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Male execs offer views on women leaders in Chicago

Friday, May 9, 2014  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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Five male senior executives offered their perspectives on women’s leadership at the NEW Chicago learning event, May 8, 2014. More than 200 NEW members attended the event at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg.

Markell Bridges, director of information systems at Mondelēz International; Andy Callahan, president of retail at Hillshire Brands; Luke Emery, vice president, Chicagoland Market for The Coca-Cola Company; Ralph Kindred, enterprise strategy and architecture at Microsoft; and Todd Morris, president, North America at Catalina shared their experiences and offered advice to emerging leaders. Teri List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Kraft Foods Group Inc., moderated the discussion.

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Success will come through authenticity, potential and purpose, NEW members were told. Be yourself, give your best every day to reach your potential, and determine what your purpose is and live it.

"Take people some place they can’t go on their own,” advised Bridges, who recommended NEW members read Give and Take by Adam Grant. Courage and generosity, he said, are leadership essentials.

"Be bold and humble — it’s okay if some feelings get hurt,” Emery added. Don’t avoid speaking up because you are worried what someone else will think. Women leaders, he said, "must take a stand [and] set the tone to empower women.”

Recognizing that men may hold back in their responses to women leaders, Morris urged women to "ask the tough questions so you make it easy to get the feedback.” Men, he said, need to lean in and listen. Guys don’t always listen. [We need to] make it comfortable for women to share.”

Callahan encouraged NEW members to actively seek a mentor or sponsors. "You own your own development,” he said. "Get busy yourself. If you are sitting around waiting for a sponsor and they actually show up in your office, you are lucky if that happens.”

Organizations may not know they present barriers to women’s success, Morris noted. "Raise your hand. Help them understand how to balance things. Be the change.”

Companies sending large groups to the event include Catalina, The Coca-Cola Company, Hillshire Brands, Kraft Foods Group Inc., Sears Holdings Corporation and Topco Associates.

Moderator Teri List-Stoll joins panelists Markel Bridges, Todd Morris,
Ralph Kindred, Andy Callahan and Luke Emery.

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