Cover Showcase

The Power of Embracing Diversity

Article By: Hortense Le Gentil

How can you nurture collective alignment while encouraging diversity? When dealing with cultures, modes of thinking, backgrounds, or outlooks different from our own, creating and maintaining alignment by communicating effectively and adjusting to new circumstances or environments is particularly crucial—and challenging. It’s important to note that alignment does not mean pressuring others to think and behave the same way we do, or becoming someone we are not in order to fit in. Instead it involves cultivating the agility and openness to embrace, foster, and leverage diversity.

This agility has become an imperative for leaders. Marshall Goldsmith argues that managing diversity has become one of the most important qualities leaders must have to succeed. Why? Because leaders increasingly have to think globally and facilitate partnerships. Embracing diversity of all kinds—from gender, race, and sexual orientation to age, experience, culture, or cognitive penchant—has been shown to impact the bottom line. Those with a more diverse leadership perform better than average financially.

So, why are companies that embrace diversity doing better?

Diverse Teams Tend to Result in Better Decisions and More Innovation

Learning, reasoning, and problem-solving happen in different ways for different people. Frameworks such as Myers-Briggs and dISC, for example, identify various cognitive styles, which in turn facilitate understanding across differences. In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain makes the case that western business culture, which has favored and rewarded extroversion, would benefit from embracing the many qualities that introverts bring to the table.

Diversity Relates to Innovation

IBM’s Jennifer Paylor argues that innovation comes from disrupting one’s own thinking. And what better way to do that than to collaborate with people who do not think like you? Though it may be easier and more comfortable to interact with people who think like us and have a similar background, it doesn’t stretch us outside of our box. We keep treading the same mental paths without being challenged. By contrast, being exposed to multiple cultures has been shown to boost creativity, as it allows us to consider and combine different perspectives.

Diverse Companies Are Better Able to Serve Increasingly Heterogeneous Markets

Workforces that do not reflect the diversity of their customers are unlikely to come up with products and services aligned with the people they are meant to serve. They succumb to the unconscious biases we all have, and results range from irritating to down- right dangerous. Facial recognition software, for instance, has been shown to work far better on white male faces than either female or darker skinned ones. Why? Largely because the software reflects the demographic characteristics of developers and the data sets they use for machine learning: one popular facial recognition dataset, for example, was found to include more than three-quarters men and more than 80 percent Caucasians. This is something Google learned the hard way when its Google Photos app, which helps users categorize and search their photos for people, places, or things, labeled darker-skinned faces as gorillas. As facial recognition software is being used for an increasing number of applications, ranging from marketing and recruitment to law enforcement, the consequences of this inherent bias could be catastrophic.

The challenges faced by women entrepreneurs is another example. The difficulties they face in male venture capitalists and investors. The problem? Surrounded by too many people like themselves, investors are not always able to recognize their own biases or grasp business opportunities that target a demographic outside of their own. In her memoir Shark Tales, real estate entrepreneur turned investor Barbara Corcoran illustrates that very challenge. As the only female investor on Shark Tank, the American television show in which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas, she was the only one to understand the potential of a medication dispenser for toddlers shaped like an elephant. She concludes in her book that her male colleagues were most likely oblivious to the challenge of giving a sick infant medicine in the middle of the night. She was the only one supporting the venture, which became very successful. In a country such as the UK, women make 80 percent of consumer purchases, yet they account for only 12 percent of executive teams in companies surveyed by global consultancy McKinsey & Company.

Fostering Diversity Helps Recruit & Retain Talent

Leaders committed to hiring a diverse workforce can fish in a much bigger talent pond. Furthermore, a broader range of recruits feels at home in more diverse companies, which in turn improves their satisfaction and desire to stay. A 2017 Gallup survey revealed that fostering environments that celebrate diversity greatly improves employee engagement. Diversity is particularly valued among younger generations: almost half of millennials consider diversity and inclusion important criteria when considering a potential employer.

