Author Archives: Rossina

Unconscious Bias


Implicit bias or unconscious bias is a quick judgment triggered without realization by our brain, and against (or in favor of) a person/group.  It is usually unsupported, with little to no exploration and verification, because it occurs automatically through muscle memory; outside of conscious awareness.


Mr. Salt & Mrs. Pepper

One time, I provided cross-cultural management consulting to an executive mom at her home, who was relocating out of the USA.  Through the course of the day, she recognized that she, too, has had the occasional unconscious bias – from complex judgments to simple, even silly, ones.  One silly example stemmed from her child as he watched a television program for kids, called Blues Clues.  In it, there are two subjects called Mr. Salt & Mrs. Pepper.

The executive caught herself thinking: “The nomenclature is incorrect.  It should be Mrs. Salt & Mr. Pepper.”  She, then, realized: “What made me think that way?  How did I arrive as to how that’s how it SHOULD be?…imposing racial identities onto salt and pepper? What would lead me to think that Mr. Salt HAS to be DARKER than Mrs. Pepper, and how does this way of thinking affect my interaction with how I manage my direct reports?”

Indeed, the first step in moving from the unconscious to the conscious is awareness of what drives us to make the decisions we make.  S/He who does not explore the triggers is bound to be reactive, as opposed to active in handling situations, especially when the world has become increasingly complex with people from all backgrounds; with all sorts of stories.  Leaders can not afford to allow their brains to fall into reactive default mode.


Bias Against Introverts

Author Susan Cain, self-proclaimed introvert, attests to the value introverts bring to the workplace.  In her experience, introverts have often endured negative unconscious biases in extrovert-preferred national and organizational cultures.  Cain writes that introverts’ strengths include the following: “think deeply, strategize, solve complex problems, and spot canaries in your coal mine.”

Yet, much like the unconscious bias many people seem to have about age – especially when they make comments such as, “I’m dating myself!” – the surrounding dominant cultural preference and the pervasive mindset contribute towards shaping an unconscious bias that leads people to say/do things that actually reinforce the bias they do not wish to have associated with themselves.  In this example, it’s tantamount to saying, “Oh no! – I’m old, and being old is no good.  I acknowledge that, but please don’t hold it against me!”  This is what I’ve found some introverts – who do it to themselves, and others who consider themselves advocates of introverts – end up doing, all with positive intent.  For example, they may decry with outrage how one can be questioned if s/he is an introvert.

Many fail to be cognitive of the fact extroversion and introversion is about from where one gains energy – it could be from others (externally) or from self (internally).  There are several introverts who are quite loquacious, and I’ve co-facilitated with a couple of introverts who enjoy being the center of attention.

One recent corporate example took place after work at a company-sponsored dinner.  The conversation centered around how measurements are relative.  Brazilians, generally speaking, tend to consider 250 guests a “small” wedding; conversely, many Americans would consider that “fairly large.”  While one Brazilian present concurred that he had, in fact, had a “small wedding of 250 guests,” another Brazilian present shared that he had had 20.  When subsequently asked if his wife is an introvert, he widened his eyes and said, “Yes, and…I am one, too.”

The HR person present became alarmed at the question, and found it offensive.  She shared (later) that something triggered inside of herself, and that she didn’t know what it was, “but” what she did know was: “I don’t get it, and I don’t like it.”  There was no exploration into any unconscious bias that contributed to simple inquiry and response. The growth is stunted.  Consequently, the “re-action” leads no one to be in a better position than before.  The negative reaction leads all parties to feel negative.


What to Do?

We all have been conditioned to have our biases.  The first step is awareness.  Several behavioral science tools are available to uncover blind spots.  Group data clusters and normative behavioral data can, indeed, be assessed and measured.  Observable data does not explain what drives the behavior.  It can serve as a great start towards holding a rich conversation on our experiences, values, and beliefs.

Once in dialogue, it is critical to practice deep listening to one another and suspending of one’s own views.  Chris Argyris calls habitual ways of interacting that protect us and others from threat or embarrassment as “defensive routines.” This closedness prevents us from learning.

Leaders are in a constant state of connecting and learning.


“Conversations can produce genuine learning, rather than merely reinforcing prior views.”  – Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, an ambivert (who leans towards extroversion), and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  Her mother had 6 people at her wedding, her brother eloped; and, her best friend also eloped – too bad, not with her brother.  Visit

© Rossina Gil, 2019

Cain, Susan.  Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking
Senge, Peter.  The Fifth Discipline

Leadership Zen


Dr. Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, shared that part of managing the success of Pixar’s success is achieved by keeping their talent’s brains nimble by pushing them to try things they haven’t tried before.

The act of challenging your mind is an action found by neuroscientists to increase neuroplasticity (the ability to think quickly in new situations or changes to environment). And, participating in novelty has also been found by gerontologists to increase overall longevity.  Mythologist Joseph Campbell called the idea of “liberating oneself from the restraints of what we already know” as the “beginner’s mind” – which comes from Japanese Zen.  Korean Zen uses a phrase that translates to “not know mind” — the belief that it is effective to explore what one does not know.  Subsequently, ingenuity, the goal of innovative talent, is exponentially higher when the mind is kept open to the new, like children.

The problem is: When work is going swimmingly, your direct reports appear to be happy, and the clients/end-users are exuberantly pleased, what is the point of practicing about system checks?*… Inquiring about how things are going?  Don’t we know that already?  Isn’t it obvious?  *By “system checks,” I’m referring to how management is leading (or not) the lower levels of talent, which contributes largely to what is known as “organizational culture.”  All looks good from “up here” so why bother spending time on collecting more data, right?

Regardless to proclaimed espousements of the “open door policy,” most talent simply do not feel comfortable with commenting on inefficiencies, reporting degrading treatment (including harassment), and sharing other negative information.  Catmull, himself, shared how many of his Toy Story talent wanted to quit upon completion of their world-acclaimed animated feature film.  He was shocked that he was, metaphorically, “in the dark” for 5 years about how his talent felt.  Imagine losing your skilled and knowledgeable talent pool, right before you’re ready to embark on Toy Story 2!

This particular incident resulted in one of Catmull’s core management beliefs:

If you don’t try to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead. 

