Too often we associate “leadership” with being in a senior management position, making big decisions & big salaries.  Oh, we quote Gandi & Mandela, but in the work context we all too look to the CEO’s of corporations for leadership lessons.

Yet the simple truth is that leaders are those who lead people to make a difference – we hope a positive difference!  And the other simple truth is that leaders are able to lead others because they can lead themselves.

Cindy Ross Pederson

Cindy Ross Pederson

Cindy Ross Pederson is a leader who leads herself and others in making a difference – a positive difference. Jane always knows the coolest people; she introduced me to Cindy, whom I met in a coffee shop prior to a client meeting. I was immediately struck by her presence – she conveys presence.  Years ago when Mary Corcoran & I interviewed senior executives about the qualities they seek when filling senior positions they cited “presence — an individual has to have presence at senior decision tables & when they walk in the room.”  Enter Cindy – with her presence, her ability to communicate clearly, succinctly, & in the language of the listener.

Having built a highly successful technology company Cindy sold it for a profit that allows her to shift her focus to being a “strategic volunteer.”  In her former role as entreprenuer CEO Cindy dealt successfully with investors, bankers, employees at all levels, clients, partners & stakeholders.  She had a clear focus, & used that clear windshield to ensure that the company was taking the right turns at the right time — not always easy, not always popular, but necessary to get the company to its successful destination. Now she uses that incredible expertise & talent to work with non-profits to help them channel their efforts into measurable, meaningful differences.

To quote Cindy, I’ve been working forever, entrepreneurial since 1985, sold my business in 2006 and after orchestrating a very successful merger and exit, I retired at 49. Rather than start another business, I am redirecting my skills, expertise, and contacts towards making a difference in the productive years I have left.” Cindy now volunteers with non-profits to help them “strategically frame and operationalize your corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects or portfolio. The work covers developing or refining a strategic framework that aligns your CSR activities with your business mandate, finding and positioning partners and projects to activate your plans, and establishing metrics that measure and report on your impact. Service fees are redirected to charities.”

That’s a leader.  And what’s even better is that Cindy has an infectious laugh, which just adds to her delightful, tough-when-necessary personality.

Thanks to Jane, again, Cindy has agreed to work with us at OLA’s “Leadership Renewal” on February 24, 2010, where her focus will be, what else? – “clarity”.  I’m so excited.  There’s nothing like working with people with passion, purpose, personality & competence.  Ah…..clarity…..being clear on our purpose, & the purpose of our organizations, services & programs. That’s making a difference.  Check out Cindy’s site.