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Change Leadership Watch
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SBA's Maria Contreras-Sweet knows entrepreneurship

SBA's Maria Contreras-Sweet knows entrepreneurship | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

Contreras-Sweet is working to transform the SBA from a bureaucratic agency criticized for confusing loan programs into a modern, nimble resource for American entrepreneurs. 


________________________
   
“I was the blind leading myself through....I wish that I understood that I had counselors available to me.”  Maria Contreras-Sweet, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration

________________________



Contreras-Sweet:

  • Came to the U.S. from Guadalajara, Mexico, at age 5
   
  • Rose through the corporate ranks at the 7UP/RC Bottling Co. to become a vice president
    
  • Helped found Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, a non-profit promoting political and economic opportunities for Latinas
    
  • Became the first Latina in a California state cabinet position as secretary of business, transportation and housing in 1999
    
  • Founded of Contreras Sweet Enterprises, a consulting company

      

  • Founded Fortius Holdings LLC, a venture capital firm, and 
     
  • Founded ProAmerica Bank


Her work in the SBA

Since taking office in April 2014, Contreras-Sweet has:

  • Focused on improving small-business owners’ access to capital — one of the primary challenges entrepreneurs face
    
  • Extended a pre-existing policy that eliminates fees for SBA-guaranteed loans of $150,000 or less
    
  • Introduced LINC, an online matchmaking tool that pledges to connect businesses with SBA lenders within 48 hours, as well as SBA One, an automated lending platform that will roll out later in 2015. LINC and SBA One aim to increase the total number of SBA-guaranteed loans by making lenders easier to access and loan processing more efficient.
      

Contreras-Sweet says many businesses fail because they don’t get counseling.    ....much of her knowledge was built through trial and error as she started her own businesses. ....“I was the blind leading myself through this process,” she says. “I wish that I understood that I had counselors available to me.”

Related posts by Deb on Entrepreneurs, Leadership and Women in Business:

    

     

   

     

 

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

It's takes long hours, and a network (a village) to be a successful small business owner.  This successful business entrepreneur, leader, immigrant, mother and Latina provides a perspective on the important of resources at all levels to support business success, including the support of her family.  ~  D

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Not Many Women Are Rising to the Top. Women Executives Seize the Day to Change That.

Not Many Women Are Rising to the Top. Women Executives Seize the Day to Change That. | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

New research show how these top executives have taken charge of their careers.

     

It’s the responsibility of management to tackle gender diversity..[and]… evidence suggests that our leaders aren’t doing a very good job of it, at least not yet.


________________
 

[T]here’s no reason for an ambitious woman to sit on the sidelines and wait for her boss to get with the program. 

________________

     

Women still represent less than 5% of CEOs around the globe, and they remain seriously underrepresented in other top management positions and on executive boards.

     

[T]here’s no reason for an ambitious woman to sit on the sidelines and wait for her boss to get with the program.  … Lauren Ready concluded [this] from a study she did here at the International Consortium for Executive Development Research, in which she interviewed 60 top female executives from around the world to learn how they rose to the top.

   

For one, these executives take the time to explore what they want out of work and life [photo, chart.]

One byproduct…they pay special attention to how they might fit within a company’s culture.

    

This finding is consistent with research from Harvard professor Boris Groysberg, who’s found that while the performance of male stars falters when they switch companies, women continue to excel, in part because they’ve done their homework when it comes to fit.

   

The women in Ready’s study also understand the limits of fit. They aren’t “one of the guys” and they don’t try to be.


Related tools & posts by Deb:

      

  • Stay in touch with Best of the Best news, taken from Deb's  NINE multi-gold award winning curation streams from @Deb Nystrom, REVELN delivered once a month via email, available for free here,via REVELN Tools.
    
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

It's still a man's world in the executive ranks, even in the college town where I live, the land of start-ups, women sparsely populate the fast growing, entrepreneurial executive ranks.  


It is also good to reach that the qualities listed in Ready's research among high-achieving women includes the urge to bring other women along with them.   It's a way ambitious women can "lean it" with a little help from her friends in high places, for the savvy reason that the executives "view [it] as a way to raise their companies’ market value, by boosting the presence of women in senior roles and in boardrooms."  


