The Encore- Prudential: Helping To Protect The Future Of Your Business

The Prudential Insurance Company of America and its affiliates offer a wide range of insurance products that can help your business continue successfully in the event of your death or disability. Insurance is a vitally important business tool that is often overlooked.

Whether your business is a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company, or a closely held corporation, Prudential can help. Purchasing life insurance for business needs may prove to be one of the most important decisions of your life.

Evaluate your business risk.

If your business is structured as a …


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WPO Guest Blog: Jackie Wilson leads a fast-growing fashion design business in CNY


By: Stan Linhorst |

Jackie Wilson has built a fast-growing fashion company in Central New York. Since 2013, revenue at American Fashion Network has skyrocketed ten-fold.

American Fashion Network is the umbrella for JES Apparel, which Wilson describes as “our stage name.” JES were the initials of Jackie, Estina and Surina, her two partners in Singapore. Their partnership dissolved in 2011. Wilson kept the name and today has 13 designers, artists and brand managers working at her studio in DeWitt. Eight more – designers and factory support staff – work at her new office in Los Angeles.

Wilson said the company’s hallmark has been speed to market, taking 10 weeks out of the normal timetable from conception of design to seeing garments in stores. She contracts with factories in Guatemala, China, Vietnam, Indonesia. A new one is coming online soon in Peru.

She was born in Whittier, Calif., grew up in La Habra near Anaheim and graduated in 1985 from the University of Arizona with a degree in journalism, hoping to see the world as a foreign correspondent. Instead, the Gemco cashier job she landed at age 16 launched a career in fashion sales and helped her to travel the world, first for employers in L.A. and New York and now from her headquarters on Heritage Landing Drive.

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The Wall Street Journal: How a Woman CEO Affects Sales and Salaries

By John Simons

Companies hoping to boost financial performance and solve the gender pay gap could solve those issues all at once by hiring a woman as chief executive.

Women who took over from male chief executives increased sales per employee by roughly 14% in companies where women comprised at least one-fifth of the workforce, according to new research from economists in the U.S. and Italy. Having a woman as a CEO also led to a narrower pay gap between men and women in a company, lifting salaries of top-performing women by roughly 10%, according to the researchers.

The small body of research that explores the effects of female leadership on companies tends to focus on women board members and the effect they have on stock prices and market capitalizations. This new study, titled “Do Female Executives Make a Difference? The Impact of Female Leadership on Gender and Firm Performance,” examined metrics that more closely reflect workforce productivity such as sales per worker.

University of North Carolina economics professor Luca Flabbi and three colleagues examined financial data from nearly 800 Italian manufacturing companies and longitudinal information from Italy’s social security system that contained pay trajectories of more than one million workers between 1982 and 1997.

Similar data sets for U.S. companies and workers would be difficult to gather, Dr. Flabbi says, since detailed data for nonpublic companies and individual salaries aren’t publicly available. Even so, he says the study’s findings are relevant to present-day U.S. companies—where women comprise roughly of 50% of white-collar workers but only 4.6% of executives according to data from ExecuComp. The proportion was roughly the same in Italy for the period examined in the study.

The economists turned to management research to find explanations for the results. They say reviews of previous studies suggest that women leaders are better at placing executives in roles that are appropriate to their skills and education—in short, women may be more meritocratic leaders.

“Men are mismatching the women executives and female CEOs correct that mismatch,” says Dr. Flabbi.

The Encore – PwC: The Future of Decision Making for Private Companies

In our Global CEO Survey released in February 2016, 81% of private company CEOs believed their company would see revenue growth over the next year, and 91% expected growth over the next three. With growth comes change and executives will be faced with a number of frequent decisions to successfully push their organizations to the next level.

In our latest global survey, Big Decisions, more than 2,100 executives from across 10 countries and 15 industries were asked to share their insights on the complexities of decision making, and what the future might hold.

Across Canada, more than half (63%) of family business leaders agree that there is a need to adapt their organization among an increasingly digital world. Where might we see this adaptation unfold? Likely in the use of data analytics to make quicker, more sophisticated decisions.

