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Profiles in Diversity Journal | Sep/Oct 2009

Profiles in Diversity Journal | Sep/Oct 2009

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September/October 2009


Mentoring Essays, Corporate Profiles, and the Personal Profiles of Women Worth Watching in 2010

Nominated by their colleagues, peers, and mentors for their initiative and achievements, these are women of purpose and drive who represent diversity within their spheres of influence.
September/October 2009


Mentoring Essays, Corporate Profiles, and the Personal Profiles of Women Worth Watching in 2010

Nominated by their colleagues, peers, and mentors for their initiative and achievements, these are women of purpose and drive who represent diversity within their spheres of influence.

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Published by: Profiles in Diversity Journal on Mar 28, 2011
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i was fortunate to enter the foreign exchange (Fx) business in the late ‘70s.
even though Fx trading is one of the world’s oldest professions, it suddenly
became very meaningful to international investors and multi-national corporations
when president nixon floated the dollar by removing it from the gold standard.
Fx lacked the defined “old boy” structure, so promotions and opportunities were
based on performance first. Working in a meritocracy has allowed me to grow
professionally and personally—doing what i enjoy. i try to create that environ-
ment for my team. i have found that if you are consistent in your behavior,
clear in your expectations, and have integrity regarding your interactions with
people, getting results becomes an easier task. in addition, having a passion for
your work, an ability to continue learning, and a sense of fun, will keep every-
thing new and exciting. Most importantly i have found that looking for ways to
re-invent yourself and your career keeps you from getting tired or complacent.

in every challenge i have found opportunity and growth. everything that has
been a struggle has turned into a learning experience, where each hurdle has brought
both expected and unexpected benefits. i have learned that taking risks and
“being in the game” is the only way to encounter opportunity and obtain results.

To me, success at work is enjoying what you do and being able to take ownership
of a business or a role, so by my definition i consider myself successful. i always
caution people that work success is only a part of the equation. To be truly
successful, i believe you need to be able to balance your career with family,
friends and outside interests. While not an easy task, i believe that this balance
is something that is “job one” in terms of being good at what you do and happy
with whom you have become. i do think you can “have it all.”

one’s lifestyle is governed by balancing things that you love to do with
things that are necessary to do. steer yourself into a position where both are
satisfying. a career is more than a job; it’s a way to express yourself to the world
and be creative in your own very special way. enjoy every moment.

“…taking risks and ‘being in the game’
is the only way to encounter
opportunity and obtain results.

women worth watching in 2010

women worth watching in 2010

Profiles in Diversity Journal September/OctOber 2009 129

TThe road i traveled to reach my goals started in my parents’ kitchen, where i was

consistently taught that i would achieve my dreams if i trusted in myself, worked

hard, and made informed decisions, even if they might not always be well received.

This is the foundation of my success: “To thine own self be true.”

The basic tenet of my philosophy is that you are responsible for your career path.

There is rarely a prescribed and direct path to success. here are some guiding principles

i’ve learned and applied:

Be completely engaged. Remain focused on your current assignment and job

responsibilities, rather than looking ahead to the next opportunity or promotion.

Be prepared for any opportunity. educate yourself both formally, with advanced

degrees and certifications, and informally, by joining industry groups or attending

industry-related seminars and functions.

Be flexible—say yes. Be open to assignments that may be outside your expertise.

opportunities that have been most helpful for my growth have been those outside of

my comfort zone. They broadened my skills and reinforced my self-confidence.

Be clear about setting expectations. When you assume a new assignment outside

your area of expertise, fully understand what the expectations are, and don’t pretend to

know more than you do. Request coaching, staff support, or other reasonable assistance

to help you acclimate to the new role.

Be a professional. act and dress professionally.

Be a good communicator. effective and influential speaking and writing skills are

essential to success. invest time to enhance these skills. The smartest people may not be the

most successful if they aren’t able to communicate in a clear, concise, and credible manner.

Be decisive. Being able to make well-informed (and possibly unpopular) decisions

is a true sign of a leader.

