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News & Blogs: 5 Questions

5 Questions with Antoinette Leatherberry

Tuesday, March 15, 2011  
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Principal, Strategy and Operations Practice
Deloitte Consulting LLP

"The power of NEW is building that sense of community.”

NEW Education Committee Chair Antoinette "Tonie” Leatherberry is a principal in the Strategy and Operations Practice at Deloitte Consulting LLP. She is the chairperson of the firm’s diversity and inclusion committee, a national initiative dedicated to improving organizational strength by recognizing diverse individual perspectives and providing equitable advancement opportunities for all. She has fostered strategic relationships with organizations such as the National Black MBA Association, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, the League of Black Women and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Among her many honors, Leatherberry was nominated for Computerworld Magazine’s Premier 100 IT Leader award, recognized as a Top 100 Under 50 Leader by Diversity MBA Magazine and was named one of Pennsylvania’s Top 50 Women in Business. Last year, she was named one of Savoy magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.

How would you characterize the role of the Network’s educational programming and its value to members, sponsors and the industry?

I’m excited about the mixed set of services that deliver many educational components. It’s not one size fits all. Through the Multicultural Workforce Conference, Executive Leadership Forum, the Leadership Summit and all of our regional activities, we are directly reaching so many NEW members and their organizations. Each educational component brings something unique. Each activity is targeted to the specific audience and its needs. Ultimately, I think that is the real value.

Participation in the Network's three national events continues to grow. What does this reflect?

I’ve been involved in many business and leadership development organizations, but NEW is very special. The combination of learning general good leadership practices with the exposure a member gets to the executives of the participating cpg/retail companies brings a specialized relevance to the individual who is trying to figure out a personal path to growth and career advancement. Then, those who attend share their unique experience with others. We have active participation from members and leaders at industry organizations who are telling us what their people need -- what is relevant and what their priorities are. This shapes every event and is integral to their success. We’ve very progressive with trends and are constantly reinventing and making sure the Network delivers high quality, relevant programs. Also, the natural networking that occurs is something people look forward to.

What are the Network’s plans for virtual learning?

There are always opportunities to deliver educational programs virtually and we need to consider those. But we can’t lose sight of our rich regional community and all of the local activities. I think there is a compromise, sometimes, with virtual learning -- it lacks the opportunity to network and bond. We need to look specifically at what we can deliver virtually and ensure we can accomplish our education goals in that format while keeping in mind the importance of other types of engagement. If we leverage virtual learning through regional models, we won’t comprise the power of NEW, which is building that sense of community.

How domembers and sponsors see a return ontheir support of and participation in NEW educational programming?

They see quantitative results: People are getting new opportunities and advancing in the industry. We can see the relationship between those opportunities and way NEW educational programming facilitates them. Also, members get exposure and access to their organization’s leadership in our educational forums they may not normally have day to day. One more way members see ROI is when our less experienced, younger or emerging leaders are taking responsibility on regional committees, which reinforces their leadership skills, their relationship skills and their ability to influence.

What direct business benefits do members and sponsors realize through NEW?

There is some natural business development through relationships built through NEW. But another benefit is the cross-pollination and knowledge-sharing that occurs. It’s almost like a leap-frog effect: Someone says something in an educational setting that is foundational. Another person takes that thought and enhances it and makes it better. Also, members and sponsors have access to people they might not normally have, in a different setting. Our sponsors are getting up-close looks at their employees and potential employees.

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