I call the way forward towards the unseen as Leadership Zen — meaning: developing awareness of the unknown and leading with it.  A Zen Leader ventures into the maze understanding that there is a myriad of ways to get to the unseen.  What works most effectively with your organization’s culture must sit well with whomever leads it, because it is imperative that the most senior leaders are in lock-step on shifting the culture (and maintaining) according to the organization’s values and mission.  (Some ideas are listed below).

Too much hierarchy within the organization, though, is a serious impediment, as Catmull rightly discovered.  If talent is prevented – usually by unwritten rules – from accessing others within the same organization, then the structure is producing a petri dish culture of disaster.

Personal contract example: A senior nursing director at a local hospital was fearful for the hospital patients because the negative news she delivered to the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) was stifled by the CNO from being delivered to the hospital’s CEO.  The hospital had already suffered lawsuits from administering tainted steroid shots, so the CNO was unwilling to forward more damaging data and the director was unwilling to “violate” the organizational culture – which could cost her her job.  Combine these fears with ineffective HR who lack courage and you have a scenario that aptly fits the slogan which one employee privately shared with me: “[Hospital name], where patients come to die.”

How do we get what we need to lead well?  And, ethically!

Based on experience gained in my own consulting practice, here are some positive intervention ideas:

  • Idea Incubator. Scientists (including behavioral scientists) typically use what is known as a control test and a focus test.  To isolate a group from any intervention is to isolate the group from influence – hence, they are “controlled.”  Studies show that when talent is given full autonomy to create without any repercussions the result is exponentially higher in solutions and quality than those groups which may be consciously or unconsciously influenced by other variables, such as management, time, job security/promotion, etc.  Usually, companies bring in consultants or “parachute” someone into a high-level management position from a brand name company, hoping to infuse innovative ideas.  Catmull used a variation he called the “Incubator Project.”
  • Open Space Technology. Instead of leading from the front, this approach leads from behind, so to speak.  Open Space Tech is a design for large groups (in an open room for people to move freely) to gravitate towards work-related topics which are meaningful to them and for them to contribute solutions, which then spark innovative approaches which work in conjunction with that firm’s culture.  Catmull used a variation he called the “Notes Day.”
  • Cultural Preferences Mapping. The best tool I know for this is the Cultural Navigator (a.k.a. Cultural Orientations Indicator).  You may find it at:  The distributed data on various continua of work-style preferences enables managers and teams to easily monitor the amount of diversity present or scarce in team compositions. Catmull: “Our specialized skills and mental models are challenged when we integrate with people who are different.”
  • Future (Desired) State. A Future State session is perfect for multi-national organizations, but it could also be used for a sizeable domestic company.  Since regional offices are typically heavily influenced by regional cultural factors, their structural tendencies need to be taken into account in order to obtain a systemic view of the enterprise.  Then, as a whole, where would the offices like to go?  How would they like to be?  And, how are they going to get there?  Catmull does a variation of this on individuals he calls “Braintrust.”
  • “New” Leader Integration. Created by former HR leaders at GE, this intervention is a sort of “live 360” – delivered usually within 90 days of a leader hiring/inheriting a team or adding new team members. The benefit is that other comments prompt those who initially had no comments to realize that they did have some constructive input to share.  It is critical to have a facilitator who is skilled at arbitrating and holding people accountable (meaning: no victim-speech).  If the perceived outcome is a “witch hunt,” then the facilitator is the wrong person for this helpful role.  Steve Job’s response to Catmull’s “We haven’t had a single big problem on this film.” Steve: “Watch out.  That’s a dangerous place to be.”
  • Retention Conversations. Managers need to know what the limits are for each direct report.  Kind of like Van Halen’s request for “no brown M&M’s,” what is it going to take for your “go-to” person to leave?  As life changes, this conversation is a recurring one, perhaps yearly.  There is an art to this discussion, which can be taught to managers or just delivered by an internal, qualified counselor or organization development professional.  I highly recommend the retention cards at  Catmull: “I’m talking about their long-term productivity and happiness.”

Here are some interventions which do NOT work as well (and the reasons why):

  • 360 tools. While this tool can be instrumental if it is structured to proffer specific suggestions for behavioral change(s), there seem to be a fairly large percentage of individuals who seem to intentionally use it in a passive-aggressive or “cloak & dagger” way to communicate spite towards a colleague, as though the comments are not going to them.  There is a way to be both direct and   All interventions must be handled with the intent to “do no harm.”
  • Private Roundtables. While it is helpful to hold discussion over an employee’s skills and aptitude (for a potential promotion), unless the team composition is diverse in thought and does not lead by majority rule, then the risk here may be unconscious bias leading to promote only those who think and talk like those at the next level.  Like tends to hire like.  Critical self-awareness is key here, and is usually lacking in management.
  • Annual Reviews. Whether the review is annual or bi-annual, this outdated formality is not only anachronistic, it is plain not smart for business.  Tennis athlete Serena Williams does not get a performance review 1-2x yearly, she gets it before, during, and after her swings.  I strongly recommend this tool for continuous performance support:
  • Employee Engagement (EE) Surveys. The problem here is two-fold: 1) If it is done live, direct reports do not like to provide critical feedback with the supervisor present; 2) If the supervisor is the issue (and it often is), then someone outside that group must hold him/her accountable for next-step measures – and that usually doesn’t happen.
  • Suggestion Boxes. Who empties the suggestion box?  How often?  Does it trace back to the suggester?…and without reprisal? How does the organization/group know what was suggested?  Who acts on them?  One office “lost” its suggestion box, because it fell behind the photocopy machine, and no one had checked its contents for over a year.  The real issues here are fear and lack of accountability – ultimately, poor management.
  • In-House Leadership Workshops. While I do find it critical to work in tandem with someone who lives and breathes the organization’s culture from the inside, the problem I have found with internally led leadership workshops is that when the upper levels of management participate, the inside practitioners of leadership development often render themselves futile by restraining themselves from going deep with probing questions (again, the negative influence of hierarchy).  Consequently, if upper levels of management are not challenged on their blind spots or growth opportunities, then the workshop becomes a bit of a dog & pony show / waste of time, and the executive falsely believes s/he has graduated.
Lack of candor, if unchecked, ultimately leads to dysfunctional environments.” – Ed Catmull, Ph.D.
(Source: Catmull, Ed. Creativity, Inc. 2018)
Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, a cultural integration expert, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  We increase retention.
© Rossina Gil, 2018

Shame & Blame in the Workplace


I’ve written about the Corporate Bully, the Four Fatal Fears, and Feedback; this blog is about what Dr. Brené Brown refers to as “creativity scars.” These scars stem from shame and blame. Brown’s research uncovered that approximately half of her research participants could specify a particular childhood incident at school when they were told how they were “not good” at something creative. What is even more alarming is that the vast majority of her subjects considered the incident as influential enough to shape how they viewed themselves as learners.

