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Professional Women's Alliance Welcomes Best Selling Author Joanna Barsh

Professional Women's Alliance Welcomes Best Selling Author Joanna BarshThe Professional Women’s Alliance, in partnership with Kennesaw State University’s Coles College of Business, hosted a spectacular evening with best-selling author, Joanna Barsh at The Fox Theater. Barsh, a strong advocate for women in the workplace, is a director at McKinsey and Company based in New York, a leader in their Retail/Consumer and Organization Practices, and author of How Remarkable Women Lead.

In 2007, Barsh founded and continues to lead “The McKinsey Centered Leadership Project.” She describes the project as, “A distinctive approach based on extensive research that includes in-depth video interviews with some 150 women and men leaders from across the globe.” She also serves as a Commissioner on Women’s Issues for New York City.

Over 500 attendees listened with rapt attention as Barsh encouraged them to “Set impossible goals. Follow your path…follow your passion. You are who you are. It’s up to YOU to figure out your strengths.”

Barsh outlined several tools designed to move us from complacency to action including the importance of having someone as a “sponsor” to help during tough times. She says, “Sponsors evaluate you. They believe in you. Sometimes they have to push you to the next level. Sponsors let you know that you aren’t alone. They are always available to help you. As women, we need to initiate making a connection with a potential sponsor.”

Barsh went on to encourage attendees to implement some immediate changes.  She says, “You can start by journaling. Before you go to sleep at night, write down at least three things which you are grateful for that day. Also, start practicing random acts of kindness. Be kind to a stranger. Do this consciously. Finally, if you have your blackberry or cell phone in the bedroom, take it out! Put it someplace so it’s not the first thing you reach for in the morning.”

One of the members of the Professional Women’s Alliance, Rachel McClain, a Senior Manager at KPMG, is enthusiastic about the PWA and its future. McClain says, “As a founding member of PWA, I am very excited about attending this inaugural event. I think that the PWA can bring a lot of opportunities to women in the Atlanta business community. I believe it’s a very powerful medium for us to network and expand our relationships.”

The moderator for the evening was Erin Wolf, an Executives in Residence and director of the Women in Leadership Program at the Coles College of Business. Wolf says PWA is determined to increase the representation and retention of women in leadership positions. “When you look at entry-level positions, the ratio between males and females is usually 50-50,” says Erin Wolf. “However, when you get to the leadership ranks of Fortune 500 companies, women represent only 15 percent of the corporate officers.”

The Professional Women’s Alliance was established to enhance the power and effectiveness of corporate women’s affinity groups.

Wolf says that women collaborating in the affinity group want to “move the needle." "Diversity is important,” Wolf says, “because studies have shown that the more women you get in the leadership ranks, the higher your rates of return on sales and equity. The increase in the bottom line is a result of diversity of thought and not just having one group thinking the same way. Diversity is a win-win for the individual and the corporation.”

Members of the Professional Women’s Alliance are: AGCO, Arby’s, AT&T, Belk, DSM Chemicals North America, Ernest & Young, Frazier & Deeter, Kelly Services, Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, KPMG, McKesson, NCR, PWC, Signature FD and SunTrust.

 

 
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