The Business of Uplifting Others: Women’s Leadership Forum 2017

Women's Leadership Panel

We spend a good portion of our careers working on our individual goals: climbing the corporate ladder and attaining the positions desired. Is now the time to help others and make it easier for the next generation of women?

Last week, Oswald’s Women’s Leadership Council hosted a panel session with a dynamic group of speakers who shared their diverse array of experiences and insights.

The session’s topic was inspired by the book “Uplifting Leaders – Who Happen To Be Women” by Barbara O. Brown and Margaret Flynn.

(Net proceeds will be donated to support the education of young women transitioning out of foster care through the YWCA Greater Cleveland’s NIA program – Nurturing Independence and Aspirations).

We were honored to have Margie Flynn, Principal and Co-Founder of BrownFlynn, moderate our panelists:

From “Uplifting Leaders,” we discussed “indirect and subtle ways, the people who surround us throughout our lives leave lasting impressions that shape who we become.”

The following comprise a sampling of valuable information learned from our panelists:

Uplifting Leader Book

What do we take from our lessons learned from our real world experiences?

  • Stretch and be willing to take risks: Men are not afraid to apply for a job when they regard themselves as only 60% qualified, whereas women feel they must be 100% qualified.
  • Recognize your areas of weakness, but address them by surrounding yourself with people who excel in such areas. Embrace what you don’t know and bring your whole self to work.
  • Be willing to learn and develop new skills that are completely foreign to you.
  • Be an informed risk taker. You will find connectors!

How to take our lessons learned to uplift others?

  • Help the men present understand the effect their behaviors create. It’s okay to educate them on style differences between the sexes. While it is natural for us to be most comfortable with others who look and act as we do, we need to separate this in determining if that person – male or female – can be a good leader.
  • When we identify a potential leader, help them progress. Encourage them to explore new opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience. Put them in front of the executives.
  • Provide stretch assignments outside their comfort level.

How do we make the mentor/mentee relationship successful?

  • Don’t focus on age! We can learn a lot from mentors who are younger.
  • The pre-meet and post-meet are the most critical components of the relationship. Putting the work in ahead of the meeting and after are key to success.
  • Recognize and accept a non-working relationship. Be willing to move on and seek out a new mentor.

What advice would we impart to other women?

  • Stop second guessing your decisions. Women are held to a different standard than men in the workplace. Simply saying this is unfair and can derail a woman’s career. Rally together and ask “What can I do to change this?”
  • Volunteer and serve on community boards. You will learn a lot about yourself and your leadership qualities. You will take these valuable developmental experiences back to your career.
  • It’s okay to say no! Take care of yourself and live by your decisions. Take reflective time and focus on what’s sacred to you. Set clear priorities and keep them. Let go of the guilt and be present in the moment.

Our call to action is to pay it forward and uplift others! Remember that leadership is an ongoing journey.

On that note, you’re invited! Join Pradco and Oswald’s Women in Leadership Reception on Thursday, Nov. 16, at The Union Club from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Guest speaker, Amy Martin, from JumpStart will speak about your personal brand. RSVP by email to Sally Weinberg or at 440-337-4633.


About the Author Michelle Mindell:

Michelle MindellMichelle Mindell is Vice President, Senior Client Executive, and Team Leader in Property & Casualty at Oswald Companies. She brings over 18 years of dedicated focus and experience our company.

At Oswald, her strategic focus lies in identifying, measuring and managing organizational risks, while providing innovative solutions to local, national and international employers. Her current responsibilities include enhancing client relationships, as well as focusing on overall account selling, while overseeing Oswald’s Client Executive professionals as Team Leader. Connect with Michelle on LinkedIn.


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