This is not to suggest that every child should be given a trophy and be led into false impressions that they are the next Picasso, Streisand, Hemmingway, or Slash. This is about smashing the marble that child-aged Michelangelo claimed contained an angel. Here is a case in point:

When my younger son was in 1st grade, his teacher set out to teach the students how to create a holiday house. It was the first time I had opted to make an appearance as a parental assistant. The teacher was explicit and clear in her instructions for each step of piecing the Hanukkah or Gingerbread home together. As I peered over the shoulder of my son, I noticed that the little girl next to him did not place the door and window according to how the teacher instructed. When the teacher came along to check on this “joyous” seasonal work, she stopped at the girl in front of me, furrowed her brows and loudly voiced in a tone that sounded like condemnation, “You put the window and door on WRONG! I TOLD you HOW to do it! How could you MESS that up?!” As the girl cowed her head, the room became perfectly still. It was a bully moment. Already close to the contemptuous source, I leaned in, looked her straight in the eye, and measuredly responded with steely resolve, “I did it.” (It was my succinct way of communicating: Pick on someone your own size). The teacher winced, seemingly aware that I was just a cover for the girl’s “artistic deviance,” and turned away without a word.

How does yelling at a child during a holiday project help that child learn to love learning? Creativity? School? Who will stand up for her or with her when she is publicly shamed?

Here is how a leader can deal effectively with these “strays” from instruction:

  • 1:1. Counsel the individual privately.
  • Seek to understand. Ask: What led you to place the door there?
  • Do a leadership check. Ask yourself: What more could I do that would ensure all are following?
  • Be like bamboo. Remain flexible in your instruction and consider some room for bending.
  • Encourage collaboration. Buddy system learning goes farther than going alone.

Workplace Scenario

Oftentimes, those who lead departments are so fixated on results, like the abovementioned teacher, that they fail to see how their own experience with shame has led them to re-create a system and culture of fear involving shame and blame.

These divisional heads push themselves, and consequently others, hard because someone in their past led them to feel that they were not “good enough.” It is their unfinished business. Sometimes, the fighters carry the pain forward, yet manage to lead productively and with compassion. I’m referencing the fighters who carry the pain forward and take a sadistic pleasure towards humiliating, or attempting to humiliate, particular employees. It is usually self-loathing that leads the manager to feel a momentary sense of power when shaming and blaming others.

The “stray” employee’s behavior serves as a trigger to the manager that s/he is not “good enough” at what they do (i.e. managing) or are supposed to do, and they’ll be darned if they get shamed again. It is a reflex action, or a reaction…which is re-enacting an event that caused them so much pain, the indelible mark it left has become a part of how that person shows up at work, and usually also at home.

Some ways that “shame” manifests “not good enough” behavior outside of the workplace may include the following:

  • Iron Man*. Competing to prove strength, often considered as synonymous with power.
  • Marathon*. Could be a subconscious effort to out-run something (i.e. memory) or someone (i.e. feeling).
  • Addiction. A (temporary) way to cope, distract, or numb other feelings away.
  • Constant criticism. A way to place others at a lower level in order to elevate one’s self away from a sense of unworthiness.
  • No apologies. No admission of fault or contribution is a way to avoid shame.

I’ve also heard, “But, the CEO needs someone who can handle the tough conversations that need to be done!” Yes, a strong leader is one who practices self-awareness, accountability, compassion, constructive feedback, and curiosity while handling the tough and difficult conversations which need to be done. Accepting a divisional head / manager who revels in shame and blame is only going to lead to loss of innovative talent, create a culture of fear, and contribute towards a belief system that the only functional leader is a dysfunctional person. That’s what we call negative reinforcement.

Build a better working world. Collude towards the positive.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” —Maya Angelou

*This is not to say all top athletes are pushing themselves to such levels out of a feeling of “not good enough.” It is a possible variable out of several.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, a bully neutralizer, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners. We increase retention. Visit

© Rossina Gil, 2018

Source: Brené Brown, Ph.D. Rising Strong, 2015, pg 83.

Visual Positioning


Many successful people practice visual positioning, where they visualize themselves succeeding or accomplishing something they’d like to do. That’s an internal practice. Others require something external, i.e. a role model to which they can aspire to be. My role in helping shape the future to provide more options to little girls begins with a question: Do we have any female pilots today?

You see, I fly a lot. This makes it easy to do this pet project. And, with only 6% of commercial airline pilots being women, the aviation industry is the most male-dominated industry in existence today (in the USA). I ask the question “Do we have any female pilots today?” every time I board an aircraft to the on-board, greeting flight attendant. I expect a “No” in response, and am delightfully surprised the few times I am told “Yes.” Finding a female pilot is ONLY the cherry on top (two is a bonanza!); and I post their photos on my public Facebook page (including the one above!). The finding is not the point; the question is.

First, what drives the question? Some of my friends believed I secretly wish to be a pilot. Wrong. Others believed my pilot picture posts to be a game of “I Spy.” No. One friend even believed I am “pressuring” and “forcing” girls to become pilots! Very wrong. Bottomline: It is hard for many to become what they can NOT see. If s/he can see it, s/he can be it. While my particular focus for this pet project is on little girls having more options, my bottom line regards anyone at any stage in his/her professional or personal development. More options = good; limited options < good.

Roger Bannister

In 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to break the 4-minute mile. Before him, no one believed a person could run that fast. Experts declared it was physically impossible. This belief became a “truth,” supported by people “in the know.” No one saw it to be true, therefore it was untrue and, consequently, no one tried. Historically speaking, physical competitions go back millennia, even before the “Olympics” in Ancient Greece; so, in other words, this is “just how things are.” (Have you heard that line in organizations? – self-limiting beliefs spurred by institutional history and organizational culture).

