Becoming “Leaderly”: 5 Leadership Lessons from Charlotte Beers


Charlotte Beers broke the glass ceiling before we knew there was one. As former Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy and Mather and appointed by Colin Powell as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Charlotte is one of the most successful women in the world. (You can meet Charlotte and hear her wisdom at the Midwest Invent Your Future Conference June 19 by registering at that her biggest failure in life has been retirement, Charlotte now spends her time helping women break through barriers, many of which Charlotte believes are self-imposed.  It’s a process she describes as “becoming leaderly.”  Here are five lessons from Charlotte Beers that can help any woman unleash the leader within:

Forget The Glass Ceiling: Leadership Lessons from the White House to the Corporate Board Room with Betsy Myers

Betsy Myers has served two Presidents.  As a senior adviser on women’s issues under President Bill Clinton and Chief Operating Officer for President Barack Obama’s campaign, Betsy has experienced leadership at the highest levels. In her latest book, Take The Lead Betsy says that her curiosity has framed her leadership efforts.  Questions such as: Why is it that some people challenge us and motivate us to rise to our best abilities, while others seem to drain our energy and spirit? What is that particular quality people have that causes others around them to fully engage and feel connected?


The ‘Happy’ Leader: Want profit, high employee morale and loyal customers? Find a way to get happy!

The virtue of happiness is usually relegated to the self-help industry.  Yet, compelling research shows leaders need to get serious about their own happiness as the emotion greatly influences business.

Happy people earn larger incomes and are more productive at work. Yet happiness is not the byproduct but actually may be the cause for success, according to research conducted by Sonja Lyubomirsky at the University of California-Davis. A positive outlook on life and inner happiness appears to precede good fortune.

How Storytelling Leaders Create Customer Engagement

Stories are and always have been a powerful medium, a dramatic and compelling way for people to pass along experiences.  Stories make facts, or at least our perceptions of them, come alive. Stories such as when someone in our network describes in exacting detail the service she received at a restaurant or with a bank, often makes us want to try the service  or stay far away from the provider. The power of the customer told and re-told story can spread like wildfire via 140 characters on twitter, a viral video on YouTube or the click of a mouse to launch a campaign for or against a brand or a business.

How Corporate Caste Systems Kill Innovation and What Leaders Can Do About it

In way too many organizations employees are given the not so subtle message that they should know their place. For all the talk and money spent on innovation and employee engagement, too many employees learn early and often that bucking the system or thinking a little too different can be career limiting. Expected to learn our roles quickly and not venture too far into someone else’s turf feeds an environment that kills the very factors that create innovation and engagement.

Illustration by John Grimes

The Female Leadership Experience: 7 Ways Corporate Cultures Need To Change In Order To Retain Women Leaders

Trading a college campus for corporate life where women were told in less than subtle ways that the ticket to success was to emulate men, I struggled. It should never have happened to me.  Highly intelligent, strong (and some famous) trail blazer women mentored me. Educated, smart, mentored, sponsored, ambitious and fully in control (I thought) of my career and life, I was poised to take my place in corporate America. In a matter of months I lost my ability to think like a girl.