Be willing to take a risk and to make mistakes. Taking well-informed, reasonable

risks is an integral part of a successful career. Turn adverse situations into learning experiences.

Being responsible for your career path includes learning from others: your family,

teachers, mentors, mentees, friends, and colleagues. listen, observe, and absorb. What

works; what doesn’t?

Finally, be patient. success may not follow the time frame that you envision. it is

better to be promoted one year “late” than one year too “early.”

as i learned from my parents, “To thine own self be true.”

“…you are responsible for

your career path.”

TITLE: Senior Vice President,
Deputy General Counsel & Secretary

EDUCATION: BA, Economics, Boston
University; JD, Brooklyn Law School; LLM,
new York University School of Law; MBA,
Columbia University School of Business

FIRST JOB: Beachbrook Day Camp
counselor, for children with special needs

WHAT I’M READING: The Tipping Point,

by Malcolm Gladwell

MY PHILOSOPHY: To thine own self
be true.

FAMILY: Husband, Michael; children,
Brandon and Rebecca.

INTERESTS: Music (Bruce Springsteen),
dance (tap, ballroom, jazz), Girl Scouts
(Brownie Leader for my daughter’s troop),
sports (Jets, Mets and my son’s teams).


COMPANY: new York Life
insurance Company


WEB SITE: www.newyorklife.com

BUSINESS: insurance.

Revenue: $14 billion

EMPLOYEES: 8,932 U.S.-based
employees (as of May 31, 2009)

New York Life Insurance Company

Susan Thrope

women worth watching in 2010

130 Profiles in Diversity Journal September/OctOber 2009

Llooking at my career now (particularly in light of today’s economy), it appears

to have been a plan well executed. But neither the path i have traveled, nor the
degree to which i have succeeded, were what i expected, and are in large part
due to my mentors, who helped me find my strengths and maintain and achieve
greater perspective.

like many women of my era, i started out believing that “professionalism”
was equated with “toughness” and maintaining aloofness. But one cannot develop
professionally (or probably in any other way) in isolation. Mentoring relationships
can enable those starting out, to see what they cannot see, in their performance
and themselves. it was my mentors who led me to understand that my viewing
an issue in an unconventional way, and my habit of speaking in metaphors, were
expressions of creativity i should not suppress, but combine with discipline to
strengthen my analysis. perhaps more importantly, each of my mentors pushed me
to pause before reacting, and look at issues and situations from the perspectives of
others involved. Though sometimes this is a challenge for independent achievers,
it is in fact the key to true success.

My mentors have been a varied lot with greater and lesser roles in my develop-
ment—senior partners, the women in leadership in my organization, the judge for
whom i clerked, and, later in my career, my clients who cared enough to provide
me feedback. To this day i stop and think, “What if i were the supervisor being
handed this work product, the judge ruling on this argument, the client hearing
this advice?” and now that i am myself the supervisor, i think, “What if i were
the junior lawyer getting these instructions or that feedback?” These reflections
have enabled me to reach greater levels of communication, teamwork, and results.

To those beginning their careers, look for mentoring in a variety of relationships,
and allow others to help you see in yourself what might be obscured for you. and
be aware of other views when confronted with a new or difficult situation—as your
mother would say, stop for a moment and put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

“…be aware of other views
when confronted with a new
or difficult situation…”

TITLE: Partner, Policy Committee
Member, and Chair of the
Restructuring Practice

EDUCATION: AB, Economics and
Linguistics, with distinction, Phi Beta
Kappa, Greenberg Prize for Outstanding
Linguistics Graduate, Member of Council
of Presidents, Stanford University; MA,
Linguistics, Stanford University; JD, Yale
Journal on Regulation, Co-Editor-in-Chief,
Yale University

FIRST JOB: Working at
Kentucky Fried Chicken

WHAT I’M READING: The Dream of
by iain Pears

MY PHILOSOPHY: Put yourself in the
other person’s shoes.

FAMILY: Two daughters, 13 and 10.

INTERESTS: Skiing, ancient Rome,
word games.

