Year: 2013

All Year: 2013

August 1, 2013

The Magic of Self-Image

 “The image that concerns most people is the reflection they see in other people’s minds.”

– Edward De Bono

We grow up learning from our parents, our teachers, learning from our mistakes, learning by watching others and modeling ourselves after those we admire. At some point, we develop that all important self-image that dictates who we are… we act in good times and bad, how we treat others and most importantly, the amount of confidence we have in living the lives we choose.

Our self-image controls the confidence with which we seek opportunities. When we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and finding ourselves lacking, it holds us back from taking a risk or asking for what we want. This is the kernel of truth that women like Sheryl Sandberg have been addressing lately. We can be our own worst enemies. When we are not paying attention to the power self-image has on us, we often do not realize the destruction that can happen in our ability to reach our goals.

How often do you find you are comparing yourself to others in the room and the voice in your head says “I am not as smart,” “I am not as pretty,” “I am not as articulate.”

I grew up a very shy, introverted girl, the oldest child of very smart parents who never told me I couldn’t achieve anything I wanted. The voice in my head, however, held me back because I let it tell me not to fail, not to draw attention to myself, not to disappoint others. The early failures that I should have learned from, pushed past and tried again left me with doubts about my ability. I still hear that voice occasionally when I walk into a room full of people but, with the help of good mentors, role models and friends, I have learned to push past it and listen to a new message….”stick out your hand and belong here.”

I am blown away when I watch this YouTube video because it illustrates this point so well: Dove Real Beauty Stretches

The impact our self-image has on our success as leaders cannot be over emphasized. As I illustrated with my own story, we can’t always change that voice in our head without help from others. The encouragement we can get from a mentor, a friend, a colleague is immeasurably important. When the voice has a different message for you, it changes how the world looks and how you feel in it. When that voice has another message, “I am capable and I deserve this,” you are ready to take on that big project, ask for that promotion or seat on a corporate board.

I believe Cable is providing that kind of support to many through the Mentoring Program we run each year for young leaders and the new Women on Corporate Boards Incubator Program. Cable provides that support through the nearly 600 members who can be that mentor, coach, friend, ally to you. Ultimately, it is up to you to understand how your self-image is impacting your ability to achieve your goals.

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
– J.M.Barrie, Peter Pan

To all you Peter Pan’s out there, are you encouraging others to fly?

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July 29, 2013

“The Emperors New Clothes”

Naked Leadership

When you first found yourself making a presentation or a speech in front of a group, what was the advice people gave you?  I am sure, like me, it was a universal phrase, “Picture them naked.”  That way you will not be as nervous.  Not doubt we have all had this kind of advice and some may have actually tried picturing their audience with no clothes.  FYI:  if I have been in your audience, please don’t tell me….keep it to yourself.  I can’t say I have followed this advice specifically but after all the presentations and classes taught over my career, I still get nervous and conjure information about my audience that will calm me down.

Fear and doubt are natural human characteristics.  These traits are what can keep great leaders grounded.  It is what keeps them in touch on a personal level with those that work for them. But, fear and doubt are also the two most common barriers to leaders being successful.  Fear and doubt can result in behaviors that create an untenable and non productive environment where no one wants to work.  Leaders who have learned how to handle nerves and approach new experiences using fear and doubt as agents for personal development tend to be admired by those who follow them.

Bobby Knight may be one of the most recognizable examples of leadership gone bad.  For a time he was able to form teams of highly talented and motivated players who executed as a unit, who graduated within four years, and won 902 games, more than any other Division I team.  At Indiana, the Hoosiers won three national championships under his leadership and he also coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal.  He motivated his team through fits of temper, irrational outbursts, arrogance and mean spirited temper tantrums. Fear of losing?  Doubt in his ability to get a win?

Abraham Lincoln on the other hand is an example of a cool head under pressure.  He was aware of his own fears and doubts and had the ability to control his emotions and work through his team to great effect.  According to Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Lincoln biographer, he treated those he worked with well. However, he did get angry and frustrated, so he found a way to channel those emotions. He was known to sit down and write what he referred to as a “hot letter” to the individual he was angry with and then he would set the letter aside and not send it. If he did lose his temper, Lincoln would follow up with a kind gesture or letter to let the individual know he was not holding a grudge, said Kearns Goodwin.

After reading the Time Magazine article titled “What Makes Powerful Men Behave So Badly,” you wonder how many leaders have taken fear and doubt to an untenable extreme.  How many of us has been at the mercy of a narcissistic boss and how many have had promising careers derailed as a result.  It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female, the impact to your self esteem is devastating and only the brave survive.  I mean by brave those who have the guts and wherewithal to look the ego laden, power hungry boss or leader in the eye and walk away knowing there is something better to be found.