What do you suppose happened after Bannister broke the 4-minute mile? More than 1,400 people beat his record not too long afterwards. What made the difference?

Your Store

Imagine this: You are the owner of an ice cream shop. You have a frequent customer. She comes in up to four times a week, which is much more often than most. Every time she enters your shop, she asks for a specific flavor – along with her regular purchase.

  • What does her question lead you to think?
  • How many customers would it take before you listen to your consumer base?
  • What would it take for you to consider augmenting your product line?

In your organization (or as a member of society), do you see yourself as a victim of “that’s just how things are”? How difficult is it to ask a question? In pure coaching, questions result in more options. More options lead to better results. Better results create a stronger economy. What’s your contribution?

“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” – Francis Bacon

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, cultural integration expert, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners. We increase retention. Visit

© Rossina Gil, 2018

When Opposites Attract…The Big Apple meets the Athens of the South*


What is about to happen in Nashville is that (yet) another corporation, this time AllianceBernstein, is relocating its headquarters to the area. Culturally speaking, these two regional cultures are on complete opposite ends of the cultural preferences spectrum.


Ultimately, culture can be defined as: the way things are done around here.  And, what happens when a relatively large group (say, a thousand plus employees multiplied by four – including possible family — to quintuple the number) carries the belief that they come from the best city on earth with America’s “financial headquarters,” world-class entertainment, restaurants, and high fashion?  Especially for a receiving group which lauds its antebellum (i.e. Latin for “before the war” – Civil War) architecture.

Misperceptions on both sides can swiftly transform into absolute truths through verification of shared experiences (with those who share the same cultural perspective), thereby creating an echo chamber and justification to harbor resentment against those who are not doing things the “proper way.”


Successful transitions make it to the fourth and final phase into Acceptance, after passing through the phases of Honeymoon, Degeneration, and Culture Shock.


The initial phase of assimilation begins with the honeymoon period. This varies by individual, of course, and generally lasts 2-4 weeks. The individual appreciates things which are real.  Examples include the following:

  • Space. While Nashville’s city size seems pretty small in comparison to NYC, New Yorkers are accustomed to living in apartments about the size of a Brentwood walk-in closet. New Yorkers will see storage space in Nashville as the size of their NY bathrooms, and wish that they had kept all of their excess belongings, such as vinyl records, sports and/or arts memorabilia.
  • Bars.  New Yorkers will be happy to have hundreds of funky, elegant, and/or trendy places which offer happy hour every night for those post-work drinks. You can continue to only go out to bars during the weekdays because Broadway on the weekends turns into something much like the “bridge-and-tunnel crowd” – known as “tourists” in Nashville.
  • Drinks.  In addition to Jack Daniels whiskey (which is fiercely delicious even for us teetotalers), New Yorkers will be glad to live in this craft beer lover’s paradise that includes local favorites like Fat Bottom Brewing and Yazoo Brewing Company.
  • Snow. New Yorkers need not fear falling down a flight of subway stairs in the winter. Your kids will miss school for questionable snow, that you may never actually see. Nashville snow days means the city stops.
  • Talent. You’re grateful to live in a city with such musically talented people, which is how Nashville gained its moniker “Music City.” After a while, you can’t comprehend the fact that people elsewhere have to pay to hear live music. You will eventually know someone who is in an indie band, a post-hardcore band, or is a singer-songwriter. Shows are at the Ryman, Opry, and other live music venues around town are on any given night. Even the guys who play in front of Whole Foods in Franklin are amazing.
  • Rats. No more rats or cockroaches.  Nashville offers New Yorkers wild turkeys, opossums, skunks, geese, foxes, and deer…Cinderella’s preferred friends.
  • Parking.  Except for downtown Nashville, most parking around Nashville is free.  Valet is either validated or tips only.  There goes the New Yorker parking spot as a status symbol.



This is when the differences begin to feel taxing, leading one to feel less energy before the day is even over.  Here is one major example:

Driving. New Yorkers walk, use the subway, or use another form of public transportation.  You need to drive in Nashville, but if you’re from New York, you may not even remember the last time you drove a car. Couple that with Old Hickory Boulevard (a.k.a. OHB), a loop road around the entire city, and the fact that several roads in Nashville, including the OHB, can change names multiple times without warning or break and reappear somewhere else.



This is the hardest part of assimilation; some never make it through successfully.  One of my recommendations during this phase is to consider relocating after two years, if these cultural preferences are too different from your own to bridge the gap sufficiently.

There are four primary areas between NYC and Nashville which have wide cultural gaps: Direct/Indirect, Fixed Time/Fluid Time, Individualism/Collectivism; Formal/Informal & Conservative/Liberal (overlapping twofer).

Direct / Indirect Communication

Direct communicators wish to save time and to be understood without interpretation.  Indirect communicators wish to imply messages in order to maintain as much harmony as possible; the value tends to be placed on the group or “other.”  Example:

Cursing. Many New Yorkers feel comfortable not only with using expletives, they will often raise their voices when making demands.  Many Nashvillians grit their teeth and may tell you (and/or others about you), “God bless your heart.”  Even if New Yorkers do not curse or yell, to be so explicitly clear in their requests is heard — through the ears of those who prefer more harmony than confrontation –as combative and discourteous.

