Women Leader August 2023

A Multi-Faceted Leader | Trudy Darwin

Trudy Darwin’s first corporate job after graduating from University in the late ’90s was with what the industry labeled a dot.com, where she worked on the marketing side of web development for eCommerce companies, moving to web-based sales and digital brand awareness. From this, she moved quickly up the proverbial ladder to become Director of Marketing and Sales for global U.S. businesses in industries such as; Telecom, Technology, Training, and Publishing. During this time, she received ongoing training in sales management and leadership styles.

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Embodying Leadership through Empathy | Sharon Bloodworth, CFP®

Sharon Bloodworth is more than an aficionado of shoes. She is a curator of history, a collector of footwear once donned by women who’ve etched their names in the annals of time. As the CEO of White Oaks Wealth Advisors, Sharon draws her resilience from contemplating the trials these women faced. “During moments of fatigue or wavering resolve, I harness the spirit of these women, gather my strength and carry on.

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Empowering & Engaging | Stephanie F. Donner

The C-suite is beginning to take on a new look. Historically, women as CEOs were unheard of. However, while still not the majority, it is no longer an anomaly. According to a March 2023 Challenger, Gray & Christmas report, 32 percent of new CEOs were women in the first three months of 2023, an all-time high.

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Delivering Change that Sustains | Sarah-Mae Amde

Leadership is about people – impacting and shaping lives positively. To be an effective leader, one must genuinely desire to serve others. We require Servant Leaders in our world today – leadership that measures and prioritizes the conditions of the people before self. Whether you are a religious head, corporate leader, or political leader, the necessities and well-being of the people must be your utmost concern.

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Leading with Empathy, Accountability, Resilience | Laura Bolger

Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson has found that a “psychologically safe work environment” – an environment in which teams feel free “to take risks, to express their ideas and concerns, [ask] questions, and to admit mistakes… without fear of negative consequences” – promotes team engagement and motivation.

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Fostering Inclusion & Diversity | Kathryn Mason

Being open and transparent is an essential and intrinsic part of Kathryn Mason, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Rice Search Partners’, leadership style. This has resulted in an ongoing focus on diversity and inclusion within the company. In 2013 Rice Search Partners was predominately white, male, and privately educated. The team is now over 70% diverse (as defined by gender, ethnicity, socioeconomics, and LGBTQ+ criteria) across the company and 66% across the management team.

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Creating Health, Happiness & Community Cohesion | Joan Kanigan

Joan Kanigan, CEO of the Western Development Museum (WDM), took an extraordinarily unique yet bold step as a leader in 2021. She initiated a 360o Performance Assessment to better understand how she was performing and where she needed to improve—all through an honest and critical feedback system to know where she was standing as a leader and a manager.

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Leading with Positivity & Objectivity | Brandi Martin

Brandi Martin, President & CEO, InstaFab, has always been fascinated by leadership and the idea of positively impacting the world. Even as a child, she found herself naturally drawn to organizing and leading groups of people toward a common goal. Whether it was planning a game with friends or working on a school project, Brandi was always eager to take on a leadership role and make a difference.

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Enhancing Human Potential | Angela Cusack

Angela Cusack, Founder & CEO of Igniting Success®, is understated and patient. She moves quickly as she partners with executive leaders in shaping cultures that produce deeper connections, higher engagement, and overall well-being and prosperity for all involved. Angela is an impact player. Someone whom many refer to as their “organization’s secret weapon.”

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A Compassionate Leader | Ally Zahler

A critical quality that defines Ally Zahler’s leadership is her willingness to listen. Whether it’s the clients she serves, organizational partners, her board of directors, or her staff – Ally is always listening for the direst problems facing the people she serves and the best solutions. The innovative strategies she has implemented at The Reeb Center in the organization’s relatively short tenure have made it a standout among Central Ohio’s venerable non-profit peers. Ally has been keen on collecting client data with stories from the field to ensure she has a complete perspective and can make genuinely equitable and impactful decisions. The Reeb Center has navigated incredibly challenging times with the strength of Ally’s people-centered leadership style.

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