In the Big Decisions survey, Canada’s c-suite leaders stressed the need for a future with faster and more sophisticated decision making. The focus is on getting the right information to the right places at the right time – and taking action. It’s applying the right level of insight to the right problem to create the right value. When combined, speed and sophistication will help maximize the return on investment for data and analytics, reduce the impact of human bias, and yield more accurate answers.

Currently, the gap primarily lies within sophistication, with speed making greater strides for improvement by 2020. This gap tells us that companies may not be taking full advantage of the analytics they already have, or they aren’t ready for a more advanced approach. This leads us to ask – what steps companies take to unlock the potential of data and analytics? –

Learn more about our findings in our Global Data and Analytics Survey 2016, Big Decisions.


WPO Guest Blog- Meet the C-Suite: Amanda Gorecki, President of Healing Waters and Pure MD

Congratulations to our WPO Member Amanda Gorecki! 

  • Name: Amanda Gorecki
  • Company: Healing Waters and Pure MD
  • Title: President and Founder
  • Headquarters: Buford, Ga.
  • Background: Masters in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neurosurgery, Emergency Medicine, Medical Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery.
  • First job: I was a bagger at a local grocery store. I loved this job.
  • Education: Seattle Pacific University – Bachelor of Science in Nursing; University of Alabama at Birmingham – Masters of Science in Nursing
  • Residence: Cumming, Ga.

Business Strategy

How’s business: We are in a strong phase of growth which presents both challenges and many opportunities.

Biggest challenge for your business: The biggest challenge is that we are in multiple states and are quickly growing.

What’s going to change at your company in the next year: We are looking to grow into a hospital in Wichita, Kansas and in the Atlanta area. We are strategically looking for the right partnership.

Company goal yet to be achieved: Continual growth of leadership – so employees can have more independence and can lead their teams more effectively. I am working to establish a clear direction for the company so that employees know their individual opportunities and can focus on them.

Management philosophy

Guiding principles for good management: Start with the right people, make sure they have the capacity and ability to do the job, invest in them, give them opportunities with rewards and enjoy celebrating their successes.

Best way to keep competitive edge: Stay educated on the newest technology, ingredients and opportunities. Also, thoughtfully decide which opportunities will be the best ones to partner with as a company.

Why people like working for you: We are in a fun industry and we are known for striving to be the best in our field. The leaders and team members take a lot of pride in their work and pride in the company. We are a strong team with amazing long term players and I think they like the family our company has become.

Most inspiring entrepreneur: Sara Blakely of SPANX.

Judgment calls

Best business decision: Partnering with strong developers and strong leadership who have potential. I have one leader who has been with us since we opened and now she is the director of marketing. I saw potential in her, invested in her and she is such an amazing asset for our company. She is one of the best business decisions we have made and it has been fun to watch her grow. She has been a great return on investment for the company.

Hardest lesson learned and how you learned it: My background is in healthcare. This can be challenging because while I understand the work we do with patients in full detail, I did not have finance, HR, marketing or legal experience. I have learned some hard lessons from not having this knowledge and have had to develop these skills in order to handle situations.

Toughest business decision: Deciding when to pursue a problem legally. Overall it is painful, but at times is the only way to stop a situation from continuing to damage your company.

Biggest missed opportunity: Stronger financial accounting earlier on so we could have better understood the levers that would make change within our organization. By not having this data, we entered in contracts that at times were not good for us. Having a strong financial foundation has helped immensely with establishing these relationships correctly from the beginning.

True confessions

Like best about job: I love working with our leaders. I feel that we have amazing women leaders. I love learning from them and they teach me every day.

Like least about job: When there is a problem, it often becomes my responsibility and sometimes this can be draining. I often deal with the tough business calls and decisions which can be hard.

Pet peeve: People who do not hit deadlines or do not follow through. I do not like following up on others to make sure they do their work.

First choice for a new career: I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else.


Most influential book: The 5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell. This book has helped me so much.

Favorite cause: Parkinson’s research. My husband treats Parkinson’s patients and tremor patients with Deep Brain Stimulation and it is very rewarding to see their improved quality of life.

Favorite restaurant: Bread & Butterfly.

