New York—Good leadership is built on experience, integrity and trust, according to Cathleen Black, president of Hearst magazines and a pioneer in the media industry, who delivered the keynote address during the sixth annual Women in Business (WIB) Conference on Nov. 21.
Pointing to the spate of recent corporate malfeasance, Black told the audience gathered in the Lowenstein building’s 12th-floor lounge that there is a disconnect between the public’s expectations and the actual practices of today’s corporate leaders.
“People want to trust people. But many of the places that we look to for guidance have failed us,” Black said. “The new definition for CEO,” she said later, “is cheat, evade and overcompensate.”
To defeat this notion, she said leaders should stress the importance of honesty and they should strive to empower their employees by creating an environment where people can aspire to be the best.
Black, who began her management career at Ms. magazine in the early 1970s, was recently dubbed “The First Lady of American Magazines” by the Financial Times. Hearst, the company she now heads, is the world’s largest publisher of monthly magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Esquire.
Black was one of several top executives who shared their business successes and ideas about leadership during the conference titled “Bold Ideas, Big Character: The Key to Leadership Success,” which was hosted by the WIB club at the Graduate School of Business Administration.
During the conference, executives from companies such as Ernst & Young, Saks Fifth Avenue, IBM and Merrill Lynch shared their professional experiences and advice with students, alumni and administrators. The program included several panels about networking, entrepreneurship, opportunities in technical fields and finding jobs in a tough economy, among other topics.
Among the guest speakers were Keith Reinhard, the CEO of DDB Worldwide, one of the largest global advertising agency networks in the world, and Mary Lou Quinlan, founder and CEO of the strategic marketing firm Just As a Woman. Using a question and answer format, Reinhard and Quinlan presented advice about seeking inspiration at work, asking for a raise and creating a life plan.
Asked whether women can have it all-a corporate presidency and a family-Reinhard was optimistic, pointing to women like Anne Fudge, the new CEO of WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam and Y&R Advertising. Quinlan, who is the former CEO of N.W. Ayer & Partners, thought otherwise, pointing out that the presidency is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week job that often puts women in the position of having to choose one over the other. Even so, both acknowledged that the business world has made strides with regard to women, such as offering flexible scheduling for new mothers.
During the conference, WIB also presented the GBA Alumna award to Patricia Fili-Krushel (GBA, ’82), the executive vice president for administration at Time Warner.
The Women in Business Club provides support to female MBA students at Fordham Graduate School of Business Administration through ongoing leadership development initiatives, mentoring and community outreach programs. This year’s conference co-chairs were Kara Wiese and Holly Whetsell.