Wildlife Foundation

COMPANY: O’Melveny & Myers LLP


WEB SITE: www.omm.com


ANNUAL REVENUES: $907.5 million

EMPLOYEES: 2,172 (935 attorneys)

O’Melveny & Myers LLP

Suzzanne Uhland

women worth watching in 2010


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women worth watching in 2010

132 Profiles in Diversity Journal September/OctOber 2009

MMy number one leadership rule is something i learned from my 93-year-old

father. he has been a judge for over 40 years. after high school, i would walk to
his office to catch a ride home. usually, he would be meeting with someone in
his chamber. They would be in deep conversation while sharing afternoon tea.
as i watched, i thought there must be some very important legal matter being
discussed. Maybe there was, but what really stood out to me was this observation:
My dad listened intently, smiled warmly, shared a kind word, and included a
firm handshake. after the discussion, each person left with a wide smile and
seemed to step a little lighter. This scenario played out time after time.

“Giving people a little more than they expect is a good way to get back a lot more
than you’d expect.” —Robert half

i strive to practice this leadership skill each day, and have seen a positive

impact on our team.

i read the book How Full Is Your Bucket?, by Tom Rath and Donald o. clifton;
they describe the importance of positive impact in the workplace through The
Theory of the Dipper and the Bucket. everyone has an invisible bucket. We are at
our best when our buckets are overflowing. everyone also has an invisible dipper. in each
moment, we can use our dipper to fill or to dip from another person’s bucket.

Good leadership requires you to have someone to follow you. studies have
demonstrated that positive interaction, direction, and energy increase productivity.
in healthcare, our employees are required to give to their patients and customers
all day long. They finish up for the day and head home to give to their families.
Without leaders who provide recognition or praise of a job well done or provide a
moment of encouragement, their employee buckets are pretty empty at the end of
the day. industry surveys say many employees leave their jobs because they don’t
feel appreciated.

By increasing positive energy in our organizations, we can improve job satisfac-
tion, customer and employee retention, increase productivity, and maybe even the
unthinkable—allow…work to be fun.

My experience taught me success is built on taking every opportunity to
really listen, provide a bit of praise, fill someone’s bucket. employees are happier
and more productive, business is strong, and even life is better. in retrospect, i
now know that i watched my father fill many buckets. and as the author stated,
“Don’t waste another moment—another bucket is waiting for you to fill it.”

“…positive interaction, direction,
and energy increase productivity.”

TITLE: Senior Vice President,
Clinical Operations

EDUCATION: MS, Communication
Disorders, University of Wisconsin

FIRST JOB: Certified nursing assistant

Roosevelt biography

MY PHILOSOPHY: it is a choice i make
to see joy and fun in each person,
situation, and experience i encounter.

FAMILY: Husband of 35 years, Mike; and
our four sons and daughter-in-law.

INTERESTS: Politics, reading, sports.

(company’s employee assistance fund)

COMPANY: Kindred Healthcare

HEADQUARTERS: Louisville, Kentucky

WEB SITE: www.kindredhealthcare.com

BUSINESS: Diversified post-acute
healthcare services.

ANNUAL REVENUES: $4.2 billion


Kindred Healthcare

Mary D. Van de Kamp

women worth watching in 2010

women worth watching in 2010

Profiles in Diversity Journal September/OctOber 2009 133

FFor many years after earning my MBa, i worked in a very male-dominated

discipline and industry—finance within a transportation and logistics company.
There were very few females in positions of power to learn from and to be mentored
by. But i quickly learned that mentors are everywhere, and you can learn and
grow in every situation.

i probably learned the most from two individual bosses; one good and one
not so good. The “good boss” taught me the power of communication, team
building and the importance of applying a critical thought process to each and
every situation. The “bad boss” taught me how to deal effectively with difficult
personalities and circumstances, and how to navigate the corporate political
environment. You can learn just as much from a good boss as you can from a
bad one—even if it is what not to do!

i also quickly learned that a great attitude is the key to success. Faced with
difficult odds in succeeding in a predominately male-dominated industry, i
chose to come to work every day with a positive attitude and a desire to succeed.
abraham lincoln said, “always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed
is more important than any other one thing.” You choose your attitude each
and every day, and i’ve chosen a positive one—one that fosters great relation-
ships both in and out of work.

i saw many of my male colleagues thrive professionally by taking calculated
risks, while i also witnessed many of my female colleagues not willing to leave
their comfort zones. Being open to new opportunities and taking on new and
different responsibilities has served me well. i began my career in finance, and
now i head up investor Relations and Global communications for a multi-
national consumer brand.

