Clarity Management Consulting

Posts Tagged ‘women’

Women Business Owners Serve on Technology Group’s Board of Directors to Cultivate Innovation in Central New York

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Rhonda R. Cabrinha and Monica D. Johns have some things in common. They are both business owners and members of Women TIES (Women Together Inspiring Entrepreneurial Success). Cabrinha is vice-president and equity partner at Ellis, Moreland & Ellis, a locally owned Independent Insurance Agency. Johns is president and CEO of Clarity Management Consulting, a Syracuse-based consulting firm. Both women are also members of the board of directors of the Technology Alliance of Central New York (TACNY). Might this suggest something about women business owners and geekdom?

You bet it does, according to Tracy Higginbotham, founder and president of Women TIES. “It sends a powerful message about women entrepreneurs and their commitment to be fully engaged in securing the prosperity of their communities,” says Higginbotham. As Johns says, “TACNY’s mission supports what has been identified as a critical business imperative, the importance of which cannot be overemphasized, namely the need to advance innovation by increasing the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).”

TACNY’s work supports local schools and other educational institutions in their efforts to generate interest in the STEM disciplines among middle and high school students. “Technology and innovation are the building blocks of Central New York’s future prosperity. TACNY’s programs are essential for motivating the next wave of innovators,” said Cabrinha.

TACNY is a nonprofit organization that has served the Central New York community since 1903. TACNY hosts science and technology presentations geared toward middle school students and supports a myriad of local and regional student events, including the Science Olympiad middle and high school competition and the CNY Rocket Team Challenge, just to name a few. The group also offers lectures and tours that address the interests of technology professionals, educators, and other adults who simply want to become more tech-savvy.

TACNY’s signature event is the Celebration of Technology Awards Banquet, slated for September 19, 2011. It will feature Deanne Bell, possibly the most popular woman engineer in the country. As a television personality, Bell is best known as co-host of PBS’s Design Squad and host of DIY Network’s Money Hunters ( ). Organizers are looking to ignite students’ passion about science and technology, and they believe Bell is just the speaker to do it. Visit for event details.

Rhonda R. Cabrinha, CIC is vice-president and equity partner at Ellis, Moreland & Ellis, a locally owned Independent Insurance Agency. She has more than 35 years of experience in the insurance business and held numerous positions with National Grange Mutual Insurance Company prior to joining Ellis, Moreland & Ellis. Rhonda holds the Certified Insurance Counselor designation (CIC). She is a Regional Director of IAAC, the Membership Services Division of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of New York. She is actively involved in the Syracuse I Day committee, which she chaired in 2009. Rhonda is the 2005 recipient of Syracuse’s Insurance Person of Distinction Award and a past president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Central New York. Ellis, Moreland & Ellis ( provides insurance protection for individuals and businesses throughout New York State.

Monica D. Johns, MBA, PMP®, president and CEO of Clarity Management Consulting (, has more than 25 years of technical and business experience including positions with General Electric, Corning, and General Motors. Her background includes engineering, process improvement, team development, program and project management, and consulting. She earned her MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University at Buffalo. Johns received her Six Sigma Black Belt from the Institute of Industrial Engineers and holds the Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential conferred by the Project Management Institute. Clarity transforms businesses from the inside out. With expertise in project management, process improvement, collaboration, and team development, Clarity uses process improvement as an enabler for clients’ strategic goals.

Tracy Higginbotham, president of Women TIES, helps women entrepreneurs in New York State expand their local, state, and regional marketplace. She serves on a variety of business advisory boards and is a guest speaker on a wide range of business topics for local chambers of commerce and business organizations. Tracy is also a columnist for the Syracuse Post-Standard and a two-time recipient of the SBA’s Women-Owned Business Champion Award for Region II. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and postgraduate studies in Business Management. Women TIES ( provides a variety of exceptional networking, development, and marketing opportunities for women business owners each month.

Self-Sufficiency: A Key Factor in How Women Entrepreneurs Approach Risk Sharing

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Self-sufficiency is a characteristic that influences the way women share risk as entrepreneurial leaders.  Women play diverse roles in their professional and personal lives.  Consider a woman who has a career, a family, and an elderly parent.  Each role demands a high level of commitment.  These roles do not always come with additional resources for delegation.  Consequently, the woman who has to fulfill these commitments must do the job herself in many cases.  This results in a level of self-sufficiency that is unique to women.

Women develop an acute sense of responsibility in these situations.  This is an essential part of risk sharing.  Entrepreneurs shoulder complete responsibility for their businesses.  These leaders often have to step in and take up the slack in critical situations to ensure success.  Women who succeed as entrepreneurs become proficient at delegating responsibility while holding themselves accountable for business results.  They learn to share risk over time.  Their self-sufficiency in meeting the challenges of their day-to-day lives provides a unique foundation upon which to build these skills effectively.

Comments on Management Styles

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Changes in Management Styles

Management styles have evolved to meet the challenges of a tumultuous business climate.  The global environment has been in flux for well over five years.  The financial meltdown of the last three years exacerbated this.  The managers who have been effective during this period are those who were either adaptable already, or who learned to adapt as things changed more rapidly.  In turn, they helped their teams become flexible as well.

The Role of A Manager

Managers must realize that they play multiple roles.  Managers are part of the team and as such, they have to know when to play a collaborative role.  They also serve as coaches when needed.  On the other hand, they must communicate the overall strategic direction, as well as defining boundaries and required outcomes.  Teams are rendered ineffective when a manager is not proficient in juggling these roles or does not recognize what is needed in a given situation.

How to Identify the Impact of Your Management Style

You need to find out how you are affecting your team members, and the only way to do that is to ask.  360-degree feedback is indispensable.  The approach can vary.  I recommend that managers do things to cultivate relationships with direct reports so that healthy communication becomes the norm.  This will help ensure that feedback comes naturally rather than just being part of a formal discussion.

Ways to Change Your Management Style

Build a level of trust with a few key direct reports who can serve as sounding boards.  These people will benefit the most from any improvements in your behavior.  Conversely, they will suffer the most if you do not change.  Why not get their input on how to change?  A simple approach would be to ask a team member to observe various behaviors and report the observations, with some thoughts on how to be more effective.  This will provide some critical and, perhaps, surprising insights.