January 28, 2013

Research Spotlight: ICEDR Special Report – Taking Charge

Thank you to Lauren Ready, MIT Sloan alum  and Director of Marketing at ICEDR for this blog post. ICEDR is for a network of 35 companies and 25 business schools focused on leadership. Below is a summary of their Special Report: Taking Charge.


A research study, Taking Charge, by ICEDR (headquartered in Lexington, MA) interviewed 60 top female executives in 20 companies in 19 countries in order to understand what high-powered women leaders do that makes them successful.

ICEDR found that the women executives interviewed take charge of their work and personal lives in three common ways: they explore who they are, own their choices and repay others.


Consider Kristin Peck, a member of Pfizer’s executive leadership team. Kristin has explored many career paths: from commercial real estate finance, to real estate private equity, to investment banking, to management consulting, to an HR strategy job, to a general strategy job, to leading innovation, and going back to business development. Kristin’s advice to young women: “A plan is a nice thing to have, but a career is an obstacle course. It’s not a path. There is no straight line.”


Think of Liz Espin Stern, Managing Partner, Washington D.C. at Baker & McKenzie. As a third year associate, Liz took the lead on launching an immigration practice at a time when many large law firms did not necessarily have immigration practices. Launching such a practice so early in one’s career is rare: associates are typically dependent on having an infrastructure and hours provided to them. But Liz stepped up and took the initiative. Liz’s advice to rising women executives: “Dare to be a pioneer.”


Take Susan Yuen, Chief Executive Officer for the Hong Kong branch of ANZ. A few years ago, Susan decided to take up oil painting. She was such a prolific painter that she painted over a hundred pieces of art. At first, she wasn’t sure about what to do with all the paintings. Her solution? She sold them for charity and built a trust worth nearly $200,000. She put the money towards funding the education of an orphan, who is now a doctor in Malaysia. Susan explains: “Success to me is about a legacy.”