This brings hope that leadership will someday represent the world, rather than tradition and history in the leadership ranks.  ~  D 

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Keaton Toscano's curator insight, April 14, 2014 1:02 AM

There is sexism in the workplace, and I'll do my best to keep it out of my future classroom. I think that feminism has the potential to be taken overboard, by way of radicals, and that a 'humanism' is a better approach. Equality is obviously better than some of the superiority complexes associated with oppression ideologies gone awry; something I hope doesn't happen to feminism in the coming years as we combat this women-don't-riseto-the-top trend.

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Harvard B-School Dean offers Unusual Apology to Female Students & Professors

Harvard B-School Dean offers Unusual Apology to Female Students & Professors | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it
Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria publicly apologized for the school's treatment of female students and professors and vowed to make changes at the school.




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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The New York Times has profiled, in depth, the experiment to change the culture & climate at Harvard's Business School, culminating with a female Baker's Scholar graduation speech not to be missed.   This sets a remarkable precedent in the year 2014.  ~  D

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Will the Girl Scouts Miss Out on the Change Leadership Badge?

Will the Girl Scouts Miss Out on the Change Leadership Badge? | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

The Girl Scouts, that 101-year-old wholesome institution that boosts our young girls into women leaders, is struggling to change and remain relevant when the world around them is shifting from campfires to tablets.


...there have been fewer volunteer troop leaders and fewer young girls expressing interest in the organization, all of which has contributed to a 20% drop in membership in the past 10 years.


[There is] a creeping budget shortfall, which was addressed with layoffs and early retirements and additional debt from funding retirement packages...


...new CEO Anna Maria Chávez's first moves in the job were to trim senior leadership and launch new programs while simultaneously increasing the financial outlook of the Girl Scouts.


Some see her as infusing new life into an aged institution.


[However]


Reports from employees cite a culture of fear, and anonymous letters and rumors contributed to this labeling Chávez as the “Cookie Monster.”


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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Can they get beyond the cookies & deal with non-sustainable palm oil?  Will the Girl Scouts become a cautionary tale of institutionalism and rigid culture or turnaround reinvention?  A Kotter consultant weighs in with the case study in progress example of this change leader challege. ~  D

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University of Virginia Crisis Reflects Wider Leadership Conflicts

University of Virginia Crisis Reflects Wider Leadership Conflicts | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it
Conflict over governing the University of Virginia has become a proxy war in a much larger struggle over control of the nation’s public universities.


_____________________

“...these are very stressful times to be running a university,”
~ M. Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

_____________________

Around the country, waning state support, rising tuition and the competitive threat of online education have raised fears about the future of public universities.

Trustees and politicians in several states have increasingly flexed their muscles to influence university operations, leading to turf battles with presidents and chancellors who are largely used to having their way.


“In any sector that’s in the middle of stress and change, the relationships between C.E.O.’s and their boards gets more complicated, and these are very stressful times to be running a university,” said M. Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, who has held several high-level posts in business, government and academia, including president of Michigan State University and chairman of Dow Jones & Company.


He said board members who are executives in their own right are tempted, especially in challenging times, to shift from overseeing to hands-on managing.


Related posts by Deb:




Via Keith Hampson PhD
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This seems to be another sign of the deepening malaise in higher education~ the higher education bubble. Stress at the top may reflect stress all around in higher ed.


In my own circles, there is persistent unhappiness among many I know connected to the university system.  ~ D

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Yahoo's Marissa Mayer Is No Fool

Yahoo's Marissa Mayer Is No Fool | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

"Like any good leader, she knows who creates real value, and how, in her company." She's seen and is acting on the performance results.

___________________

...she was predisposed to consider physical (co)presence as essential to digital innovation success...

___________________


Blog author Michael Schrage says,


"Mayer's Google background (and impact) suggested that she was predisposed to consider physical (co)presence as essential to digital innovation success as computational/design brilliance.


…the Googleplex for its employees wasn't health food benevolence, it was to keep people on campus working together."

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This is an opposing view to the last ScoopIt post.    Seven (7) months is still a short term view in light of this HBR blogger's view that Ms. Mayer is on the right track.


Previous culture can also be a blind spot.  One culture's success does not always paste onto another's key needs.

Change colleague Liz Guthridge, who specializes in change communication, suggests that leaders Avoid “taser” asks to get others to act, referencing Mayer's style of communicating the change.  I tend to agree with Liz.  Yet, there are bigger issues than communication mistakes.    


Time will tell.  ~ Deb

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“Double Down” Women, Leaders & Careers, Kudos and Ire » You Can't Have it All?

