Capitalizing on Career Breakout Roles

Season 3, Episode 3



Business executives often credit a breakout role – a unique project or challenge in which they excelled – as a major part of their career success. The increased responsibilities and visibility these roles offer enable leaders to both demonstrate their skills and expand their capabilities in new and interesting ways.

In this episode, Lisa Badgley, Senior Vice President at Walgreens and alumna of both the CEO Perspectives (2017) and Leading Women Executives (2011) programs, discusses her breakout role, and the many valuable lessons she acquired along the way.

Leading by Example: Grainger’s ESG Journey

Season 3, Episode 2



In the past few years, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have become a key priority for companies, as they work to define their ESG goals and link them to long-term sustainability and strategic planning. Long before the concept of ESG became popular, Grainger focused on these goals and built them into an integral part of their corporate values and leadership objectives. In this episode, Corporate Leadership Center CEO Deb DeHaas talks with Grainger’s Kathleen Carroll, Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Leading Women Executives Advocate; and Rebecca Derdiger, Senior Director of Diversity and Corporate Responsibility, and Leading Women Executives Ambassador, Fall 2021, to learn more about Grainger’s ESG journey and how they bring value to their stakeholders through their ongoing efforts.

Sponsors: Career Game Changers

Season 3, Episode 1



Supporting top performers by encouraging them to take on stretch assignments and advocating on their behalf is at the heart of sponsorship. Those who have had the benefit of being sponsored often become sponsors, to ‘pay it forward’ and help develop others’ careers. In this episode, Discover’s Diane Offereins, Executive Vice President and President of Payment Services and Alisa Ellis, Global Head of Innovation and Emerging Products and Leading Women Executives Ambassador, Fall 2020, share their experiences and advice on how to derive the most impact from sponsorship relationships.

Leading Change in the Workplace

Season 2, Episode 8


Leading Women Executives hosted a virtual workshop in August focused on “Creating Workplaces That Work for Everyone” to address the challenges that all organizations are facing in the wake of the pandemic. Specifically, the discussion focused on the topics of: Reengaging and Retaining Talent, Rebuilding Culture and Reskilling Employees.

In this episode, three Ambassadors from the Summer 2020 program -- Jennifer Chuang, responsible for operations for Aon's top-down innovation initiatives, Aon; Sarah Huizingh, Global Marketing Director, Software & Services, Motorola Solutions; and Ashley Nasby, Director, Insurance Origination, NextEra Energy -- share their takeaways from the workshop and how they are applying those concepts within their organizations.

Skillful Negotiations

Season 2, Episode 7


A key component of the Leading Women Executives curriculum focuses on negotiations, including how to recognize opportunities to negotiate, positions vs. interests, and different strategies for successful outcomes.

In this episode, Tracy Hedrick, Vice President, Card Operations, Discover Financial Services; Ambassador Fall 2020, and Heather Lindsay, Associate Vice President, Customer Service, Medicaid Operations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas; Ambassador Spring 2021, share their stories from recent negotiations and what they learned about themselves in the process.

Lessons in Community Leadership

Season 2, Episode 6


As CEO of the American Red Cross of Illinois, Celena Roldan (CEO Perspectives Fellow, 2017) is responsible for leading her team, and thousands of volunteers, to serve communities in times of crisis. The past 18 months, in particular, have generated a wealth of leadership lessons in communication, transparency, building culture and affecting positive social change. In this episode Celena shares her perspectives on community leadership, as well as personal perspectives about the pandemic.

Perspectives on Becoming a First-Time Board Member

Season 2, Episode 5


Serving on a corporate board is both an exciting opportunity and sizable responsibility. Board members have the opportunity to share their knowledge and business expertise, as well as glean new ideas to bring back to their own organizations. In this episode, Deidra Merriwether, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Grainger, and CEO Perspectives Fellow (2016), shares her experiences and advice as a first-time board member of Weyerhauser.