Fixed Time / Fluid Time

Fixed time is the belief that time is finite; it is a resource and there is only so much of it.  Fluid time is the belief/practice that there is an abundant amount of time, and time requires prioritization. Nashvillians, as a whole, are definitely a morning crowd and tend to be punctual, which will please New Yorkers.  The strong difference is New Yorkers rush everywhere even if you have no reason to, you have nowhere to be; yet, you’re still in a rush to get there. Examples:

  • Walking.  Several New Yorkers exhibit “sidewalk rage” – upsetness when people walk too slowly or when three or more people walk in a row on the street, since they block everyone from being able to pass. You might bump into someone when you’re walking and not take the time to say “Sorry” – which also violates some other Nashville cultural preferences of Being, Formal, Collectivism, etc.
  • Jaywalking. New Yorkers tend to cross streets where they are not supposed to, and before the walk-signal indicates it is okay to do so.  When walking through the city, you may have adopted a serpentine route to help you to avoid waiting for the lights to change to cross the street. Even when at fault in a near pedestrian vs vehicle collision, New Yorkers believe in the “pedestrian has the right of way” rule and may even flash the driver the bird or say, “I’m walkin’ here!”
  • Multi-tasking (Polychronic) & Doing.  To save time (“New York minute”), a lot of New Yorkers sanction multi-tasking behavior.  The intent is not to be rude.  They think it’s fine to walk, talk on the phone, hail a cab, and maybe even have a bite to eat all at the same time. Most Nashvillians see that behavior as uncouth, disrespectful, and just plain “wrong.”  They prefer to “Be” in the moment and take one thing at a time (monochronic).  You will see how they place lawn chairs facing a mountain or green landscape for no particular reason other than to breathe in the serenity of life.  You will notice how the cashier may have an actual conversation with the person in/on line ahead of you. Drivers will give you the courteous wave to merge ahead of them. New Yorkers must not make the mistake of honking.

Individualism / Collectivism

The group (collectivism) is very important to the vast majority of Nashvillians.  New Yorkers (from NYC) are the most Individualistic in the country, which is not to say they don’t value the following examples, they are just expressed differently. Examples:

  • Family.  Nashvillians have “summer hours” – shortened Fridays – to go home to children who are off from school.  They leave work to go watch their kid’s ball game or recital, and are considered “great executives” for doing so.  Nashvillians have four children, on average.  You will notice how every restaurant has a few large tables always ready.  Meanwhile, the New Yorker may talk more often to the coffee cart guy than his/her own mom.
  • Church.  Nashvillians may leave early on Wednesday nights to attend bible study.  The dominant churches for this area are Church of Christ and Southern Baptist.  Several Nashvillians do not consider Catholics as Christian.  New Yorkers must prepare for the question, “Which church do you attend?” and not say the gym or Central Park.
  • Friends.  Nashvillians are loyal to their friends.  Friends constitute those from childhood. This has resulted into a certain degree of corporate nepotism. New Yorkers must bear in mind the labyrinthian network of a growing Collectivistic town into a city, and consider how people who have always lived in the same area might see those who readily admit to having lived in more than five apartments as transients not capable of committing.

Formal & Conservative / Informal & Liberal

  • Hospitality.  Southerners know how to say “please” and “thank you.”  The New York, “Hey, let me get a…” is not the acceptable way to greet the person taking your order.  New Yorkers must be prepared for “Sir” and “Ma’am,” and recognize that honey attracts bees.
  • Elephant Herd; Donkey Passel. East Nashville is the Nashvillian blue spot. New York Liberals would do well to remember that TN is Trump country and ixnay on the presidente.
  • Religion.  With around 750 local churches, several national religious headquarters, and the world’s largest bible producer (Thomas Nelson), religion is a big deal in Nashville. (Bear in mind that wherever there is restriction, there is also a wild side).  Nashvillian couples tend to marry early and have children early.



People in transition generally reach acceptance after 9-12 months.  This is why I recommend a staggered approach to corporate relocation.

  1. Relocate First.  This group actually is comprised of the top half of the corporation who tested for readiness several months prior to the proposed timeline.
  2. Relocate Second.  The next 34% (i.e. Late Majority) can relocate after the third quarter.
  3. Replace/Virtual.  The bottom 16% or so tend to opt out.  If possible, consider them for virtual employment. To hire locally, recruiters must be able to effectively articulate the corporate values and accurately paint a picture of expectations; otherwise, be prepared for (perceived or actual) internal subterfuge.

Historically, the most effective cultural mergers have been more of an infusion…blending “old world” behaviors with “new world” traditions and customs.

Start, Stop, and Continue.


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, cultural integration expert, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  She is the author of the Corporate Looking Glass: Using Culture for Your Competitive Advantage, available on Amazon and used at graduate business schools in the USA and Europe.

We increase retention.  Visit

© Rossina Gil, 2018


*The statements here are intended to be generalizations and not stereotypes.  If you are a New Yorker or Nashvillian and do not fit into the generalizations made, please do not be offended.


Advice to Your Younger Self

Joseph Campbell authored an impactful book entitled The Power of Myth.  In it, he writes how it is important for the Master to take the time to re-visit the basic principles, as if a novice once again.  And, so, it is that we benefit from re-visiting lessons learned.  From honest reflection, we can grow in the direction that works best for us.

Interestingly, I’ve found that nearly all of the reflections I’ve garnered from professionals comprise sage advice for our “younger selves,” a.k.a. entry-level workforce.  The detriment is: these reflections sans experience or context may sound like conundrums, riddles, or trite adages.  This is where serving as Mentors to younger professionals is useful.

I recently asked my professional colleagues: Knowing how your career has developed, what’s one great piece of advice you would offer your younger self — if you could — just as you were embarking upon your career?

Here is what they said:

Be true to yourself and believe in yourself. – Lynne Brown

Value curiosity over the need to prove you have the answer and always first pursue joy and purpose in whatever you do. – Joel Hasenwinkel

Understand and pursue your passions. Don’t be afraid to take risks. – Michael Brasher

Every career move need not result in growth but should give you diverse exposure….along the way, build a network of mentors and sponsors. – Johnson Dammu

Patience. Put in the hard work, years and years of it. It will be recognized, and additional opportunities will come. But, know…it likely won’t happen as fast as your 25-year old self wants. – Mark Haden

Welcome the feedback. It will help you grow, if you are true to yourself. – Gabe Ramirez

I would say watch for the subtle, positive shifts, give yourself more credit for what you can do and surround yourself with people who want to grow and learn. – Denise Murray

To make the world a better place, the least one can offer is to share the best of our experiences forward.

Joseph Campbell:

He who thinks he knows, doesn’t know. He who knows that he doesn’t know, knows. For in this context, to know is not to know. And not to know is to know.”


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Global Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners. She is the author of The Corporate Looking Glass: Using Culture for Your Competitive AdvantageWe increase retention. Visit


What Executive Coaches Should and Should NOT Do

Exec Coaches

Most leaders recognize they either don’t have the skill sets to coach or they don’t have the time.  While being a strong leader entails having the ability to coach, the fact remains that companies pay for us executive coaches to come in and partner with senior management on flexing their style.

