Business and Leadership Expert, Author, and Former Senior Political Advisor
Betsy Myers is the founding director of the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University. Betsy also speaks and leads corporate workshops around the world on the changing nature of leadership and women’s leadership, work that continues in her role with the center. Previously, Betsy was a senior adviser to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, as COO and as chair of Women for Obama.
Center for Women & Business at Bentley University
In May 2011, Betsy was appointed Founding Director of the Center for Women & Business at Bentley University. The Center is a repository of best practices for corporate America to recruit and retain women leaders. Betsy will work to build relationships with corporations and share information about putting these practices into place. Visit the Center for Women and Business website for more details on Betsy’s work at Bentley.
Leadership Education at the Kennedy School
In 2003, Betsy served as Executive Director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. During her tenure, Betsy focused the Center’s teaching and research around authentic inner leadership. The results and impact were immediate and staggering. A strategic educational partnership between Harvard and The Hoffman Institute was developed which continues today. She also increased the Center’s efforts around women and leadership while working closely with the Harvard’s Women’s Leadership Board (2000-2007).
Advocate for Women & Small Business Leaders
Betsy and President ClintonAs senior official in the Clinton Administration, she was the President’s senior adviser on women’s issues. As Deputy Assistant to the President, she launched and was the first Director of the White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach. She played a critical role in Clinton’s re-election effort in 1996 and figured prominently in shaping the Administration’s legislative agenda on issues such as domestic violence, reproductive choice, breast cancer and women in business.
Betsy also served as the Associate Deputy Administrator for Entrepreneurial Development in the U.S. Small Business Administration. She implemented the SBA’s national requirements under President Clinton’s Welfare to Work Initiative and was responsible for the agency’s technical assistance, management, and distance learning programs. In a previous post, she served as the Director of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the SBA where she was an advocate for the 7.8 million women entrepreneurs in our country. Currently, Betsy serves on the Council of National Advisors of Springboard Enterprises, a national not-for-profit organization that educates, coaches and supports high growth women-led businesses that are seeking venture capital for expansion.
Her book, Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You, which was released Fall 2011. Drawing on her experiences from the Oval Office to the playground, Myers reveals that good leadership is not about having the most knowledge or power but about how you make others feel.
Prior to joining the Clinton Administration, Myers spent six years building Myers Insurance & Financial Services based in Los Angeles. She specialized in the small business and the women’s market providing insurance and retirement planning.
A Public Service Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Betsy graduated with a Masters in Public Administration, and then served as the School’s Director of Alumni Programs & External Relations before her role at the Center for Public Leadership.
Connected Leadership: What Corporate Executives Can Learn From Donald Trump’s Presidential Victory
Despite the unprecedented incivility that engulfed the 2016 Presidential election, there are many important lessons that corporate executives can learn from Donald Trump’s surprise victory. One of the most valuable and enduring lessons is that there is no substitute for connected leadership that addresses people’s yearning to be seen and heard. Indeed, whether it’s voters or employees, leaders must engage fully and authentically in order to gain trust. The full analysis of the 2016 election has yet to be written, and we still don’t know how most of the pollsters and pundits predicted inaccurately, but in hindsight it appears that Trump connected -- ardently and actively -- with his supporters, convincing them that their concerns were truly his concerns. It remains to be seen how President Trump will lead in the White House; but, for now, he offers executives seeking to galvanize their organizations some serious food for thought. How we include, listen to and connect with our people is the key to leadership success. This speech will distill, explain and assess some of this key leadership learning.
The New Pyramid of Leadership: How a changing world requires an innovative approach to how we lead
This provocative presentation will trace Betsy’s own career path from the work she is currently doing at the Center for Women & Business at Bentley University, to her roles in the Clinton Administration, at Harvard University and with the Obama Presidential Campaign. She will help attendees better understand what it will take to continue closing the confidence gap for women, talk about the different leadership styles of men and women, and give insight into what is necessary for the next generation of women leaders.