The Language of Leadership

Season 2, Episode 4


The words we use to describe others in the workplace, particularly when it comes to evaluating performance, need to be chosen with care. Often, we use different words when describing men and women, which can have a profound impact on perceptions, decisions and opportunities. In this episode, Lori Mackenzie, co-founder of Stanford’s VMware Women's Leadership Innovation Lab; lead strategist, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Stanford Graduate School of Business; and Leading Women Executives Faculty Member, explores the “Language of Leadership” and how making strategic word choices can benefit leaders, their teams and their organizations.

Adopting a Growth and Innovation Mindset

Season 2, Episode 3


Fostering innovation requires a unique balance between decentralized creativity to ideate and build new solutions, and centralized allocation of organizational resources and support to bring those ideas to life. In this episode, Sona Chawla, Chief Growth and Innovation Officer, CDW, and Leading Women Executives Advocate, discusses the links between innovation and technology; companies’ different approaches to developing innovation strategies; and how every leader can become a better innovator.

Successful Succession Planning

Season 2, Episode 2


Succession planning requires a deep understanding of the company’s strategic objectives, as well as the interests and career goals of its valued leaders. In this episode, TransUnion’s Anne Leyden, Executive Vice President & Head of Human Resources and Katie Coleman, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Leading Women Executives Ambassador, Fall 2014, discuss their perspectives on career development planning and share practical advice for how to implement successful succession plans.

CEO Insights on Stewardship, Legacy and Leadership

Season 2, Episode 1


Deb DeHaas recently joined Corporate Leadership Center as CEO, following her retirement from Deloitte as Vice Chairman and National Managing Partner for the Center of Board Effectiveness. An active member of multiple boards and civic organizations, she is committed to making an impact as a business leader and member of the community. In this episode, Deb shares her perspectives on effective leadership, and how she weaves her professional and personal interests into a rich tapestry of life experiences.

Reflections on 2020

Season 1, Episode 6


This year has been a particularly challenging one, requiring everyone to find new ways of living, working and practicing resilience. Ambassadors from the Spring 2019 program reflect back on 2020, and how lessons from the Leading Women Executives program helped them be more effective leaders throughout this tumultuous time. Featuring Summer Collins, Associate Vice President, Design and Innovation at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas; Liz Henderson, Senior Managing Director at Aon; and Khai Yang, Director Data Strategy at Allstate.

Embracing Stretch Roles With Confidence

Season 1, Episode 5


Leadership journeys often uncover opportunities to take on “stretch roles” – positions that require new skill sets and new responsibilities, and which yield great rewards. Moving into these roles requires courage, confidence and a willingness to step out of one’s comfort zone. In this episode, Kris Yates, President of Allsteel (a division of HNI Corporation) and Leading Women Executives Ambassador, 2011, shares how embracing stretch roles has enhanced her career and benefited her company.

Crossing the Digital Rubicon

Season 1, Episode 4


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to accelerate their digital transformation strategies to meet their customers’ needs quickly, creatively and efficiently. In this episode, we explore the concepts of the Digital Rubicon and proximity, and how Ulta is applying these lessons to how they do business. Featuring: Rob Wolcott, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The World Innovation Network (TWIN); Clinical Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University; managing partner with Clareo; and faculty member for our sister program – CEO Perspectives; and Prama Bhatt, Chief Digital Officer, Ulta; Leading Women Executives Advocate and Ambassador, Spring 2016.

Reflections on Legacy & Leadership

Season 1, Episode 3


Corporate Leadership Center Co-Chairmen and Leading Women Executives Co-Founders Cheryl Francis and Sheila Penrose reflect on their experiences as senior business leaders at a time when few women had a ‘seat at the table’. In this episode, they acknowledge important mentors who influenced them throughout their careers and share their experiences as business leaders, along with their hopes for the advancement of women in leadership.

The Power of the Peer Board

Season 1, Episode 2


Peer boards are an integral part of the Leading Women Executives program. These carefully curated, smaller groups of 4-5 women are designed to help participants cultivate a strategic network and valuable resource for professional viewpoints.

Revenue Growth in the Time of COVID-19

Season 1, Episode 1


The COVID-19 crisis has forced organizations to reassess and realign how they do business. Understanding customers’ changing needs is a critical step in the process, and requires companies to listen, learn and adapt quickly in order to succeed in this new environment.