

Read more about the proposed changes, how to submit a response to the government and listen to PwC’s webinar on this topic.

If you have any questions about how these changes could impact you and your business, please reach out to your PwC Canada chapter member.


The Women Presidents’ Organization would like to thank PwC Canada for providing this week’s sponsor blog content. 

WPO Guest Blog – Nina Vaca: Not Lonely at the Top

By: Judi Jordan

Entrepreneur extraordinaire Nina Vaca’s legendary optimism is real, intense, and highly contagious. Genetically wired for success and coded for brilliance, this sparkling leader, triathlete, benefactor, mentor, scholar, mother of four, immigrant, presidential ambassador, and CEO of her thriving information technology services corporation, reconfigured the paradigm for achievement on her own terms. Vaca never held a corporate job, nor did anyone in her family; she grew up in a busy hive of entrepreneurs. “I came from a family of entrepreneurs; you could argue that it’s all I’ve ever known. I grew up thinking that’s what you do—you build your own company! It’s my ‘safe space!’”

The ultimate outsider made good, Vaca created her own mega corporation.

Having discovered her calling early in life, twenty-one years in, Nina is very serious about Latinos accessing their destinies. “We have to create wealth in our communities where wealth does not exist. There are Hispanics in the C Suite, just not enough of us. There are Hispanics on corporate boards but again, not enough. There are Hispanic entrepreneurs but they’re not scaling.”

“Often times as I was climbing and finding success I was the youngest and the ‘only,’ I looked around and said it’s not enough to be the ‘only’ or ‘the first,’ to me that is not acceptable. The higher we climb and the more opportunities we see at the table, the more I want my community to be there.”

“The more successful Pinnacle becomes, the more opportunity, and frankly, the more bandwidth and financial ability I have to give back. What I do at Pinnacle feeds my family, but what I do in the community feeds my soul.”

Nina Vaca Blog

The Vaca family bond is tight, full of wisdom, moral support, and patriotism.

“My parents ingrained in our minds, that yes, we are immigrants to this country, but we need to give our best to this country. My dad worked three jobs, he parked cars; he had a night job and an afternoon job… we were your classic immigrant family in LA.” Nina’s mother was a role model; Nina witnessed the power and strength in numbers. Now when she launches a big project she gathers her ‘troops.’ “I’ve been like that all my life, I’m the daughter of a real grassroots activist! All I ever saw my mother do growing up was gathering people together, inspiring them, taking action. It’s in my DNA. I’m happiest when I know that I’m helping people. To me, this is how you build a legacy.”

My secret to success? “I never do anything by myself! I always have an army of people along, much like I never take all the credit.”

After coming to the US from Ecuador when Nina was two, the family’s early years in California were no picnic. The Vacas moved from town to town in California, in search of the best schools for their children. Vaca credits her determined parents who actively prioritized their children’s futures. “Those schools were in different cities; where there were no Hispanics. I never saw myself as a Hispanic growing up; I always tried to blend into the mainstream. I thought, ‘I’m just as good as everybody else,’ and I worked just as hard.”

When Nina was a teenager, her dad altered the course of her life by buying a computer.

“What led me to technology was seeing my first computer when I was fifteen years old. My father in his infinite wisdom brought a Sabre Travel System terminal to the office—this huge thing—and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world! I was savvy enough to know that the technology sector was growing very fast.”

This major AHA! moment for Nina never gets old.

“I was fascinated by technology and I knew that if I pursued a career there it would be something that would have a future, so like a good entrepreneur I started diving in!” Nina’s unsinkable spirit lives in these words: “Good entrepreneurs see opportunity where others see none and they dig! They go through the back door, the side door, the chimney!”

Nina didn’t stray from her entrepreneurial roots.

“Twenty-one years ago I realized that corporations would need a technology workforce and the need would go up every year! This is the industry of the future. 65% of our elementary school children are going to be doing a job that doesn’t exist today! And 80% of the new jobs in this country will be STEM related. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence and technology everywhere, you are going to see America transform!”

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