The World Needs More Heroes. The Right Ones Will Energize Your Career.

The World Needs More Heroes. The Right Ones Will Energize Your 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 mother Darcy, raised my five siblings and me after my father passed when I was just a year old. In addition, I’ve recently reflected on the gifts I have received from the many influential leaders of my business career. 

From Gillette to Clorox to Jordan to Technicolor, Private Equity, and here at Medallion Partners, I’ve been given so much from so many. In particular, the exceptional female leaders I’ve encountered have been formative to my career. 

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. We are attending the IWL conference to continue to learn and grow in serving as Allies and Advocates. 

This work is vital 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 encourage proper evaluation of the whole person. We also offer the most innovative post-hire assimilation program, 365Assimilation, to guarantee the success of diverse talent a year after hire. 

As part of my reflection on personal development and legacy impact, I listed people who significantly impacted my career. 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. That leader was just another incredible ally or advocate for me–and she happened to be a woman. However, as I have become a leader and have come to understand the unique dynamics of being a female leader in the corporate world, the following three distinctive 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 realized I was 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 taught me 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. Still, they used the power of their ideas and determination to maximize the outcome of 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. Their professional and personal lives sometimes had competing interests, and the men they worked with didn’t always understand that. Because my heroes needed both parts of their lives to thrive, they possessed the boldness to challenge existing paradigms and simplify complexity. Everyone had value and needed to play their role in meeting the mission. Meg, Beth, and Lisa were always “game on” and created an urgency that became the momentum of our companies.

3. Strategic Reality

Too often, the need to survive or hit the goal challenges companies to make the “easy” call to win short-term, which can cause longer-term business problems. The strategic reality brought by my women colleagues and leaders is both substantial. Women often possess a keener emotional intelligence, matched with a strategic perspective that is not encouraged by a corporate culture focused on quick wins. I have worked with “bro” culture too many times and have said out loud – “you guys need a woman at this table right now.” No matter the technical or industrial arena I have worked in, the weakness of non-diverse leadership teams is apparent. When female executives are at the table, the entire group makes better decisions and plans. 

The current reality for most companies is that they do not know how to treat the person as the holistic individual. They aren’t used to seeing people in a way that doesn’t simply fit into their corporate needs. This oversight results in lost connection, lost confidence, and lack of empathy for high potential leaders from all diverse backgrounds. The women I’ve encountered in my life have shaped who I am and energized my career. Because of that, at Medallion, my team and I are committed to serving as allies and advocates for every diverse talent to meet their highest potential. 

Tom Bratton

CEO Medallion Partners