lisa-leslie-nyu-sternConnie was at the top of her game. Not only brilliant and good at her job, but calmly efficient, tactful and nurturing in an approachable way. Even early on doing summer jobs, she had shown an aptitude for business that was more than just knowing how to turn a profit. She had an ability to work across genders and cultures, listening to her peers and discovering the extraordinary gift of stopping the swirl in a meeting with grace under fire. She would soon learn that none of her skills and gifts had gone unnoticed.

Odd, really, considering how double-paned the glass ceiling of her company had always been. But there was a new CEO who was bringing with him some things he’d learned during his time at NYU Stern. He had been the mind that had led the small web design company Connie’s employer, Delta Systems, had just purchased and no one had thought he would be put in charge. While he was smart, sure, and obviously innovative, he still didn’t seem to come with much more cachet than starting a cool design firm.

They didn’t know him or what he had discovered while studying the extraordinary thoughts and ideas of NYU Stern Professor Lisa Leslie.

Roger Arliss was 24 when he started Oberon Creative, a web design/graphic arts firm. What had come in the 5 years since was an incredible growth that had shot them into the stratosphere. It started with what he had begun learning while at university, a belief in how business worked. He valued the ideas that were born from different backgrounds. His company had been awarded for its diversity almost since day one. He had more women and other minorities in executive positions than any other company of its kind and it had proved to be a benefit that had opened the eyes of Delta Systems.

When Roger came into the company, the first thing he did was meet with all of the different managers, upper and middle, one on one. He didn’t believe in group meetings. People tended to either hold their tongue or try to kiss up. Roger didn’t like kiss-ups, but he loved unique and those willing to standout, even if it wasn’t fashionable. Connie’s name came up constantly as someone who valued what others bring to the table, a born delegator while knowing when to pull forward.  She was someone who could look at a situation from the various sides of those with whom they worked and grow it from there.

The two met and Roger instantly saw that Connie understood the benefit of diversity while also bringing it from her own life. She was someone who had coupled her obvious business acumen with instinctive people skills and Roger knew she epitomized all Professor Leslie had said were those women who would change the face of a company. Connie was a woman who could not only break through that glass ceiling, but she would usurp the men who had built it.

Roger saw Connie’s potential and knew he had to reward it. Within 6 months, she was head of marketing and being paid her worth, beyond those of her male peers. This began a march to finding other women who would do the same. Soon Delta Systems wasn’t just thriving; it was listed as a company that paid you based on your ability, not your gender.

Roger hoped Professor Leslie would be pleased.