This “style stretch” may be a result of an upcoming promotion, settling into one’s position better, working with a different regional culture, or to rectify egregious behavior that does not sit well with peers and direct reports.

These lists below are to help companies and executives become aware of what to expect, and what to look out for, when engaging executive coaches…


Set Objectives.  These may be professional or personal objectives, as the areas tend to seep into each other.  E.g. Executive presence, motivating direct reports, managing up, learning indirect communication, etc.

Expect Regular Reports.  The company (or individual) paying for the executive coaching should receive quarterly reports, which share the progress towards a goal.  What indicators demonstrate that certain objectives have been met?  These goalposts should be established ahead of time within the Strategic Learning Contract (SLC).  What is the goal?  How much time are you dedicating on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to get there?  What are the resources you need?  Who are the people who can help you get there?  What does it look like when you have achieved that end goal?

Expect Measurements.  Progress must have its metrics.  It could be an X% increase of a business goal.  Perhaps it’s the number of people who wish to meet with you 1:1. Numbers must be attached for the quantitative crowd.

Guarantee Confidentiality. One huge benefit of working with an external executive coach (or a bonafied internal industrial psychologist) is that all of the details are kept private.  Otherwise, externals can be sued, and certified internals could lose their license.

Hold the First Session In-Person. Body language accounts for 55% of communication, and it is not all in the face. Fidgeting, foot-tapping, ring twisting, etc, cannot be easily seen via webcam; and, each carries its own meaning.  Plus, anyone who has ever argued that webcam is “just the same as” in-person is equating attending a live symphony with hearing the music on the radio.  There is something to be said for vibe.

Meet Regularly.  Not more than one month should lapse between coaching sessions.  It is hard to stay on task, otherwise.  I generally recommend every two weeks, although, serious coaching issues may require twice weekly.



Settle for Bias.  Coaches are subjective, too; and, they may tell you what they know you want to hear.  This gets you nowhere.  Let them praise you when your metrics kick in positively.  If you have a coach who never pushes back and (gently, yet firmly) holds you through a line of inquiry to some degree of accountability for whatever predicament you raise, then you may have a co-dependent coach…they would like to keep getting paid.

Settle for Unconscious Bias.  Some coaches bring their unconscious bias into the room, which is a red flag that s/he is not an expert coach.  Jumping to conclusions or accusations, e.g. “You lied to me;” labels, e.g. “You’re being childish;” and other forms of subjective experience, e.g. “You can’t say you’re ‘comfortable in your own skin’ just because you are [race]” are forms of bias that muddle your journey; not clarify the steps for your path.

Allow the Coach to Dictate Actions.  Coaches are there to help you become aware of solutions that work best for you and your situation.  Best practices can be raised to spur ideas, but your coach is raising a red flag if s/he starts telling you what to do.  Coaches are thought partners; not judge and jury.

Accept if Not Committed.  Unless the coachee is wholeheartedly ready to seek out ways to be more effective in workplace interactions, an executive coach is set up to fail.  Coaches succeed when their clients succeed.



One Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) hired a friend of his who called herself an executive coach.  The CHRO hired her to work with a VP who had a terrible case of team attrition.  Unbeknownst to her, the human resource team fully intended to let the VP go, regardless of the outcome – which was never measured.  They simply paid the CHRO’s friend to have sessions with the coach, who occasionally vouched for her progress, and then the HR team documented that they had performed “due diligence” in supplying the VP with assistance before they laid her off.

This approach was not only contrary to the company’s espoused values of integrity and transparency, it communicated the HR team’s inability to recruit the right individual, hold the VP’s supervisor accountable, provide the VP with critical feedback along the way, and to hold a constructive conversation with her themselves so that the VP would not be blindsided with her own inefficiencies – despite turning over three entire teams.  No one had ever stopped her from mishandling her team.  Why? Because she ultimately provided results.  The end justified the means.  Or did it?  Everyone failed.  There was plenty of collusion which negatively impacted many families, and over a long period of time.

Leadership Development is the #1 human capital concern.  Spend your money wisely.


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is an Executive Coach who also provides Global Leadership and Organization Development.  She is the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of executive coaches.  The team aims to make the world a better place through “A-ha moments” that reduce stress and increase productivity.  Please visit




RACI Acronym

Any change efforts within an organization requires METRICS to measure how the organization was before the intervention and to measure it again post-intervention.  Otherwise, money and time spent without follow-up will not lead to any substantive change, and the change efforts will merely become showcasing; just a way to appeal to consumers.

When an organization which strives to provide equitable treatment to all of its talent desires to bring in Diversity and Inclusion Practitioners, there are four important steps to follow:

  1. Aligned Leadership – Is there 100% support by the C-Suite? (If not, stop here and replace whichever officers are not in alignment. This is preparation for readiness). How is leadership going to get involved?
  2. Establish Awareness – What is the issue here? How does that tie in to the brand?  What makes this issue relevant to our consumers/stakeholders?
  3. Strategy for Implementation – RACI: Who is responsible? Who is accountable? Who is to be consulted? Who is to be informed?RACI Matrix
  4. Metrics – What are we aiming for? What does success look like?  How do we do when we have arrived at our target or future desired state?

Perhaps the most important part of a Diversity and Inclusion program is what is known as CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (coming in at Step 2: Awareness AND Step 3: Implementation). CBT is not teaching us things that we didn’t know, rather, it reminds us of what we need to do.  It is less about imparting information and more about building new habits.

Change can be scary for some. By repeatedly facing whatever it is that they’re afraid of, employees gain confidence in themselves.  It does not help anyone to be told, “Your fears don’t make sense.”

Indeed, cultures are created and shaped by reliance on repetition and a systematic approach. Consistent and progressive practice combined with accountability partners is what gets an organization to a higher cross-functional level of interaction and into a higher level of positive work climates.

Maintenance of any relationship, whether it be interpersonal or systemic, requires regular reminders of where we are and where we’d like to go.

A strong Diversity and Inclusion strategy incorporates elements from Psychology, Organization Development, Marketing, and Sociology.  The only way to ensure Diversity & Inclusion efforts are going to create a systemic impact is to use a cross-disciplinary approach.

This is what Corporate Looking Glass, LLC ( excels in executing.