Ultimately, CEOs who run organizations recognized for embracing people of different backgrounds see diversity not only as a business imperative but also as a moral one. They approach it as a personal mission central to their own values, often rooted in their experience of what it means to be an outsider. In other words, they are personally aligned with diversity and inclusion and why they matter, which in turn helps root these values within their organizations and align their teams too.

How important is diversity to you? Are you clear on how much you value it? What can you do to foster it around you and in your organization? Are you aware of your own biases? What are you doing to facilitate inclusion? How do you pro- mote collective alignment through diversity?

Hortense le Gentil is an Executive Leadership Coach who works with decision-makers in the business world, including many C-suite executives from Fortune 500 companies, supporting them in their development and leadership by working with them on the alignment between their personal values and their professional activities.

Prior to coaching full time, le Gentil spent over 30 years in business in various industries, working for leading multinational companies in the areas of media consulting, marketing, and advertising. She then founded and spent 10 years as CEO of an entrepreneurial start-up (in metals recycling).

Hortense is part of the MG100 Coaches, Marshall Goldsmith’s Pay It Forward project, and is a certified Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered™ Coach. She has been selected to receive a Thinkers 50 coaching award for excellence in her field. She is the author of Aligned: Connecting Your True Self with the Leader You’re Meant to Be.

Speaking of Women

BAY PATH UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES THEIR NEW PRESIDENT

Sandra J. Doran,

The Bay Path University Board of Trustees is honored to announce that Sandra J. Doran, J.D., has been selected by unanimous vote to become the sixth president of Bay Path University effective June 30, 2020. She will succeed Dr. Carol Leary, who retires in June following her 25-year presidency of Bay Path.
President-elect Doran’s appointment is the culmination of a comprehensive ten-month national search process to recruit, in Chair Jonathan Besse’s words, “the candidate whose experience, energy, and vision will build on the mission-driven and innovative legacy of Bay Path and propel our University into the future.”

“Sandy Doran is a charismatic leader who cares deeply about women’s education and is passionate about access to education and student success,” said Besse. “She has an impressive and broad background in a variety of complex organizations, all of which flourished greatly under her leadership.”

A respected higher education leader, innovator, and academic entrepreneur, at present Doran is the president of Salem Academy and College in Winston-Salem, NC. As president, she led an inclusive and aggressive strategic planning process that resulted in a transformation of the College as evidenced by unprecedented growth in enrollment and fundraising.

“I am humbled by the trust the board has placed in me to continue the spirit of innovation here at Bay Path,” Doran said. “The visionary nature of President Leary is inspiring and unprecedented in higher education, and I look forward to working with the Bay Path faculty and staff to build on her legacy. Serving our students, and providing them with a superior learning experience, gives us all great joy. I look forward to engaging with all members of our community, students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and our business and philanthropic partners.”

Under the leadership of President Carol A. Leary, Bay Path was transformed from a small, traditional women’s college to a nationally recognized University offering undergraduate programs for women, and master’s and doctoral degrees for women and men. With a student population of over 3,300, Bay Path has stayed true to its mission of providing a career-focused education by developing innovative academic programs that respond to the evolving workplace. Bay Path’s continued commitment to women’s education is best exemplified by The American Women’s College, the first all-women, all-online bachelor’s degree program in the country, and the Women’s Leadership Conference, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020.

Before serving at Salem, Doran was Chief Executive Officer at Castle Point Learning Systems (CPLS), a company that develops innovative teaching and learning technologies incorporating artificial intelligence and adaptive learning algorithms to provide better student outcomes in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Prior to her position at CPLS, she was president of the American College of Education in Indianapolis, IN, where she grew the organization into the fifth largest graduate school of education in the country, serving more than 5,000 adult and nontraditional students. Her professional experience also includes positions at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, as well as at the New England Board of Higher Education as the National Policy Director. Early in her legal career she transitioned into higher education, joining Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, in 2004 as Chief of Staff, Vice President, and General Counsel.

Doran currently serves as chair of the Board for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation and on the Board of the Online Learning Consortium. She was named the Triad Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO, and Power Player of 2019.

