The Heroes of My Career

The Heroes of My Career

Amazing Women Leaders are Top Difference Makers

The current CEO of my life is Angie Bratton, my wife of 30 years. The original leader of my life, my wonderful mother Darcy, raised my five siblings and I after my father passed when I was one year old. In addition to both, I’ve recently reflected on the tremendous gifts I have received from the many influential leaders of my business career.  From Gillette to Clorox to Jordan to Technicolor, work in Private Equity and here at Medallion Partners, I’ve been given so much from so many.  What has always been unique in my career are the amazing female leaders I’ve encountered and the common elements that help me to this day.

Medallion Partners is again sponsoring the Integrating Women Leaders Conference this summer with a mission to accelerate the advancement of women to drive individual and organizational growth and impact.  This work is very important to our team in challenging and encouraging greater diversity and inclusion. To date we place diverse executives at 2X the national average with over 50% of executives placed being diverse.  Our methods and processes not only encourage proper evaluation of the whole person, but we offer the most innovative post-hire assimilation program, 365Assimilation, to guarantee the success of diverse talent a year after hire.  We are attending IWL conference to continue to learn and grow in serving as Allies and Advocates.

As part of my reflection in personal development and legacy impact, I made a list of people who greatly impacted my career life.  Whose legacy have I received? More than half of the leaders who gave me the most from the early days to today, are women. Perhaps I didn’t recognize this at the time.  It was just another incredible ally or advocate for me, who happened to be a woman.   However, as I have become a leader myself and continue to learn the unique dynamics of being a female leader in the corporate world, the following three unique features of these phenomenal heroes of my career have come to light.


1. Deep Commitment to the Mission

As a young manager at Gillette fresh off the train from Kansas City, living in Boston and working on the biggest launch in the company’s history, I was in over my head.  The people at Gillette were some of the smartest and most accomplished in the industry.  Michelle, Jill, Nicola, Kerry, Julie, Moira, Pam, Vimla, Deanna, Laureen, Amy, Tracy and many more gave me a lesson in intelligence, drive and commitment.  The lesson wasn’t about what I knew up to that point.  It was a lesson of deep commitment to success, and doing the work the right way.  The best ideas win, not the politically expedient.  Hear all the voices, not just the one at the end of the table.  Force yourself into the real detailed work to build plans, not pretending to show off for the bosses. These leaders didn’t have the upper hand of authority; they used the power of their ideas and determination to maximize the outcome for what became the most successful & innovative product launch process in the industry to date.


2. Intense Focus

I have had many very successful direct bosses who are women.  At Gillette, Clorox, and Technicolor, they all taught me about intense focus.  There were no wasted motions or efforts.  They possessed the boldness to challenge existing paradigms and solve through difficulty as each of them had many professional and personal conflicts that were not always understood by men on each side of their equation.  Everyone had value and were challenged to meet the mission, right now.  Meg, Beth, and Lisa were always “game on” and created an urgency that became the momentum of our companies.


3. Strategic Reality

Too many times, the need to survive or make the number challenges companies to make the “easy” call to win short-term while causing longer term business problems.  The strategic reality brought by my women colleagues and leaders is both deep and intense.  A keener emotional intelligence matched with strategic perspective that is not emboldened by “me first” has been a consistent theme behind the best plans developed with executive women leaders the table.  I have worked with “bro” culture too many times and literally said out loud – “you guys need a woman at this table right now.”   No matter the technical or industrial arena I have worked, the weakness of non-diverse leadership teams is apparent.


The current reality for most companies is that they do not know how to treat the human as the holistic individual that doesn’t just fit into their corporate need.  This results in a lost connection, lost confidence, and lack of empathy for high potential leaders from all diverse backgrounds.  My Medallion team and I are committed to serving as allies and advocates for every diverse talent to meet their highest potential as my amazing career heroes did for me.

Tom Bratton

CEO Medallion Partners