In the extreme, fear and doubt manifests as pure selfishness.  A purely selfish boss says by his action that only what he thinks and feels is what counts. No one else, especially those who report to him, matters. Ultimately people get tired of the boss and they do the one thing that such bosses fear the most; they tune them out. They simply stop listening and stop following. Oh yes, they comply in order to get the work done, but they fail to commit to excellence.  And then, the team fails.  And the boss is laid naked, fear and doubt for all to see.

Questions or Feedback?  Email: Donna Yurdin

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July 20, 2013

Board Walk of Fame

20 Jul 2013 10:42 AM |

Nashville Cable Taps Warren Buffett Biographer Alice Schroeder to Keynote 2013 Board Walk of Fame

New York Times Best-Selling Author and Wall Street Analyst Talks Governance, Markets and Buffett

While working as a financial analyst, she was persuaded by Warren Buffett to take a sabbatical to become his biographer, as he famously stated that he “likes the way she thinks.”

Nashville, Tennessee (PRWEB) July 19, 2013

Nashville based Cable today announced that Alice Schroeder, Warren Buffett’s chosen biographer and former Wall Street analyst, will offer the keynote address for its fourth annual Board Walk of Fame. The 2013 installment of the breakfast event will be held from 7:00-9:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 19 at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena.

Ms. Schroeder offers a unique perspective on her topic, “Bulls, Bears, Buffett and Boards,” borne from a career as a top ranked Wall Street analyst, FASB regulator, external auditor and New York Times best-selling author. While working as a financial analyst, she was persuaded by Warren Buffett to take a sabbatical to become his biographer, as he famously stated that he “likes the way she thinks.” Schroeder spent several years with Buffett, his business associates and his inner circle prior to publishing her book, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. Now an independent director on a number of corporate boards and a world-renowned speaker, Schroeder is known for her practical and entertaining take on financial markets, board governance and, of course, Buffett.

“We are extremely pleased to bring Ms. Schroeder to Nashville for the 2013 Board Walk of Fame and to share this opportunity with the local business community,” said Susan Huggins, executive director of Cable. “The event combines thought leadership from one of the world’s top investing minds with high-level networking among Tennessee business leaders, including Board Walk of Fame honorees.”

The Board Walk of Fame is open to the public and is presented by Cable’s Women on Corporate Boards, Women Corporate Directors, Lipscomb University and Avenue Bank. Sponsorship inquiries may be directed to Co-Chairs Mila Grigg or Mary Fink at

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Angela Novak
Corner Office Communications
(615) 406-0715

About Cable and Women on Corporate Boards

Nashville Cable is Tennessee’s largest and most established network of professionals with nearly 600 members and a 30-year history of helping women reach their full potential. The organization’s mission of “Moving Women Forward” has shaped its networking programs and advocacy initiatives, and created a forward-thinking infrastructure for expansion nationally. Cable’s hallmark initiative, Women on Corporate Boards, is dedicated to increasing numbers of women on Tennessee corporate boards and in the executive suite, and to helping lead that movement nationally. Cable is a member of the InterOrganization Network, an alliance of 15 women’s organizations with a common mission across the U.S. This provides a national context for benchmarking research and enhances our resources to effect positive change in Tennessee.

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June 20, 2013

The lesson of Karl Wallenda

Karl Wallenda was the founder of The Flying Wallendas, an internationally known daredevil circus act remembered for performing death-defying stunts, often without a safety net.   When Karl fell to his death in 1978, his wife noted that his focus had changed that day from simply walking the tight rope to not falling.  This subtle change in his attitude would cost him everything.  

During that same year the women who formed CABLE decided to focus on walking across a metaphorical chasm with no safety net, spanning a past with little to no equality of professional opportunity for women to a future promising more true equity if we would continue to focus on walking and not on falling.  Thirty-five years later, we celebrate their courage and vision and we are as committed as ever to seeing that vision realized.  Some of these founders chatted with us about that experience recently.

Our predecessors fought for and earned the right we exercise today to choose our own path, what we do with our lives, how we live it and how we share it.  I take inspiration from the Robert Frost poem, one of my favorites, to launch a new CABLE year of countless opportunities to continue walking my path with all of you.  When I joined CABLE it was at a time when my path was diverging and I had to choose which direction to head.  CABLE provided a support system and resources in making that choice possible, leaving a job and starting a business.

With your help, the Board and I will continue clearing paths for women and the opportunities they need to make choices about their own path and what success means for them.  There is still work to be done so that your daughters and granddaughters may truly have equity.  You and CABLE have a part in making that a reality.


The end of the poem is where I would like to begin this year as President of CABLE.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

  ~Robert Frost

 I ask you, how can you make a difference?  I would love to hear from you about the difference you are making or would like to make in connecting women and opportunity.

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