But the biggest lesson i’ve learned is to be myself and to have fun. Don’t try
to be someone you’re not, or work in an environment that does not inspire and
challenge you. and most of all—be happy. life is too short not to be happy—
love what you do, and do it well!

“Don’t try to be someone you’re not
or work in an environment that
does not inspire and challenge you.”

TITLE: Senior Vice President, investor
Relations and Global Communications

EDUCATION: BA, School of Public Affairs;
and MBA, international Business and Finance,
Florida international University

FIRST JOB: Age 12: Papergirl for an
afternoon community paper

MY PHILOSOPHY: Life is too short not
to be happy—love what you do, and do
it well!

FAMILY: Married 14 years, with two
boys, ages 10 and 11.

INTERESTS: Cooking, travel.


Foundation; American
Diabetes Association

COMPANY: Burger King Corp.

HEADQUARTERS: Miami, Florida

WEB SITE: www.bk.com

BUSINESS: Quick service
restaurant chain.

ANNUAL REVENUES: $2.5 billion

EMPLOYEES: 27,000 corporate- and
company-owned restaurant employees

Burger King Corp.

Amy E. Wagner

women worth watching in 2010

134 Profiles in Diversity Journal September/OctOber 2009

TThroughout my life, my mom has been my number one mentor and role model.

she taught me by example that “to whom much is given, much is expected,”
and to take the blessings of my life and give them to others. i have carried those
lessons with me throughout my personal life and professional endeavors.

in addition to my mother, i’ve had many people in my life that have mentored
me and influenced me to be the person that i am today. From my days as a teen-
ager working at a neighborhood restaurant, to my current position at comcast,
there have been many people along the way who have served as mentors to me
and have shown me that being a leader is about more than giving instruction.

Mentoring is about taking people’s potential and guiding them toward reaching
their goals, which ultimately leads to us reaching our collective goals. it is also
about being an advocate for others. additionally, it is about being a leader versus a
manager. i’ve learned great lessons from family, friends, colleagues, supervisors,
and even those whom i have supervised.

My career path began at Bell atlantic right out of college. i entered their
management training program and learned to manage people at call centers.
From there, i honed my skills at peco energy, a consulting firm called Gartner
Group, and for a brief time, a start-up called software consulting Group. i then
joined comcast, where i have been for 10 years, doing what i am really passionate
about—helping others by connecting how a business can positively impact
a person’s experience. i have gained much knowledge from these experiences,
including learning the value of negotiation skills, how to find common ground,
the ability to think systematically and how to coach and develop others.

i also overcame some hurdles. i realized that leadership is hard work and is
never easy when you work in a people-centric environment. i also experienced
challenges in some instances of not being taken seriously by others because i am
a woman and a person of color. But my perspective was always positive, looking
for the lesson in each situation.

i have so much that i want to do in my life. and my advice to young
women is to be persistent while leaning on the wise council of mentors. They
can act as a strong support system and can help move you toward reaching your
fullest potential.

“…be persistent while leaning on the
wise council of mentors.”

TITLE: Senior Vice President of Customer
Care, Comcast Cable

EDUCATION: BS in Business Adminis-
tration, Villanova; MS, Organizational
Dynamics, University of Pennsylvania

FIRST JOB: Call Center Assistant
Manager at Bell Atlantic

WHAT I’M READING: Lipstick Jihad,

by Azadeh Moaveni;
my monthly Vanity Fair magazine

MY PHILOSOPHY: To whom much is
given, much is expected.

