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LISTEN: Powerhouse Women Leading World-Class Organizations Webcast

Quick Background
Throughout history, women have faced unique challenges and biases in their leadership careers. In honor of Women’s History Month, CEO Coaching International spoke with three powerhouse women on a recent webcast about their personal journeys, lessons from the top, advice to the next generation of women CEOS, and how they have broken the bias and shattered stereotypes during their careers.

Speakers

Moderator: Sean Magennis

Sean Magennis is widely known for leading YPO as Global President and COO for more than seven years. He currently serves as the President of CEO Coaching International.

Panelist: Ramona Cappello

Ramona weaves her passions for advocacy and entrepreneurship in all of her ventures. She is Founder and CEO of Sun Harvest Salt, L.L.C. and also founded Corazonas Foods. Prior to that, Ramona was a senior executive with Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Company, where she led the company’s growth until the sale to Hershey Foods. Additionally, she delivered outstanding results for food and beverage companies including Nestle (creating Coffee-mate Liquid Creamers), Celestial Seasonings, and Kendall-Jackson Wineries

Panelist: Kelly Wade

Kelly Wade has amassed nearly 30 years of sales, marketing, and management experience focused on growing and leading people, cultivating unique cultures, and developing strategic long-term growth plans for a variety of industries. She spent the last decade with one of the largest commercial roofing companies, where she helped transition the company to an ESOP as the COO and led the company through a highly successful sale to private equity as the first female CEO in the national roofing industry.

Panelist: Meghan Watkins

Meghan Watkins, a native of Boston is a co-founder of Victory Wine Group; a wine and spirits distributor in Texas that opened in March 2015.Since starting Victory, Meghan has gone on to co-found Palomar Beverage Company, a management services firm along with another distributor in Florida, Progress Wine Group.In full circle, Palomar Beverage bought back Quench Fine Wines to join their growing wine and sprit enterprise.After exceeding $100MM in revenue and merging with another wholesaler called Maverick Wine Company, Meghan had a successful exit in early 2022.

Powerhouse Women Leading World-Class Organizations Webcast Highlights

Why are you passionate about women in leadership?

Ramona: The unique experience of women in leadership “was something that you just didn’t talk about when I was coming up. I’m very involved with the University of Southern California. I’m passionate about helping college students and recent grads find their voice, be authentic, and discover who they are…I really want to give back and help others to accelerate beyond the obstacles that I had.”

What biases have you found in the workplace and how have you overcome them as a woman leader?

Meghan: “I had to speak up for myself. Initially, I didn’t want to have to insert the fact that, ‘yes, I’m the founder of the company’ or say ‘I’m the owner.’ But I had to because if I didn’t, assumptions were made that I was not.

I had to pull my shoulders back and I had to be able to stand my ground on a consistent basis…. It could come across as somewhat uncomfortable at times for me, but had I not done it, then the perception would have been different in the marketplace.”

Kelly: “The truth is you, you do have to be at the top of your game in the room. As women, we really can’t have a day off because we are just under a different microscope. It’s sort of like we’re always being tested. 

I was in a highly technical [roofing], male-dominated industry. I would get: OK, what is she doing here? She can’t do this. It’s guys on roofs. 

[I would say] ‘I’m not here to put a roof on. I’m here to lead people on how to deliver the best experience of putting a roof on your facility.’ And so, I just kept saying that and sort of ignoring the haters, but I did have to speak louder in the boardroom.

I had to use ego when I didn’t want to use ego. Once I was in a role where, because of my title, they had to show me respect, I had to work on removing the ego back to who I wanted to be, and lead the way I wanted to lead. Not to lead as a man…[or] as anyone else. I think women go through this up and down and we have to adapt because society just isn’t there yet.”

Ramona: “One of the things that I often tell women when I speak to them, particularly college girls, is if you look for the bias, you will find the bias. If you look for the problems, you will find the problems. If you don’t look for them, and you keep your eye on the prize and where you want to go and you are relentless about going after it, you won’t see as many speed bumps in the road. When I look back at my formative years, I will tell you that I didn’t look for it [bias]. I ignored anything in the way. I wasn’t going to let it stop me.”

The other things are passion, authenticity, and integrity. “The core values that I was raised with, I think belong in business as well. My parents preached integrity. It is one of the few traits you are born with and only you can choose to lose it. I choose not to lose it.”

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