According to Patricia Pierce, CFA, immediate past-chair of Bay Path University and co-chair, along with Besse, of the presidential search committee, Doran’s involvement with national organizations and her entrepreneurial leadership give her a firsthand understanding of the challenges faced by higher education. “Sandy is drawn to Bay Path for all the right reasons, and she is the right candidate to forge an exciting and leading-edge strategy for the University’s future.”

President-elect Doran holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Syracuse University College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Southern Methodist University. She and her husband, Stephen, have two children, a son Adrian, who resides in Providence, RI, with his wife Elizabeth Howland, and a daughter Dana, who lives in Washington D.C.

Community Connections

DR. SEUSS BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION ON MARCH 7TH AT SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS

It’s fun to have fun and we’ll show you how at the Springfield Museums Celebration of the 116th Birthday of Dr. Seuss. The Springfield Museums announces the Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration, Saturday, March 7, from 10 am to 5 pm. Jenny Powers, Springfield Museums Family Engagement Coordinator has been planning for this activity-packed party since the day after last’s year’s record-breaking event.

Powers has a whole lot of Dr. Seuss Birthday edutainment (education + entertainment) in store for visitors. “When we celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday, we celebrate the joy his work brought into learning to read for generations! And we have so many wonderful ways to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday this year”

This action-packed day features birthday cake tasting; puppet shows and sing-a-longs; literacy-based activities; art and science activities; and meet and greets with The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2, the Grinch and the Lorax!

All activities are free with museum admission! (Activities and times listed below.)

An annual event at the Springfield Museums, celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday was made especially exciting in 2017, when the Museums opened the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum—the first and only museum dedicated to the Springfield Native author who revolutionized learning to read by making it FUN!

Please note that while the birthday activities will be open to all visitors, timed tickets for the Dr. Seuss Museum will sell out fast. Visitors can order advance tickets online at http://www.SpringfieldMuseums.org.

<strong> Today’s Highlights</strong>

Celebrate with Cake! 11 am-3 pm
Get four tickets to sample cakes throughout our science, history, and two art museums! Taste these sweet treats created by local bakeries to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

Music of The Cat in the Hat Songbook, 11 am-12 pm and 1-2 pm
Local musician Chris Eriquezzo will bring to life lively songs like “Plinker Plunker” and “The No Laugh Race,” and just plain silly songs like “Cry a Pint,” from The Cat Hat Songbook with lyrics composed by Dr. Seuss.

Mr. Vinny’s Shadow Puppet Show, 12 pm and 3 pm
Mr. Vinny from the Toe Jam Puppet Band presents a dynamic and hilarious family show! He specializes in storytelling with unique puppets! Get ready for lots of jokes and audience participation, and a few fun surprises!
Ongoing Activities
Meet Your Favorite Dr. Seuss Characters, 11 am-1 pm and 2-4 pm
Get a high five and take your photo with the Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2, the Grinch, and more!

A Present Just for You, 11 am-3 pm
Every child ages 0-12 will receive one free board book by Dr. Seuss to celebrate our favorite author’s birthday! Read your new book together at home to remember the fun you had at the museum! (While supplies last.)

Share Your Memories, 11 am-3 pm
Museum visitors of all ages are invited to participate in a conversation to explore the nature of thinking, memory, and imagination; inspired by Dr. Seuss’s book: Oh the Thinks You Can Think. Graphic notetaker Sita Magnuson and her team from Dpict will translate topics and themes that emerge from discussions into images in real time, creating a massive poster of visitors’ memories and experiences. We want you to be a part of the story! Spanish translation will be available.

Strolling Magic with Malik the Magic Guy, 11 am-3 pm
Malik is a full time comedy magician with over 25 years of experience performing for family, corporate and college audiences. His close-up magic and card tricks will amaze you!

If I Ran the Garden, 11 am-3 pm
Since the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden opened in 2002 more than 3 million people have visited! If you could add one wacky creature to the sculpture garden, what would it be? Use model magic to create your own inspired piece.

