The Fortune 500 is an annual list of the 500 most profitable U.S. companies. These are considered the most admirable, most successful companies. Regardless of profit, what company do you most admire and why do you consider it successful?
Table Topics offers members a chance to practice impromptu speaking, to think and organize their thoughts on the fly. Each volunteer (volunteered) speaker has one to two minutes to respond to the prompt.
Table Topics may sound terrifying or fun, or both. Personally, I find it terrifying in anticipation but fun in retrospection. It’s even more fun to play the Table Topics Master to create and ask questions. Below are the questionsI asked:
Fortune 500 CEOs are leaders of large corporations that employ hundreds of thousands of people. What sort of skills does it take to be a leader of a large corporation? Does it require skills different from those required of a small business leader?
We celebrate female CEOs and leaders because there are obstacles for women that do not exist for men. Some of these barriers are self-created due to internalized discrimination. No matter your gender identity, what are some obstacles that you have observed or experienced? Are any of these obstacles self-created?
Fortune Magazine ranks the world’s most powerful women in business. One criterion is the size and importance of her business in the global economy. Can you describe the importance of your industry and your work in the larger economy?
Another criterion for a powerful businesswoman is the health and direction of her business. For instance, Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, is focusing on electric cars, and recently partnered with Nikola, a rival of Tesla that faces allegations of fraud. Have you observed a company or leader headed in the right direction make a bad decision? Or have you yourself done so?
Another criterion for a powerful businesswoman is the arc of her career. For instance, Julie Sweet worked as one of few women in a top tier law firm, yet she still took an opportunity with Accenture and became CEO within 5 years. How would you describe the arc of your career? Did it shoot straight up? Did it ever waver or dip?
Several of our members stepped up to the metaphorical podium. Sai shared her favorite company, Amazon. Jojo discussed the importance of having a big vision as a big business leader. Kushboo spoke to the situational aspect of obstacles at work. Oiza gave a shout out to her employer IBM, the leading technology company. Renee spoke to the alignment of team, product, and timing needed for success. And Lakshmi stressed the importance of starting small to make big progress in your career.
How would you answer these prompts?
As a member or guest of the club, you can always volunteer to speak during Table Topics. See you at our next meeting on June 9th, 6:45 p.m. PT!