The Changing Paradigm of Leadership: The New Frontier For Women in Leadership – Including Men
How can it be that women currently hold just 12%-15% of the senior leadership (C-Suite) positions in corporate America? Why haven’t we made more progress, given that women now represent 58% of our college graduates and hold 50% of the middle-management positions? Savvy business leaders today are no longer asking “why” they should include and advance women in their organizations, but agree that in today’s competitive global marketplace they must harness the top-tier talent in their midst to survive and remain competitive and profitable. In this discussion, Betsy will discuss this popular topic and ask the question, “Shouldn’t we be bringing men into this conversation as full partners?” To truly support, retain and promote women in the workplace, we need to engage our male colleagues in the advancement of women. As a former adviser to two Presidents, Ms. Myers will use examples from the last 25 years of her career to discuss the qualities of an authentic leader. Betsy has profound insight into today's leadership styles and will discuss the important skills women need to lead them to succeed in their own workplace and into the next decade.
Being Strategic with Your Career and in Life: How to Create Your Own Personal Strategic Plan for Success
In this presentation, Betsy discusses important research and thinking around women in leadership and how to be strategic with your own career. Tracing her own personal journey in the private sector, politics and academia, Betsy brings perspective from her experiences as a successful female leader. She will help audiences understand how to confront the work-life balance question, (“Is it really possible?”), the different leadership styles of men and women, and the leadership qualities necessary for the next generation of women. Other topics discussed will include finding mentors and how to best leverage your existing network and interpersonal skills.
Traits of Resilient Leaders: How to Navigate an Uncertain and DisruptiveWorld
Business resilience takes shape in the wake of disruptive change, when we’re forced to confront unpalatable, unexpected or uncertain scenarios or events that shake our organizations to the core -- from top to bottom. Disruptive change often causes employees to lose their focus and comfort level; their energy is frequently dissipated; and their morale and confidence can plummet. Unfortunately, this is the perilous life we live in the volatile 21st century global economy, and very few companies escape dislocation at some point in time. But it’s not what happens to an organization that truly matters; what’s important is how it bounces back -- and, more significantly, how its leaders respond and react in the face of potentially dangerous and damaging crises. As Carl Jung said, "I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become." This speech will explore our leaders’ capacity for resilience in times of calamity or grave predicament, along with key leadership strategies that can help organizations survive and thrive in the most threatening and disheartening situations.
Engaging Men – The Way Forward for Women in Business
Women currently hold just 10%-15% of the senior leadership (C-Suite) positions in corporate America, even though they hold 50% of the middle-management positions. Part of the reason for this disparity is that gender efforts inside most companies have traditionally been a series of discussions, classes and conferences in which women talk to women; or when senior C-suite leaders, with the best of intentions, come away believing that these programs, plus periodic face-time, is sufficient. The good news is that most CEOs no longer ask why they should include and advance women in their organizations. But, they still don’t fully understand how to do this. An important action step is including men. Research shows that if men, the most powerful stakeholder group in most organizations, support and mentor women it can make a tremendous difference in female retention and advancement. This speech makes that case and shows how to establish trust-based professional relationships between men and women that will lead us to a gender progress that has been elusive for so many years.
All Betsy Myers Books
Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around YouPurchase Book
“Betsy’s wealth of leadership experience combined with her authentic, vulnerable delivery was extremely impactful to our leaders at Southwest Airlines. She has an uncanny ability to connect with her audience through real life examples of success and struggles. Betsy is a tremendous talent her impact has been felt throughout our leadership team.”
- | Southwest Airlines
“Betsy’s leadership principles set a global standard. They can be applied to any individual at all levels in an organization. She immediately engages, excites and encourages her audience to apply the lessons learned. It was an honor to share in her message.”
- | Hattie Hill Enterprises
“Thank you for being an outstanding guest, for letting your brilliance and experience shine, and for positively impacting the lives of our listeners. You are a gem!”
- | Pierre & Associates, Inc.
“It was our honor to work with Betsy. She is a remarkable and outstanding speaker and thinker. She really cares about people from the bottom of her heart and thus we believe she has the power to change the world!”
- | Circle & Square/Taiwan