Super Scrambled Bird Name Generator, 11 am-3 pm
Use our silly Bird Name Generator inspired by Scrambled Eggs Super! to name new type of bird and decorate a coordinating egg.

Art Discovery Center, 12-4 pm
Trace Chinese characters, try on costumes, play gallery games, peek under lift-up panels on the Wall of Symbols to discover the meaning behind Asian motifs, put on a puppet show, and make an art project. Today’s Project: Make a Cupcake Liner Lorax.

This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities.

Health & Wellness

Fertility preservation VS Cancer

Some of the most emotionally difficult conversations I have in my office on a weekly basis are those with patients who are diagnosed with cancer and come to me for fertility preservation. There is a psychological “double blow” hitting them all at once: not only is their cancer itself scary, but they are also worried that they will not be able to have children afterwards, because chemotherapy and radiation – while lifesaving – can damage their sperm and eggs.

Fertility preservation is a paramount concern for both men and women facing cancer treatments. Cancer patients are understandably focused on their treatments, but fertility preservation should not be overlooked. Here are some common misconceptions and insights that often surprise patients and even some of the medical community:

Understanding Fertility Preservation Timelines
Many people believe that the time required for fertility preservation procedures will delay cancer treatments and decrease their success. I am happy to say that this is not true; fertility preservation can be done within days for men and weeks for women. Fertility preservation is done in conjunction with a patient’s cancer schedule and with the clearance and collaboration of their oncologist.

Men and Fertility Preservation
Chemotherapy and radiation can permanently damage a man’s ability to make sperm afterwards. Some men regain the ability to make sperm in the years following their cancer treatments, but many never do. Therefore, it is critical to freeze, or cryopreserve, their sperm samples prior to initiating any treatments. This process can happen very quickly, even on weekends, when timing is critical.

Women and Fertility Preservation

Oocytes, or eggs, are extremely sensitive to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Making this problem even worse is that women have a finite number of eggs that must last a reproductive lifetime. The major concern is that cancer treatments will severely damage this egg supply making fertility very difficult or impossible afterwards.

Women have three main options for fertility preservation.

First, they can freeze their eggs ahead of time – called oocyte cryopreservation. With this option, women can preserve their future fertility while also maintaining their reproductive autonomy. This gives women who are not in a committed relationship at the time of egg freezing the ability to fertilize them with any sperm source in the future.

Second, if the woman is in a committed relationship, she can freeze embryos using her partner’s sperm.

Third, we can give them hormone suppression medications during chemotherapy to hopefully protect their egg supply from chemotherapy. This last option is not foolproof, and results can vary drastically, whereas egg and embryo freezing represent a much stronger, more reliable form of fertility preservation.

Family-Building Options for Cancer Patients

Even patients who have already completed their cancer treatments before coming to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility specialist (REI) can still build their family. Not all patients lose their fertility entirely and still can conceive with the help of fertility treatments even after chemotherapy treatments. Additionally, even those whose fertility has been severely compromised or lost can still utilize donor sperm, donor eggs, and even gestational carriers. There are many ways for a person to build his or her family, and we are here to help each patient find the best one for them individually.

Fertility Preservation from an Oncology Perspective

There has been a movement in the medical oncology community over the last 5-10 years to recognize the importance of fertility preservation.

The American Society for Clinical Oncologist (ASCO) states in its practice guidelines that counseling and services for fertility preservation should be immediately available for cancer patients of reproductive age. Modern oncology centers are at the forefront of helping their patients preserve their fertility by sending them to us for egg, embryo, or sperm freezing before they start cancer treatment.

How Much Does Fertility Preservation Cost?

Many states have recently passed laws mandating insurance companies to cover the costs of fertility preservation procedures for both men and women. Connecticut was the very first state in the country to pass “Melissa’s Law,” and we are very proud here at RMA of Connecticut that we had a hand in lobbying for it and getting it off the ground. New York will become the sixth state once its new mandate goes into effect in 2020.