“Double Down” Women, Leaders & Careers, Kudos and Ire » You Can't Have it All? | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

"The executive work/life dilemma for women and men includes Steve Jobs' contributions while seriously ill - a provocative thought piece by the Glass Hammer."


Change leaders are culture leaders.  The American leader work ethic for women and men is featured here, in controversy about growing leaders, both women and men. It's a long term, evolving change & leadership issue with shifting impact for both genders.  ~  Deb


Excerpts:  


There’s increasing polarization on the subject of how to handle work-life’s ever-escalating challenges for women.

   

___________________________

   

“Work-life balance is not some nice idea that isn’t achievable or important. It is important to all of us for sustainable mental and physical health & well-being. The key word is sustainable.”

___________________________


The friction is visible in the varied media responses to news that incoming Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will be the first female CEO to take the top spot while pregnant, and to Anne-Marie Slaughter’s controversial cover story for The Atlantic, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.


Part of the dilemma revolves around a concept coined by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO: “leaning in” versus “leaning back.”

Sandberg describes how failing to “lean in” inadvertently leads many women to leave the workforce:

  • “Women almost never make one decision to leave the workforce,” said Sandberg. ...Maybe it’s the last year of med school when they say, I’ll take a slightly less interesting specialty because I’m going to want more balance one day. Maybe it’s the fifth year in a law firm when they say, I’m not even sure I should go for partner, because I know I’m going to want kids eventually. ...And from that moment, they start quietly leaning back. The problem is, often they don’t even realize it.”
   
  • “During the last years of his life, [Steve Jobs] created the iPhone, the iPad, he was moving into television.  ...He was very sick...in the last years of life when he didn’t have time.”

  

“Work-life balance is not some nice idea that isn’t achievable or important. It is important to all of us for sustainable mental and physical health and well-being. The key word is sustainable, ” says Teri Johnson.  


She suggests the analogy a long distance runner versus a relay racer.


  • “Any of us can push hard in a relay, but the distance runner knows to pace herself, to make rest days as important as training days and to take excellent care of herself to avoid injury. She saves the real push for the race, when it is important.”

   

Read the full post here.


Photo credit:  JD Hancock

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Women CEOs and the Glass Precipice: New Research on Why

Women CEOs and the Glass Precipice:  New Research on Why | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

Carly Fiorina, forced out. A MERE 5% of the chief executives of the world’s biggest companies are women. And they are more likely to be sacked than their more numerous male colleagues: 38% of the female CEOs who left their jobs over the past ten years were forced to go, compared with 27% of the men. 
     
In the Strategy& study, the clumsy new name for Booz & Company, 35% of female CEOs are hired from outside the company, compared with just 22% of male ones.

  • Outsiders generally have a higher chance of being kicked out, 
  • Generate lower returns to shareholders
  • Outsiders are less likely to have a support network of friends who can rally around when times get tough. 
         

Carly Fiorina, dropped as HP’s boss in 2005, made things worse by inviting such publicity. But the same is not true of, say, Ginni Rometty, the lower-profile boss of IBM (promoted from within the company in 2012), who is under fire over the firm’s performance.


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  • Stay in touch with Best of the Best news, taken from Deb's  NINE multi-gold award winning curation streams from @Deb Nystrom, REVELN delivered once a month via email, available for free here,via REVELN Tools.


                   

              


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The change leader implication, as described in the article, is the call to action on 1) developing the leadership pipeline for female future CEOs,  2) helping diminish raiding due to scarce supply, which tends to be counterproductive for women's careers anyway, and 3) increasing success by having more women available to promote from within.  ~ Deb


Also posted to Careers and Self-Aware Strength.

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, May 6, 2014 9:11 AM

This is a useful gender perspective on leadership development and, as the article concludes, a call to action on 1) developing the leadership pipeline for female future CEOs,  2) helping to prevent raiding because of scarce supply, (and it's counterproductive anyway, the research suggests) and 3) increasing success by having more women to promote from within.  ~  Deb

Tamkin Amin's curator insight, May 15, 2014 5:03 PM

hmmm... I find this interesting.

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Harvard Business School Case Study: Gender Equity, Women in the Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School Case Study: Gender Equity, Women in the Harvard Business School | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

An aggressive Gender Equity program intended to foster female success brought improvements, but also resentment and uncertainty.


