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Executive Presence?

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Executive Presence Matters?

By Vivian Hairston Blade

Patricia was considering the candidates from the final round of interviews for her open senior manager position. She asked Ron, her Human Resources partner, to review the applicants with her as she made her final decision.  Both candidates were well qualified with the skills and experience needed for the role, and had a track record of execution. But, the success of this person was largely going to depend on their ability to gain respect, trust, and influence.  As they discussed Shannon’s fit for the job, Patricia expressed her concerns. “Shannon certainly has the credentials for this role, but I don’t think she has the executive presence necessary to drive our strategic priorities.”  Ron tended to agree with her.  “Yes, I know. Something about her makes me feel she’s just not strong enough for this senior level position.” Though Patricia and Ron agreed on this gut feeling, they couldn’t exactly put their finger on why they felt that way.

“Executive presence” is a commonly used, yet nebulous term. Executive presence often is thought of as just your ‘presence’, or the way you carry yourself.  But it’s so much more.  People often use it without being able to articulate exactly what it really means or how to fix it. It’s so challenging to describe executive presence because it’s not a single dimension.

What is Executive Presence?

Executive presence is a combination of demonstrable outcomes and soft skills that come together to comprise your complete package.  Executive presence is the leadership or executive level capacity others see in you.  It is your package of business savvy, relationship savvy, and professional style.  Even if you are an emerging leader, others can sense your executive presence capability.

Executive Presence is comprised of four key dimensions:

·         Business Intelligence – Your application of business & industry knowledge in your work.

·         Business Impact – Your track record of impact on company growth and key priorities.

·         RelationshipsYour ability to build strategic relationships & influence others.

·         Reputation - Your personal brand around your outcomes, leadership style, and professionalism.


Why Executive Presence Matters

When the combination of these four dimensions are strong, your executive presence will be identified as strong. You also will feel confident, and be seen as both confident and competent. Leaders are expected to be well-rounded in their business acumen, meaningful contributions to business outcomes, and leadership skill.  Your executive presence shows your ability to fit the character of these expectations at successive levels in your career.  

Executive presence is critical in the success of your career.  The impressions you leave can directly impact your ability to move up in the organization, or to be trusted with important responsibilities. It impacts your ability to earn Invited Reach, where leaders reach out on your behalf as advocates and sponsors to make opportunities available to you.

Who can you think of that has strong executive presence. What are the characteristics that give you that impression?  How do you believe executive presence may have impacted their success?

Like your technical skills, executive presence is a skill that takes work, practice and commitment. Your executive presence will be evaluated. Make sure it’s on your list of things to work on. 

Attend my session at the NAWMBA East Region Symposium for insights on what’s missing in your executive presence, and for tips on making significant improvements. Register by going to 

Tags:  Business  Kentucky  leadership  Louisville  mba  MBA Women  NAWMBA  personal branding  Professionals  WomeninBusiness 

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Bossing the Boss! – (Managing Up for Better Relationships at All Levels)

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Thursday, January 25, 2018

Bossing the Boss! – (Managing Up for Better Relationships at All Levels)

by Margaret Johnson

Most of us, no matter what environment we work in, have some type of boss. If you are a supervisor you may tend to focus on the people that work for you and managing the process. If you aren't a supervisor/manager, you might focus on your work and keeping the boss informed. But do you consider the part of your job called managing up? 

It is consciously working with your boss to create the best results for you, your boss and the organization. If we don't manage the boss or if we do manage the boss - we are taking a risk. 

Managing up entails really understanding yourself and your boss as far as strengths, weaknesses, work styles, expectations and needs and developing a healthy relationship that effectively works with this information.

How can you do this? I suggest you start by having a conversation with your boss and discuss their goals, problems, pressures, strengths and weaknesses and needs. It’s never too late to start if you aren’t having them already. Test out your assumptions by observation and asking. Pay attention to clues you get from the boss' behavior on what is right and wrong and make adjustments. And don't just have one conversation - occasionally reconnect to reconfirm. 

Easier said than done? Yes. Depending on your boss, it can be stressful to even think about having a conversation around this. But consider what will happen if you don't and how much better work would be if you had this understanding of your immediate supervisor or others above him or her.

When you are ready, make sure you discuss these things - 

  • clarify expectations

  • identify personality and work styles 

  • how and what information needs to be shared

  • what your strengths are and how can you use each other’s in the best way

Work with it - don't fight it!

Be brave. Take the risk and get to know your boss and their expectations. It will make your work life so much easier.

But wait! What if your boss is less than ideal? 

  • Understand the incompetence and ask others for advice on handling him or her.

  • Focus on how you can fill their gaps.

  • Be very careful about ratting anyone out to higher-ups - consider office politics as you handle the situation

  • Remember to take care of yourself and your health.  Indulge in self-care to reduce stress and focus on what you need. 

  • Try a little empathy, set boundaries and focus on the broader good. 

Need help managing relationships with higher-ups? Join me, Margaret A Johnson, at my Managing Up lunchtime keynote session for assumption busting around managing up and tips to make the best of these relationships. You can register here to join me in Louisville, KY on February 22nd!