“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” – Robert Davies

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Global Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner.  She is the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of executive coaches.  Please visit


The Dark Triad: Your Colleagues

Dark Triad

Narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism form what is called “the dark triad.”  These personality profiles are found to be fairly common in normal work settings.  They fall into the category of Counterproductive Work Behaviors (CWB), which cost organizations millions, if not billions, of dollars annually.

While I’ve touched upon Machiavelli HERE, this blog is about recognizing the traits within your organization.


The Narcissists

First, a distinction between those who are narcissists and those who have Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD).  The latter is a mental illness where the individual has self-esteem issues, and some sort of deep sense of shame and humiliation, but come across as attention-seeking, confident individuals.  They usually do not have the wherewithal to rise to power, because they crumble at the slightest criticism.  Narcissists will react to challenges and criticism with rage; not anger.  This is because they have exaggerated views of their achievements and abilities, and their most pressing needs are for admiration and praise.  They do not like to share the spotlight, as they are envious beyond measure.

Narcissists tend to draw people in with their charm and overabundant self-confidence, but that is, in essence, the love they have for themselves.  The rules do not apply to them, so they offer no apologies, but expect loyalty.

Narcissists rarely, if ever, see anyone as their equal.  (E.g. Larry Ellison; Steve Jobs).  They are “more worthy” than others and, therefore, believe they are entitled to power, money, and prestige.  Not only are they heavily critical of others, they believe they have the right to exploit and control others to their advantage without feeling guilty. They can be profoundly apathetic and even ruthless towards others. In fact, they feel better when degrading others.

INFECTING CULTURE: Narcissistic leaders excel in communicating their inspirational messages and ambitious visions. This allows narcissistic leaders to draw their audience in and shape their beliefs (Have them “drink the Kool Aid” – a reference to infamous narcissist-psychopath, Jim Jones).  The effect of instilling a vision as truth or fact is particularly effective on those who are inclined to be servile and laudatory – essentially, the quiet type who doesn’t like taking a stand or voicing opposition, they just like to follow.  Together, the narcissistic leader and the submissive direct report(s) form a co-dependent relationship.  One wants to self-feed his/her need for dominance, while the other wants to follow.  (Freud had a field day on this topic).  In fact, vast amounts of empirical data, suggest that narcissism is at full force within an organization when the toxic triangle consists of the following three components: 1) narcissistic leader, 2) susceptible followers, 3) contaminated environments.

FINANCIAL RISK: Narcissistic leaders tend to make more impulsive and risky decisions, such as tremendously overpaying for a company acquisition.  This behavior is a reflection of their megalomania (delusions of wealth, power, and/or knowledge); although, not all narcissists are megalomaniacs, but all megalomaniacs are indeed narcissists.  They may be the CEO of a small to medium-sized company, but close the deal by flying in on their own jet, due to their egomania (excessive vanity, pride, arrogance), while touting how ecological the company is.


The Psychopaths (Social Predators)

First, the term “psychopath” is used interchangeably with “sociopath”; however, the serious distinction is that psychopaths are more dangerous.  Not only do they need a human to take advantage of (usually after isolating the prey from others), predatory behavior is their most prized objective in their life.  This is what separates them from the narcissist, although they can certainly be both (e.g. Harvey Weinstein).  For the sake of this blog, we shall stick with the model.

According to Drs. Babiak and O’Toole, psychopaths are more commonly found in corporate settings than in the overall population.  Psychopaths are parasitic in that they experience positive emotions when they see/cause others to suffer, and negative emotions when they don’t.  Their most important priority is getting away with it; not getting caught. (E.g. Matt Lauer, Bernie Madoff; Jerry Sandusky).

INFECTING CULTURE: Several have earned an advanced degree, such as Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. degree (e.g. Ted Bundy).  Psychopathic leaders are more likely to either describe themselves as hands-off managers and/or practice a laissez-faire leadership style.  Consequently, their teams end up being less engaged and more dissatisfied w their jobs than the corporate norm.

FINANCIAL RISK:  Psychopathic leaders may be praised for their capability to make tough decisions and stay calm in the heat of battle; however, this misperception is actually the inability to feel emotions.  While it may be argued that negotiations require separating emotion from business, the war for talent may well become the war on talent, leading entire divisions towards failure and significant losses.


The Machiavellians

Machiavellians are politically savvy psychopaths who are more likely to engage in counterproductive work behaviors, especially the type that concerns mistreatment and betrayal of work colleagues. They are the most socially skilled of the three types within the Dark Triad, because they are capable of manipulating and influencing others by pretending to agree with them while hiding their true intentions.  They use others as stepping stones and use lies/deceit to advance themselves.

There is a strong overlap between Machiavellians and psychopaths, in that both are characterized by clear deficits in moral standards and empathy.  The distinction is that psychopaths purposely set out to hurt others for enjoyment, whereas Machiavellians will injure someone solely for socio-political advancement and/or financial gain.

While a narcissist exposes him-/herself with anger and jealousy over someone else’s success, a Machiavellian is not delusional, can mask their true emotions well, and will accept the success of someone else if that means s/he could also move up the ladder.

INFECTING CULTURE – Since Machiavellian leaders are socially intelligent and unethical, they end up accomplishing their goals as they harm others, thereby fomenting a “dog eat dog” work climate.  For example, Travis Kalanick, founder of Uber, allowed several of his executive leaders (at HQ and across world regions) room and direction for unethical and questionable behavior. Dissension is created.  Top talent is lost (e.g. Susan Fowler, Uber engineer).

FINANCIAL RISK:  Machiavellians have crooked ethical views that lead to justification of their corrupt behaviors. (E.g. Enron’s “Burn, baby, burn“). In today’s social media world, sooner or later, most Machiavellians are bound to have short-lived successes and long-term career struggles.


What Ado about Something

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT.  Research indicates that corporate organizations which use leadership development interventions benefit from focusing on the dark side, in part because dark side traits predict how leaders respond to coaching and change interventions. Narcissists are incapable of assessing their own performance, since they always overrate their abilities. Because they believe they are perfect, narcissistic leaders are likely to be the ones who resist coaching and developmental interventions altogether.  It’s for other people to do.