___________________
   
Many Wall Street-hardened women confided that Harvard was worse than any trading floor...
   

___________________

      

     

Year after year, women who had arrived with the same test scores and grades as men fell behind at the country’s premier business training ground. Attracting and retaining female professors was a losing battle; from 2006 to 2007, a third of the female junior faculty left


     

Harvard Business School says it wants to improve the gender balance among faculty members, but it is far from that goal without extensive hiring.

    

Many Wall Street-hardened women confided that Harvard was worse than any trading floor, with first-year students divided into sections that took all their classes together and often developed the overheated dynamics of reality shows.


Some male students, many with finance backgrounds, commandeered classroom discussions and hazed female students and younger faculty members, and openly ruminated on whom they would “kill, sleep with or marry” (in cruder terms). Alcohol-soaked social events could be worse.

      

In 2010, Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s first female president, appointed a new dean who pledged to do far more than his predecessors to remake gender relations at the business school.

      

Dean Frances Frei, …a popular professor turned administrator who had become a target of student ire, was known for the word “unapologetic,” as in: we are unapologetic about the changes we are making.

       

By graduation, the school had become a markedly better place for female students, according to interviews with more than 70 professors, administrators and students…   Women at the school finally felt like, “ ‘Hey, people like me are an equal part of this institution,’ ” said Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a longtime professor.

    

…yet even the deans pointed out that the experiment had brought unintended consequences and brand new issues. The grade gap had vaporized so fast that no one could quite say how it had happened. The interventions had prompted some students to revolt, wearing “Unapologetic” T-shirts to lacerate Ms. Frei for what they called intrusive social engineering.


UPDATE:  See the 2014 apology by the current Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria here.



 

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

In the tradition of excellent storytelling, the Times ends this in-depth story with a graduation speech by a Ms. Boyarsky, “the classroom truth-teller” - winner of the a prized Baker Scholarship, usually held by mostly males.  

Her “witty, self-deprecating speech unlike any in the school’s memory” and provides a capstone ending to a remarkable and sobering story about women in business.


Baby, you’ve still got a long way to go.  (Paraphrase of old Virginia Slims cigarette ad.)

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Ready to Challenge Caution & Risk? Focus Limits Firms Owned by Women

Ready to Challenge Caution & Risk?  Focus Limits Firms Owned by Women | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

If women start more companies than men, why do so many more of those companies stay small? Caution, lack of the right kind of networks and a focus on income generation rather than wealth generation seem to be key factors.


Excerpts:

...economic conditions don't explain why woman-owned businesses, regardless of location, tend to grow more slowly and plateau sooner than those owned by men, said Jeff Bergeron, managing partner in Ernst & Young's Detroit office. 


_________________________________
 

...lack of access to capital is a primary hindrance to many woman-owned businesses.

_________________________________
 

...Paula Sorrell, managing director of entrepreneurial services for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., said lack of access to capital is a primary hindrance to many woman-owned businesses.

"Everybody is treated the same when they come to the state for assistance," she said. "Where there is a gap is in private equity funding for woman-owned businesses. Generally, this is because most private equity is run by men." 

However, the gap is starting to be at least partly addressed in Michigan, Sorrell said. 

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

There seems to be a line to be crossed by women-owned firms who want to size up to be successful.  There are layers of lessons here about risk, caution, structure, family and more.

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How Rejection Can Inspire Great Movements: The Story Of MAKERS

How Rejection Can Inspire Great Movements: The Story Of MAKERS | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

"You can’t tell the story of the women’s movement through one person," Gloria Steinhem.

Veteran documentary producer Dyllan McGee has worked on more than a dozen films for PBS and HBO, but MAKERS is unlike anything she’s ever created.


First of its kind...the entire idea was born out rejection.


What came out of that first roadblock flipped the script ...


MAKERS evolved into a “digital first” online platform for archiving dozens of interviews with feminist trailblazers, an approach that the Washington Post called a “sweeping documentary covering 50 years of feminism, pro and con, from the days when highly educated women were expected to live happily ever after as wives and mothers.”


Interview subjects include well-known women leaders like Condoleezza RiceSheryl Sandberg, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg alongside lesser-known women with powerful stories like Brenda Berkman, the first NYC firefighter, and Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston marathon.


Related posts by Deb:  

    

  

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

MAKERS is a powerful documentary and series.  I've posted one of my own "rejection" stories (Entre-Slam) that made a big difference in my career and launched my work as a consultant back in the 80's.  