Tags:  Business  Career  Kentucky  leadership  Louisville  management  MBA Women  NAWMBA  women  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA 

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Louisville Professional Chapter: Reshaping the Artist as Entrepreneur

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Bluegrass State is experiencing an economic boom and our NAWMBA Chapter is sticking close to its’ roots of personalized informality. But don’t let the informality fool you. Louisville’s chapter president, Jill Morzillo, is an excellent example of what our Louisville chapter represents; artistic openness mixed with the detail and creative drive of the 21st century entrepreneur.

Artisan Beginnings

Jill’s background is an interesting one because she started out in art. She began as a crafty child and her parents bought her first set of pliers when she was 12 so that she could make jewelry. Five years later she received a full scholarship to Murray State University where she developed in metalsmithing, graduating with an art degree. She pointed out, “There is that starving artist mentality, but I found that with my jewelry there was a business opportunity.” She started apprenticing with a jeweler immediately after college, but wanted to develop her own line. She began almost immediately and pursued her passion by running her own artisan jewelry business for 8 years while also working full time at another job.  She took additional classes and workshops along the way to develop her skills. She entered into the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program that fosters the development of full time artists living in the Commonwealth. They provide artists with tools to develop their craft into creative ventures selling in shops and stores nationwide. But with the zenith of internet shopping, YouTube tutorials, and big box craft stores carrying jewelry-making supplies, the DIY culture started devaluing artisans and has created a dearth of handcrafted jewelry available to consumers.

“A customer may love an artist’s work, but they can find something similar that is created by a machine, and at a cheaper price. The most money I ever made in a whole year was $11,000. And it was hard much work that when I had my son and had to take a break, I felt like I had all of the time in the world! How many new moms say that?! But I was working so much to create my pieces, travel for craft shows, and market myself. In addition, I was working another job full time that was a stressful work environment. So when I finally had time to reflect while on maternity leave, I thought a lot about the future and the direction I was going. That’s when I decided that I had to do something else. I read the book, 48 Days to the Work You Love, and decided that if I was going to find a job that I loved that I was going to have to make a plan. I researched many job descriptions on the internet, looked at what types of degrees and skill sets they were looking for, and made a spreadsheet centered around the pros and cons of each and what each one would cost. My son was 10 months old when I started back to school. I went to school one class at a time and it took me 3.5 years to get my MBA, but I got it done.”

Build a Network of Support

Just after starting back to school, Jill got involved in the Louisville chapter of NAWMBA. She was a student and saw an ad in Louisville Business First (which she was recently featured in as “People on the Move”) and showed up to a meeting. “I didn’t usually do that sort of thing, but I immediately connected with two other people who are now among my best friends. I received a lot of support from the other members as I was getting through school. I would come to an event and report that I had six classes left, then only 5 classes left, etc. The speakers and discussions focused on topics that were really useful for me. Maybe they were common sense to others, but I needed some of those skills because I had been working in smaller companies with very little career mobility. Our chapter president was Heather Howell and our chapter was huge. A year or two earlier, they had brought the national conference to Louisville. I’ve tried to continue that leadership in an informal atmosphere. Our chapter is very laid back and we talk about all types of things in addition to professional development because women’s work is holistic and everybody is willing to help each other and share advice. This is very helpful for students and new professionals especially. It’s an informal, group mentoring aspect.”

Get Off Track and Forge a New Trail

Jill has made a big move as she transferred her artistic training and running her own business into various jobs including administrative support, human resources, and finally into a job that encompasses her entire skillset. She is now a research coordinator at CBRE Group, Inc. the world’s largest real estate services and investment firm. Jill is leading market research and analysis focused on the real estate market in her home of Louisville -- how market views on office, industrial, and retail space are changing, the trends, and the data behind those trends. This is an especially exciting time to be doing that work because Louisville is experiencing a ‘bourbonism’ that is putting it on the map! There’s over $500 million being spent on the infrastructure and the city has become an influential hub that extends far beyond the racetracks. Jill is especially interested in how this has affected the development of hotels. “I started tracking those [hotel] developments and my colleague and I charted them in an interactive map with supporting data. We found that bourbon distilleries are creating entire bourbon experiences that have helped fuel the tourism industry in the city. Developers are taking many of the historic buildings and turning them into museums, hotels, and tours as a direct result of this ‘bourbonism.’ Maybe it’s not the time for artisan jewelers, but seeing the development inspires me because it is certainly the time for the craft of bourbon. Bourbon takes a long time to age (10-15 years) and it’s an incredibly involved process. The experience isn’t something that you can have on the internet...yet. So the market for personalized experience and appreciation for craft is still there.”

The craft has also taken the economic development of the city by storm. In the last three years Louisville has invested millions into infrastructure and built a stabilized consumer base that has brought the economy out of recession. Our Louisville NAWMBA chapter recently hosted the city’s economic development chief to speak about the impact of leadership of Louisville, a topic upon which our members know intimately as they help shape the future of the city.

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Tags:  Kentucky  leadership  Louisville  NAWMBA  WomeninBusiness  womenMBA 

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