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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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Chapter of the Month: What Community Engagement Looks Like at University of Louisville NAWMBA

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Thursday, July 13, 2017

Elena Shulgina, the president of our University of Louisville chapter, understands the requirements and benefits of community engagement. She is the daughter of a Russian scientist who migrated to the United States and built a business in Louisville dedicated to creating processes that minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances. Elena’s goal as Business Development Manager in her family-owned business is to bring their family business of environment restoration to a global scale.

She is taking on leadership at the University of Louisville chapter which was only begun two years ago, but has gained a significant presence not only across the University campus, but also throughout the community. Most educational relationships within the community tend to be “transactional,” but the University of Louisville NAWMBA chapter is figuring out that it is possible to move beyond “transactional” mode into a deeper, more meaningful engagement.

In response, many of their meetings, including their new series of monthly “roundtable discussions,” are being brought off of campus and into the community. Last month, for example, their discussion series was brought to Sunday brunch at a Louisville hotspot, The Hub. The June roundtable speaker, Theresa Reno-Weber, is the President and CEO of Metro United Way and brought practical insight into the importance of being a committed part of the Louisville community. It was so practical that she brought her own vision board! Other topics have included how to manage a work/life balance and female business leaders’ personal experiences in mentoring and leadership. They have become so popular that often even faculty and speakers’ employees attend.

The U of L chapter also values its’ partnerships with other civic, business, non-profit, and NGO organizations with which members engage but also volunteer. On campus they have developed leadership forums where their college of business board of women hold a Q&A session, engaging students, faculty, and sometimes Louisville community members! Off campus, they are partners with organizations such as the art museum where NAWMBA members volunteer in planning events and host speakers from the museum in topics such as museum management.

For the University of Louisville chapter, community engagement is pushing their boundaries beyond the ivory tower and building partnerships rather than transactions. There are many ways that communities can support education on a deep and meaningful level, but it’s not always apparent to leaders in the community how they can get involved. But when organizations like NAWMBA create spaces that are engaging for the entire community, they become advocates for each other.

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Tags:  business  leadership  Louisville  mba  NAWMBA  womeninbusiness  womenmba 

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