MAKERS is about listening to a persistent inner voice and turning points, as well as "resistance as a resource."  ~ Deb

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Tyranny of the Queen Bee

Tyranny of the Queen Bee | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

"Is something is amiss in the professional sisterhood?"

The term "queen bee syndrome" was coined in the 1970s, following a study led by researchers at the University of Michigan...who examined promotion rates and the impact of the women's movement on the workplace.


_____________________

...the patriarchal culture of work encouraged the few women who rose to the top to become obsessed with maintaining their authority.

_____________________

...They found that women who achieved success in male-dominated environments were at times likely to oppose the rise of other women.



Four decades later, the syndrome still thrives... The very women who have complained for decades about unequal treatment now perpetuate many of the same problems by turning on their own.


_____________________

...female bullies directed their hostilities toward other women 80% of the time—up 9% since 2007.

_____________________


In 2010, the Workplace Bullying Institute, a national education and advocacy group, reported that female bullies directed their hostilities toward other women 80% of the time—up 9% since 2007.


Male bullies, by contrast, were generally equal-opportunity tormentors.



Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

There was syncronicity here:  that the term "Queen Bee" originated at my alma mater, University of Michigan, where I ALSO experienced the term in use, as a young-un in my 20s in my first professional position.


It's the stories and commentary here that move this post to Change Leader Watch.


In the comments Susan Nierenberg writes:  “Leaders Pay It Forward,” debunks the Queen Bee myth. The findings show that women do indeed help other women get ahead.   In fact, the study found that women leaders are more likely to develop new female talent than men are!


65% percent of women who received career development support are now developing new talent, compared to 56% percent of men—and 73% of the women developing new talent are developing other women, compared to 30 percent of men!   


I still see the syndrome and bullying as a problem today from other sources.   However, Susan's references are worth a look.


~  Deb 

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Female muscle, the Changing Politics & Economy of Gender, Women in Leadership

Female muscle, the Changing Politics & Economy of Gender, Women in Leadership | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

"Insights into Leadership & the Politics of Gender via the book, The End of Men: And the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin to be published in Britain in October"


At the local Women's Exchange of Washtenaw Forum 2012, one of our Open Space group discussions was on the Politics of Gender.  This intriguing book brings up good points about the shifts & changes in our disruptive, social media charged, globally connected world.    

   

The photo set, including several public photos, is here:  Women, Empowerment at WXW Open Space Exchange Forum2012   ~  Deb

  

__________________________
  
“All the things we need to be good at to thrive in the world…are things that my female friends and competitors are better at than me.”

__________________________

   

Excerpted - from the Economist, Sept. 2012:

   

Women dominate university attendance around the world.

   

  • In South Korea more women than men pass the foreign-service exam, which has sparked the foreign ministry to implement a minimum quota for men. 
   
  • In Brazil nearly a third of women earn more than their husbands, a phenomenon that has caused men to form church support-groups calling themselves “Men of Tears”.
   
Ms Rosin, an editor at Atlantic, whose book grew out of an article she wrote for the magazine in 2010, highlights how women today are excelling, while men founder.
   
As part of her research, she travelled to many corners of America, including Auburn-Opelika, Alabama, where women’s median income is 40% higher than men’s.
    

The financial crisis has been especially unkind to men: three-quarters of the 7.5m American jobs lost in the recession belonged to men and were in traditionally masculine industries, such as construction, manufacturing and finance.

   

  • “Probably no one has had their wife move up the ladder as far as I’ve moved down,” says one man.
   
  • Another, who is annoyed that his girlfriend earns more than he does, complains, “All the things we need to be good at to thrive in the world…are things that my female friends and competitors are better at than me.”

  

__________________________

  

The new service-based economy rewards communication and adaptation, qualities that women are more likely to have.

__________________________

    


Ms Rosin highlights the deterioration of the male-in-the-workplace condition.

    

  • The new service-based economy rewards communication and adaptation, qualities that women are more likely to have. 
    
  • Only about 3% of men have taken over raising children full-time while their wives support their families. 
    
  • Instead, many men, especially young ones, have retreated into a world of video games, drinking and prolonged adolescence—a phenomenon identified in “Guyland”, a 2008 book by an American sociologist, Michael Kimmel.

 

Read the full post here.

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