Deborah Streeter is the Bruce F. Failing, Sr. Professor of Personal Enterprise and Small Business Management at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Entrepreneurship and small business management are the focus of Dr. Streeter’s teaching, research, and outreach activities. Her research interests include: university-wide models for teaching entrepreneurship, use of digital media in teaching, and gender issues in business and entrepreneurship. Dr. Streeter has received acclaim as an educator, based on her promotion of experiential learning, active learning, and innovative uses of technology inside and outside the classroom. In 2007, Dr. Streeter was given the Olympus Innovator Award by the Olympus Corporation. She received the Constance E. and Alice H. Cook Award in 2004, Professor of Merit Award in 2002, and was named influential to a Merrill Scholar in 1999, 2000, and 2003. Dr. Streeter was awarded the 2001 CALS National Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in College and University Teaching, and was named a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow in 2000 (Cornell’s most prestigious teaching award). She also received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2000 and the Innovative Teaching Award in 1996. Dr. Streeter holds an MS (1980) and PhD (1984) in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
The concept of “authentic leadership” has become very popular in recent times. In addition, much has been written about executive presence and how to cultivate it in yourself. Both of these things are affiliated with rising to the top.
There is an inherent dilemma for women trying to apply these concepts. Everyone expects that to move up in leadership they will have to display the “right” professional identity and work style – ones that “fit” with expectations.
But what is right and fits is heavily influenced by the majority culture of the organization, which in most cases has been established by men (mostly white, mostly older). So on the one hand, the professional identity needed to succeed includes behaviors more prominent in male culture. On the other hand when women go too far in exhibiting those behaviors, they get pushback. As a result, in certain very traditional masculinized settings, women learn to alter, repress, or hide some of the characteristics of their identities (being a mom, caregiver, acting communally). In essence, some women in certain contexts find they have to restrain their personal style in order to fit in.
In this course, designed for women in leadership positions, learners will examine strategies for incorporating being self-aware and genuine without suppressing their unique personal style.
Key Course Takeaways
- Define "executive presence" within your particular context
- Assess yourself and a role model for behaviors that support an executive presence (or undermine it)
- Practice carrying yourself with authenticity and gravitas that draw from your sources of power
- Make conscious decisions about when and how to show emotion effectively in support of a strong executive presence
- Plan the behavioral changes that will help you reinforce others' perceptions of you as a capable executive
- Refine your executive presence so that you can improve your interactions with people at higher power levels
How It Works
From 2010 to 2018, Dr. Susan S. Fleming was a Senior Lecturer at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. Currently, she is an executive educator and frequent speaker on women in leadership and entrepreneurship, a corporate director, an active angel investor and a mom. Fleming began her career on Wall Street, where over a period of twelve years she held various positions in the investment community, including that of analyst at Morgan Stanley & Co.; vice president of Insurance Partners, L.P., a $540 million private equity fund; and partner at Capital Z Financial Services Partners, a $1.85B private equity fund.
After retiring from Wall Street in 2003, Fleming began work as an educator, teaching executives, investment professionals, MBAs, and undergraduates in the areas of corporate finance, insurance, valuation, and gender bias. She also enrolled at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management to pursue a PhD in management, where her research focused on better understanding the factors contributing to a dearth of women in leadership positions in U.S. society.
In addition to her work as an educator, researcher, and business consultant, Fleming helped to found a startup company in Ithaca, NY; has served on the board of directors of five publicly traded insurance and reinsurance companies, two private companies, and three non-profit organizations; and currently serves on the board of RLI Corp., a publicly traded specialty insurer serving diverse, niche property, casualty and surety markets, and Virtus Investment Partners, Inc., a publicly traded asset management firm. Fleming has been published in the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, Psychology of Women Quarterly, the Journal of Higher Education, and Cornell Hospitality Reports and holds a BA from the University of Virginia, and an MS and PhD in management from Cornell University.
Who Should Enroll
- Women leaders in mid- to senior-level positions (10+ years of work experience)
- Women who hold or are interested in seeking board positions
- Women entrepreneurs and founders
- Male leaders seeking to better understand gender dynamics in their organizations