COACHING.  If you manage to get a narcissistic leader in a coaching opportunity as coachee, remember that s/he is more likely to react defensively to negative feedback. Business psychologist Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic: “There is arguably no better way to spot a narcissist than to question his talents and see how he responds – the more self-obsessed and deluded a leader is, the angrier this will make him.”

360-DEGREE ASSESSMENTS.  This tool can be used to effectively identify workplace psychopaths, but they also tend to produce many false positives.  Once identified, bear in mind that in most cases, psychopaths they will not change.  Leaders will have to openly demonstrate the ability to be self-critical in order to be seen as more self-aware by their peers and direct reports.  When leaders lack self-awareness, their dark side tendencies create toxic work environments, damage morale, destruct team cohesion, reduce productivity, spike attrition, and cause other corporate maladies because they are incapable of recognizing others’ perceptions and of making attempts to modify their ineffective behaviors.


Society’s current largest workforce, millennial employees, is asking for more feedback than any previous generation.  Building self-awareness, especially awareness of one’s limitations, will only help any organization thrive. Therefore, having these interventions on a regular basis is paramount to organizational success and survival. Build on the two traits Millennials offer, curiosity and entrepreneurship.  Exhibitors of those traits are those whose talent must be retained.

The worst part of evil is that one gets used to it. – Jean-Paul Sartre

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Global Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of coaches. She is the author of The Corporate Looking Glass: Using Culture for Your Competitive Advantage. Visit




Babiak, Paul; O’Toole, Mary Ellen. The Corporate Psychopath.

Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas. The Talent Delusion: Why Data Not Intuition, Is the Key to Unlocking Human Potential. Piatkus. 2017.

Navarro, Joe. Dangerous Personalities. 2017.

Twenge, Jean; Campbell, W. Keith. The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. Free Press, NY:NY. 2009.

15 Learnings from My 30th High School Reunion

Prep Band

I remember sitting in my Economics college class listening to Professor Lary (sic) Taylor describe how he had just attended his high school reunion.  Given my interest in human behavior, I was rapt with attention, as though I was hearing the words of a prophet prophesying my future.  Indeed, many of his findings concurred with my own 30th high school reunion.  I have starred (*) these six below.

First, I never intended to be the organizer for my reunion; that’s life for you.  I had missed two earlier big markers of time.  Namely, the 10th reunion was too close to my wedding to attend. And, my parents both died right before my 20th reunion, so I did not have the heart to attend.  Losing my mother led me to want to have a “family reunion” with my community.  The outcome resulted in planning the 30th to include anyone who lived in my hometown as a student in the 1980’s.  And, so, my mission began.

Here are the 14 learnings I take away from this experience on 9.9.17:

  1. *Be Kind…you never know what someone is going through. The strangest guy in my graduating class ended up in San Quentin prison for pedophilia. As it turns out, he was sexually, verbally, and physically abused by his father since he was a toddler.
  2. *Entrepreneurialism Works. A couple of my schoolmates never went to college and are financially successful and self-taught.  I never doubted it as possible, and it was rewarding to see it.
  3. Mama Mía. One of the absolute poorest schoolmates has become one of the most wealthy among us, both financially and spiritually. She adopted three children as a single mom.
  4. Generosity & Otherwise. In order to be inclusive to all I made the reunion entry a nominal $19.87.  Three schoolmates made sizeable donations towards expenses, and several paid-it-forward on the entry.  There were roughly a dozen who couldn’t comprehend why they should pay any amount, and a few dared to show up without paying (*freeriders).
  5. Bueller? Even a couple of “popular kids” were afraid to return; with some not coming at all.  One schoolmate claimed to have to breathe in his car for 20 minutes before he could join in.
  6. *Sing “Memories,” Babs. A lot of people forgot a LOT of details from the past.  For some, the fond memories got jogged back.  For others, there was closure on lost loves and/or grievances.  For all, the event felt like getting back in touch with one’s self, but a better version of one’s self.
  7. *Party on, Dude. The high school partiers are still the partiers.  Despite being rabble-rousers, they are an inextricable ingredient to a lively reunion.
  8. I Did; I Do. The girls who experimented early (on a campus which imposed a double-standard) ended up being devoted, long-married women.  Love, and let love.
  9. ‘80’s Medley. One of the great joys that added to the exponentially intense emotional highs was gathering with those schoolmates who preceded and succeeded us; not just one class, and not just for those who actually graduated.  It was a true community event – one which even included parents.
  10. *Back in Time. Several of us described how incredibly unusual it was to hear the same voices and hear the same laughter after all these years, and be able to recognize them. This enabled us to “time travel” emotionally.
  11. Before & After. Having a slideshow of how we were “back then” and having the schoolmate stand next to his/her slide photo when their name was called proved to be very useful. Some I failed to recognize upon first sight, and others I didn’t know had shown up until they stepped up. Individual recognition among a group of classmates to the larger student body introduced a “Venn diagram” of connection which was palpable.
  12. Repetition & Resilience Pays. There were numerous monkey wrenches thrown at every facet of the event: from venue to cupcakes; the worst being no cell phone coverage. I determined the Rule of 7…if I haven’t communicated, like an advertisement, at least 7x, then I must hold only myself accountable.  
  13. *Forever Young. We laughed; we cried. We lost 16 alumni in less than 35 years.  Given the smallness of our alumni group, that averages to roughly 6% of our student population.
  14. Scathed. No one seemingly gets through the gauntlet of 30+ years of life past high school without some form of tragedy, trauma, or grief touching us. There were tales of divorce(s), jail, death(s) of loved ones, lost employment, financial ruin, illness, etc.
  15. Success Defined. It all depends on how one defines success, of course. I define it as balance. From my observations, it appears that the ones who have achieved the most balance in their lives are not necessarily the ones who earn the most money, or have the most education.  It seems to be the ones who have successfully found the right partners, family, and/or friends to surround themselves with…constantly.  Positive chemistry.  That may sound like nothing new, yet, it is one thing to know it; and, quite another to witness it at this juncture in life and work, on such a grand scale.

I am grateful to have had my sons serve as volunteers at this event, simply for this last learning.  The challenges of life are hard to face without the love and support of those who know you at your core.  THIS is family.

I can cross this off my bucket list.


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a proud member of the Class of 1987, Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  Visit us at

©Rossina Gil, 2017