Even if a patient does not have any insurance, or their specific policy somehow circumvents these laws, there are many resources for men and women with cancer to be able to afford fertility preservation procedures. Livestrong-Fertile Hope is a non-profit organization that provides free medications and financial support that many fertility centers, including RMA of Connecticut, work closely with.

Fertility Treatment and Cancer Risk

A very important topic is whether fertility treatments increase the risk of cancers. I am happy to report that many studies over many years have found NO LINK between fertility treatments and female breast, uterine, or ovarian cancers.

A research study was recently published that found no increased risk of breast cancer among women who had undergone IVF treatments. (“Ovarian Stimulation for In Vitro Fertilization and Long-term Risk of Breast Cancer,” Alexandra W. van den Belt-Dusebout, et al; Journal of American Medical Association, 2016). This study is one of the largest and most comprehensive studies to date on this topic and confirmed earlier research that showed similar findings.

In summary, there are many excellent fertility preservation options for both men and women these days. These treatment options can fit into even the tightest cancer treatment timelines and give hope and future family-building options for all our patients.
For more information on RMA of CT please visit: https://www.rmact.com
About Joshua M. Hurwitz, MD Dr. Joshua Hurwitz is a Partner in Reproductive Endocrinology at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) and is board-certified in both Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Dr. Hurwitz joined the practice in 2006 with a passion for patient care and teaching. In addition, he is Division Director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) services in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences of Danbury Hospital.

About Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMA of Connecticut) RMA of Connecticut is a leader in fertility care, specializing in a range of infertility treatments. Our assisted reproductive technologies (ART) include intrauterine insemination (IUI), in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS). RMA of Connecticut is Fairfield County’s largest fertility clinic and egg donation center. Through RMA of Connecticut’s Integrated Fertility and Wellness Center, we offer nutrition counseling, individual and couples psychological counseling, acupuncture, and yoga, as well as financing and support services for our patients going through infertility treatment.

Community Connections

Charitable Mobile Marketing Program Gives Companies the CSR Key to Drive Profits

 

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become such a key driver of business success that Newsweek recently put out a list of America’s Most Responsible Companies for the very first time. Laura Saggese, Co-founder of Wrap For A Cause, is a trailblazer in the creation of authentic CSR programs.

“The buying, investing and employment decisions of many millennials are increasingly guided by a brand’s socially-conscious initiatives,” explains Saggese. “Corporate charitable giving has been around for decades, but only now is there a proven link between a business’s social commitment and the bottom line.”

Saggese points to statistics shared by the Reputation Institute that indicate 40% of the reputation of a company is related to corporate responsibility and CSR has a multiplier effect when it comes to a company’s stock value. Additionally, “company mission and values” was the number one reason (33 percent) of jobseekers chose to work for one company over another.

However, people don’t just want to hear about a corporation’s support of a charity or issue, they demand to see it in action. That insight combined with Saggese’s extensive corporate and philanthropic experience, inspired her to create the not-for-profit Wrap For A Cause program that addresses the three areas of corporate social responsibility: environmental, social and corporate governance.

“Businesses can not only spread the news about their good works with eye-catching graphics on vehicles that become mobile billboards, they can activate a second layer of charitable giving,” she adds.

Saggese explained that a Wrap company sponsorship not only includes a donation to the charity of their choice, but when a college or university fleet van is used, the school also receive a donation. The designated charity also earns 10% of the net proceeds from Wrap For A Cause after covering of the cost of the design, manufacturing and application of the vinyl decals.

Wrap For A Cause is designed to be the driving force for a company’s social media marketing plan as well. The customized colorful decals feature the hash tags of the sponsor and charity beneficiary for sharing across social media channels when supporters snap photos.

“Younger generations not only publicly advocate for their chosen cause, they personally show up to support the charity’s efforts,” said Saggese. “When they participate or volunteer for a Wrap For A Cause organization’s fundraising event like a 5k walk, they take lots of selfies in front of the van that they then post on Instagram, Snapchat and others.”

