The Op-Ed Project, featured at length by The New York Times and by Katie Couric on her CBS Notebook Series, raises the voice, profile and leadership potential of women experts in all fields. We work with top universities, nonprofits, corporations, women’s organizations and community leaders across the nation. Our program is designed to share the tools of powerful argument, and also to inspire and cultivate a sense of thought leadership by encouraging participants to see their potential impact on the world.
The Op-Ed Project has worked with several of the world’s largest financial institutions, media companies, and leading management consulting firms, as well as The White House Project’s Corporate Council (top women executives from Fortune 500 companies) and Yale School of Management. In the corporate context, our program is designed to provoke and advance thought leadership, making women executives more visible and more valuable.
Studies, including two recent reports by McKinsey, have demonstrated the link between the presence of women’s voices in corporate management teams and companies’ bottom lines. And yet, the lack of women’s voices here is among the most pronounced. Despite their growing ranks as CEOs, owners of small businesses, and members of corporate boards, women continue to be underrepresented in companies’ executive structures, in the media as leading voices on the private sector, and in key business forums. For example:
• The World Economic Forum, Davos
• Forbes Global CEO Conference, Singapore
• Business Roundtable
Source: The Corporate Council / The White House Project
We tailor every program to the needs and culture of an organization. In the corporate context we focus on powerful argument and thought leadership, not op-ed publication per se (although top level executives do sometimes wish to publish op-eds). Commonly requested options are:
INTRODUCTORY SEMINAR (1.5 - 2 hours) addresses concepts and structure of effective short-form argument, including: how to establish authority, quickly and decisively; how to build consensus and change minds (the difference between being “right” and being effective); and how to make a powerful, evidence-based argument for an idea or cause that you care about. We explore what we know and why (“credibility” and “expertise”), and ways of thinking bigger about what we know and our potential value. Executives leave with a greater sense of the value of their knowledge and experience, and how to clearly communicate it.
FULL SEMINAR (4-6 hours, over one or more days) expands on the introductory seminar in concrete, immediate terms. We explore how to present ideas quickly and powerfully under pressure; how to preach beyond the choir; how to preempt counterarguments, and ways of escaping a pigeonhole. We review techniques and tools of persuasion that appear in some of history’s most powerful arguments (speeches, essays, op-eds and more that have changed the world). We examine the building blocks of persuasion and the value of seeing your argument as part of a bigger picture—and yourself as part of a larger conversation. Executives typically emerge with working drafts of concrete, powerful written arguments for ideas, policies or causes they are championing.
EXECUTIVE SEMINAR SERIES: A regular series can be tailored to a group’s needs, to provide ongoing coaching or follow up, to develop women’s leadership and voice in specific business contexts, or to accommodate a revolving group.