Women in Sales Leadership

By: Gary Tubridy Chief Sales Executive Events, Sales Leadership

At the 2015 Chief Sales Executive Forum, a panel of women sales executives spoke at a session about the keys to success and the challenges facing diversity in the sales force, especially among women. The discussion was moderated by Rachel Parrinello, a principal at the Alexander Group. The panelists included Juli Clark, VP of Global Business Services at Cisco; Jennifer Dangar, recent President of Distribution and Business Development at The Weather Channel; Kelli Duprey, SVP of Sales at Boehringer Ingelheim; Stephanie Okey, recent SVP and U.S. GM at Genzyme; and Joanna Trimble, VP of Corporate Sales Channel at Thomson Reuters.

Some highlights:

  • Perception Is Reality – No matter the role, you’re in a people business. Women need to differentiate themselves through their leadership. Be brave and authentic by taking risks and keeping your values at the core of what you do. Find the right culture that has the balance you need long term. Finally, be curious by trying new roles and showing people what you can do.
  • Embrace Changes in Your Industry – Align your business with the customers that want to evolve with you and your company’s innovation. The change from individual to collaborative sales is creating larger territories and may impact your work/life balance. Respond to and respect generational shifts through showing interest in flexibility. This adopt and expand approach is bringing more women into leadership roles.
  • Create Solutions – Find ways to have impactful conversations in mixed company. Create gender partnership programs to raise awareness among male and female colleagues. This can lead to appreciation of these differences and how to be more effective with this knowledge.

Women bring a different style of leadership that is needed in sales. By creating dialogue within your company, you can find solutions to the changes that are necessary in the evolving shift in the work force. People tend to drift towards what is “like us,” but differences like gender, race, ethnicity and personality are what makes things interesting.

The illustration below from graphic recorder Kelly Kingman illustrates this panel discussion in a most innovative way. Enjoy!

KingmanInk_AlexanderGroup_WomeninSalesLeadership2

Learn more about upcoming Forum events from the Alexander Group.

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Gary Tubridy

Gary Tubridy is a senior vice president of the Alexander Group and the general manager in charge of the firm’s management consulting business. Gary’s consulting work is focused on increasing marketing and sales effectiveness with particular emphasis in technology and medical products industries. Gary has deep expertise in diagnosing sales management issues and helping clients execute action plans to improve results. His research is focused on best practices of leading sales organizations in North America with particular emphasis on sales force transformation and the role of sales leadership. He leads the Alexander Group executive events series and hosts the Operations and Executive Forums. He is one of three founding stockholders of the Alexander Group.


Gary has been with the Alexander Group for over 35 years. Prior to that, Gary was in sales with the IBM Corporation. Gary holds a B.A. from Brown University and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.


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