Favorite way to spend free time: Reading or relaxing with my family.

Favorite music: Christian Praise music – it keeps me positive and focused on where I need to be.

Voices of America: Women Entrepreneurs Issue Letter to Next US President


By: Tina Smith

Actress Jessica Alba is a supporter. So is the president and CEO of Mastercard. The co-founder of AOL and the CTO of Estee Lauder are also on board. What do they all have in common? They are among the 85 American business leaders and startup founders who have signed their names to an open letter addressed to the next U.S. president.

The letter outlines policy recommendations designed to drive and foster female entrepreneurship in the U.S., including increasing access to capital, expanding entry into local and global markets, and streamlining government processes for entrepreneurs seeking to get their businesses up and running.

According to the group of signees, there is a great deal of money potentially at stake — $30 billion to be exact. The letter cites a McKinsey Global Institute study which found the United States’ GDP could rise by that amount if women and men contributed equally to entrepreneurship efforts. But gender inequalities in society and the workplace have reduced women’s clout and, as a result, their economic contributions.

“I always think about the venture funding gap, but there’s really a gap in the whole cycle,” said Elizabeth Gore, who spearheaded the letter and is an entrepreneur-in-residence at computer-maker Dell. “Women need bridge loans. They need payment cycles that are not 90 days. They need to be paid as sub-contractors within 30 days … so this notion of access to capital is much bigger than I actually perceived.”

The letter was sent November first to both Hillary Clinton and President-elect Donald Trump, a week before participants knew who would become the next president. Of the 85 signees, 63 are female CEOs and startup founders, including Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter, Melanie Whelan of SoulCycle and Sarah Kauss of S’well Bottle.

“We just had not seen … a lot of talk about job creation, small business and entrepreneurship, and that’s usually one of the biggest pillars of politicians, is who’s going to create the most jobs, who’s going to be best for business,” Gore said. “We thought there was a real opportunity to say, ‘Let’s do something to really boost the vernacular again about entrepreneurship, really look at women’s entrepreneurship as a huge opportunity.'”

Women-owned businesses contribute “significantly” to the country’s economy, according to a 2010 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The report found that between 1997 and 2007, the number of companies owned by women grew twice as fast — 44 percent — as those owned by men. These businesses also added roughly 500,000 jobs.

For Gore, the proof is in the pudding. “If [women] get access to capital, they outperform their male peers. … That is a good business bet, not just a social bet,” she said.

To date, there has not been an official response to the letter from either political party, but Gore remains optimistic.

“In February, we’ll be heading to Washington, D.C., with some of the letter signatories to speak with policymakers on Capitol Hill and explain why it’s critical for our country and the economy to be prioritizing the success of women entrepreneurs,” she said.

Fast Company: Is the media partly to blame for the CEO gender gap?

By: Jared Lindzon

The CEO gender gap is very gradually closing at major public companies, but the way in which the media covers female CEOs may not help speed it up.

According to a recent study by the Rockefeller Foundation, articles about female CEOs are more likely to mention gender, discuss their personal life, and place the brunt of the blame on them during times of crises.

49% of articles written about female CEOs mention gender, compared with only 4% of articles written about male CEOs.

The small study analyzed 100 news articles from 37 top-tier media outlets that covered 20 Fortune 1000 and major tech company CEOs. The reporting on these executives was observed in four scenarios: when they were hired, stepped down, retired, or were involved in a crisis. The study also utilized IBM Watson’s tone analyzer to measure the differences in language used when describing CEOs of different genders.

According to the report, 16% of the articles that covered female CEOs mentioned their personal life and discussed their family 78% of the time. When male CEOs are in the news, however, only 8% of the coverage mentions their personal life, and none discuss their children or family. The focus instead was on their background, retirement plans, or social life. Furthermore, 49% of articles written about female CEOs mention gender, compared with only 4% of articles written about male CEOs.

Although it was a small sample of media coverage, the findings are significant, because the way in which CEOs are covered often has a direct impact on their success in office. A recent study by the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University found that female CEOs are more likely to be targeted by shareholder activism, which the study’s authors believe is directly impacted by the way in which they’re covered in the media.

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