Recap of Rosalie Mandel’s Powerful Women’s Leadership Kick-Off Dinner Speech

As many have already heard, a small group of Leadership Development Honors Program students have created the Women’s Leadership Program whose core mission is to give opportunities, educate, and empower prospective women in their career journey. This mentoring program has took off on an amazing start as Leadership women begin to meet with their mentors and learn such valuable information to propel them to a new level of learning and success.

Rosalie Mandel with the Women's Leadership Program founding team (From L to R: Allison Kruse, Dhara Patel, Rosalie Mandel, Noel Girgenti, Rowena Klein, and Sheena Shah) Photo courtesy of Michael Reuter

Rosalie Mandel with the Women’s Leadership Program founding team
(From L to R: Allison Kruse, Dhara Patel, Rosalie Mandel, Noel Girgenti, Rowena Klein, and Sheena Shah)
Photo courtesy of Michael Reuter

At the night of the Kick-Off Dinner, key note speaker, Rosalie Mandel, gave a powerful speech that definitely resonated with the audience and incited a new wave of enthusiasm. She is a lively, down-to-earth woman who spoke about the need for self-confidence, work-life integration, and her career journey which held so many lessons with each and every detail.

On behalf of the Women’s Leadership Program, they would love to share her incredible insights with all those who unfortunately could  not attend so that these learnings can reach a broader audience and hopefully impact their lives just as it did for the attendees.

Thank you, Rosalie, for enlightening us and passing on the secrets to your legacy and success! We only wish you the best on your endeavors!

Attached below are the notes from Rosalie Mandel’s speech on October 2nd, 2013:

I. Self confidence – how you see yourself/your self-esteem

  • Always show you are confident even when you are not
  • Dress for success  – have executive presence
    • It’s how we behave, our body language, how we speak, what we say
  • When you walk in room – everybody should turn to see you and want to know who you are
  • Having no confidence has ruined both men and women’s careers
  • Keep positive people around you
  • Don’t say “sorry”
  • Confidence helps you stand out

Men always show confidence – if there is a job opening- a man would grab the opportunity even if he only had 1 out of 10 qualifications.  A woman would go for it even if she had 9 out of 10 qualifications.

Confident behaviors

–> Compare


What you believe is right.

Don’t change your behavior based on what others think.


Take risks and go the extra mile.

Don’t stay in your comfort zone.


Admit your mistakes and learn from them.

Don’t cover them up or try to fix it.


Accept a compliment – say “Thank you”.

Don’t brush it off as it was nothing.

Key: even if you are not confident, always show it!

This takes time – it’s not a revolution, it’s an evolution.


II. Corporate culture and how to navigate it in achieving a highly successful professional personal career

Culture makes a difference

  • Culture is key especially for women.
  • Join a firm that has a good culture:
    • Flexibility
    • Open door policy
    • Able to speak up and not worry about your career
    • Politics: it’s needed and can help you succeed if you know how to play the came and find your sponsors
    • Sponsor – Tell your sponsor only the good
    • Mentor – Tell your mentor the good, bad and ugly

Politics go against our moral code; we want to be straight shooters but politics is how power is managed.

It’s not optional.

Women are good at it because it’s about managing relationships and “getting the job done”.

Relationships– women are great with clients, vendors, peers but not so much with those above us.

Some say, it’s:

1)      Lack of confidence

2)      Lack of sponsorship

Tips to flex your political muscle

  1. Make a map
    1. Most organizations have an informal social network – Just like a  corporate hierarchy
    2. Chart out peer groups that have influence
    3. Get to know them and their spheres of influence – they can help you.
  1. Cash in your chips

Women don’t like to ask for favors or trade on relationships.

We may use it occasionally but don’t see it as a key exercise in leadership.

We fail to seek out powerful people and cultivate favors as a demonstration of leadership potential.

  1. Campaign for your career
  • We keep our heads down and get the work done.
  • We won’t be asked or selected for those high level jobs without building a coalition.
  • Campaign as if you are running for office.
  • Articulate a perspective, create a platform and line up sponsors.

It is not possible to opt out of the political game and get to the highest levels of an organization.

Critical success factors

Coming out of college

  1. Technical – be great at what you do
  2. Work hard
  3. Be hungry – have a drive, a motivation, a desire
  4. Be connected- relationships are what women are great at
  5. Self-learner- get out of comfort zone
  6. Be mentored and be a mentor
  7. Be a value creator- stand out
  8. Raise your hand- take the opportunity
  9. Persevere no matter what comes your way
  10. Persistent- never give up

Sheryl Sandberg – Lean In

  1. Lean into your career and don’t take your foot off the gas pedal before you really need to
  2. Make your partner and true partner
  3. Sit at the table

I have a son and a daughter.  I want the same for both of them – they both should be successful and be recognized in their careers and they both should be successful and fulfilled in their personal lives.


I see some incredible women out there right now.

You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t.

Tonight I have give you some tools to think about and apply.

Society needs you.

I need your help to change corporate America.

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