Saggese stresses that a corporation’s purpose-driven marketing campaign needs to be authentic and consistent or risk falling flat. The effort should not be “one and done”. For that reason, a Wrap For A Cause sponsorship requires a minimum three-month campaign commitment with a  price range from $2,500 to $5,000 per month based on vehicle size.

When creating a customized sponsorship plan for a corporation, Saggese recommends additional promotional channels and activities. A company should have a separate page on their website dedicated to explaining their CSR initiative and reason for their involvement. Volunteerism should be encouraged across all levels of the company to connect actions to the company’s purpose. This will also engage employees and attract new workers and customers. The company can participate in existing events or create original internal and external activities that support the cause as well.

“A sponsorship of a Wrap For A Cause vehicle is a win-win proposition as it positions the sponsor as a community leader while boosting the bottom line,” said Saggese. “Companies literally cannot afford to ignore the importance of a comprehensive CSR plan that is backed up with a solid purpose-driven marketing plan.”

The mission of Wrap For A Cause is to help local and national nonprofit organizations create awareness with a memorable, viral campaign that raises funds and awareness using vehicle wraps – one cause, one wrap at a time. To learn more visit www.wrapforacause.org or call 1-888-392-9729.

 

 

 

Community Connections

Lime Rock Park to host Alzheimer’s Fundraiser

Lime Rock Park, the historic automotive and entertainment venue has selected the Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut chapter as its 2020 Official Charity and will host the Northwestern Connecticut Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020.
There are 78 thousand people in Connecticut living with Alzheimer’s disease and 178,000 caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut chapter supports families by providing services including education classes, support groups, a 24/7 helpline, advocacy and by funding critical research to find new treatments or a cure.
“Each year, Lime Rock Park selects an official charity to support throughout the year and we’re pleased to select the Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut chapter as this year’s benefactor,” said Lime Rock Park President Skip Barber. “Through our fundraising efforts this year, we hope to have an impact on the lives of all of those who have the disease and their caregivers.”
“We are thrilled to have been chosen as Lime Rock Park’s Official Charity for 2020,” said Robin Sharp, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut chapter. “Partnering with Lime Rock Park and holding events on site throughout the year will help us reach even more people, and let them know where they can turn if and when they get a diagnosis of dementia.”
On Oct. 4, 2020, hundreds of walkers will converge on the 1.5-mile Lime Rock Park track to take part in the Northwestern Connecticut Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The event is the Alzheimer’s Association’s signature fundraiser, and is one of seven walks held across Connecticut every year. It’s an opportunity for families with loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia to see they are not alone, and come together for a common cause – to end Alzheimer’s. If you’d like to register, go to act.alz.org/walk-northwesternct.
To learn more about how Lime Rock Park is fundraising for the organization, visit www.limerock.com/officialcharity.
Executive Lifestyles

How to conduct your business self at your holiday parties!

 

by: Caterina Rando

This is the time of year for holiday cheer, parties and networking. Be the kind of woman in business that accepts all invitations this time of year. Not only can it be great fun, it can also be great for your business. Follow these tips to ensure you are thriving well into 2020.

Dress Your Best. Even if you are usually dressed down, consider dressing up a bit this time of year. Most people do for holiday events and if you do too, you will be more confident as you meet new people.

Don’t Be All Business. Don’t walk around with a beverage in one hand and your brochures in the other. Holiday parties, even for business organizations, call for more attention to what people do when they are not at work, what they are doing for the holidays and what their dreams are for 2020.

Extend Your Hand First. Many years ago, I took a guest to a networking event who knew no one. She left knowing everyone, because she walked up to people, extended her hand, said her name and mentioned that she had not met them yet. That simple strategy has served me for years and it will make you always feel comfortable in a room full of people you do not know. Try it, you will love it.

Follow-up Fast. The “fast follow-up” rule we all know, is important this time of year as well. Be sure to do any follow-up within 24 hours. This will allow you to build and strengthen your relationships well before the new year comes in.

Get out there and connect this holiday season! You have massive value to bring.
Happy Holidays!