FAMILY: i live with my husband Thomas,
my stepdaughter Jazmine, and my
mother, Patty; my sister and brother,
nieces and nephews, and grandmother all
live close by; my father, Voyer, resides in
LA. Family is very important!

INTERESTS: Tennis, indoor rock climbing,
reading, shopping, family time, double-
dutch, international travel.

County Head Start; Urban League
of Philadelphia

COMPANY: Comcast Corporation

HEADQUARTERS: Philadelphia,

WEB SITE: www.comcast.com

BUSINESS: Cable, internet, and
phone communications.

ANNUAL REVENUES: $34.3 billion

EMPLOYEES: Approximately 100,000

Comcast Corporation

Tina Waters

women worth watching in 2010

Diversity powers innovation.
Innovation powers Comcast.

To learn more about our commitment to diversity,
go to www.comcast.com/diversity

Comcast congratulates our own Tina Waters for being featured in
the 8th Annual WomenWorthWatching®

Issue. Here’s to her strength

and persistence to be an authentic leader and mentor.

We power dreams in our communities. And we live and breathe
innovation every day.

By embracing diversity of thought, philosophy and experience,
we have become the nation’s leading provider of entertainment,
information and communication products and services.

By embracing diversity of communities, we have become an
employer and a provider of choice.

women worth watching in 2010

136 Profiles in Diversity Journal September/OctOber 2009

WWhen i was a little girl, my mother instilled in me a core value that i have

upheld my entire life. she said, ‘‘no matter what you do, help other people.” Those
words have played a vital role in my personal and professional development.

i began my career at MWv as a computer programmer. i excelled at my role
and was quite happy with the career path i had chosen. But, as fate would have
it, my career would take a different turn when one of my early mentors said to
me, “stephanie, you are a star in computer programming, but you have an even
greater gift—developing others. Don’t ever lose that.” Those words resonated
deeply with me, and i began to look for opportunities that combined my skills
with my passions.

in my current role, i am able to develop others on a daily basis and it is
exciting work. i help hone the skills of promising up-and-coming talent and
also assist senior leaders in maximizing their strengths. i’m grateful for the opportunity
to build and fortify relationships with colleagues, students, suppliers, and the
community. i also seize the opportunity to mentor others whenever possible.
Mentors have played an important role in my life and giving back is essential.

in my opinion, a mentoring relationship is not meant to be comfortable. on
the contrary, a mentor should stretch the mentee and challenge them to become
a better person. no matter how amazing a mentee may be, i’ve always found the
following to be true:

First, everyone has strengths and development opportunities. second, building
and maintaining positive relationships is a vital component in one’s development.
and last, but certainly not least, listening is a crucial skill. over the years, my
mentors have provided me with feedback that might not have been easy to listen
to…but it was necessary for me to hear. The most important changes i’ve made
in my life have been because of strong mentors who spoke openly and honestly
with me. Those changes have helped me become the woman i am today.

in my opinion, development never ends. as i continue to grow both
personally and professionally, i will always look for those mentors who can help
me improve myself in my life journey. and, as my mother wisely recommended
many years ago, i will also always look for opportunities to help others along
the way.

a mentor should stretch the mentee
and challenge them
to become a better person.”

TITLE: Vice President, Diversity and
Leadership Management

EDUCATION: BS in Business Administration,
University of South Carolina

FIRST JOB: Computer Programmer

WHAT I’M READING: Mystery novel by
Walter Mosley and the Bible

MY PHILOSOPHY: The Golden Rule:
“Do unto others as you would have them
do unto you,” and “To whom much is
given, much will be required.”

FAMILY: Husband, Mario; and sons,
Andrew and Austin.

INTERESTS: Spending time with family,
travel, music, and reading.

and education charities


HEADQUARTERS: Richmond, Virginia

WEB SITE: www.mwv.com

BUSINESS: Packaging. MWV is a global
packaging company that provides pack-
aging solutions to many of the world’s
most admired brands in the healthcare,
personal and beauty care, food, beverage,
media and entertainment, and home and
garden industries.


EMPLOYEES: 22,000 worldwide


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