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Healing Leadership

Healing Leadership: A conversation with Dr. Ginny Baro about the need for great leaders

Author of the #1 Bestseller, Fearless Women at Work, delivers her second book, Healing Leadership, that explores the secrets of healing leadership and recommends high-performance habits for improving self-leadership and developing a growth mindset and resilience. 

Ginny Baro

Dr. Ginny Baro, #1 bestselling author, award-winning international motivational speaker, certified leadership coach, and career strategist

Dr. Ginny A. Baro is an award-winning international motivational speaker, certified leadership coach, career strategist, and #1 bestselling author of Fearless Women at Work. Named one of the Top 100 Global Thought Leaders, she delivers coaching programs, trainings, and keynotes to global audiences to develop individual women and leaders and helps Fortune 500 companies build inclusive leadership dream teams. Prior to starting ExecutiveBound®, Baro, who holds a Ph.D. in information systems, an MS in computer science, an MBA in management and a BA in Computer Science and Economics, was a director at Lord, Abbett & Co., LLC. She also worked for Alliance Bernstein and Prudential. She immigrated to the U.S. at age 14 from the Dominican Republic and speaks fluent Spanish. Healing Leadership (Bavaro Press) is her second book.

You might be interested: Changing leadership after #METOO a conversation with executive coach Dr. Ginny Baro

The genesis behind Healing Leadership: A conversation with Susana Baumann and Dr. Ginny Baro

Latinas in Business CEO and President, Susana G Baumann, sat down with Dr. Baro to discuss her upcoming book, Healing Leadership, which comes out April 14th, 2021. 

The highly anticipated book did not start out as a book at all. Originally it began as a series of interviews with five leaders that Ginny conducted for her Fearless Leaders Challenge, a five day training event for Fearless Women At Work, back in the middle of the pandemic during May 2020. The focus of the interviews was to explore three main questions: What are the critical skills that leaders need right now in the middle of a pandemic, where there’s so much uncertainty? What can companies do to develop their leaders and their talent during this time when people are virtual? And what can leaders do to develop a unique edge?

Healing Leadership

Dr. Ginny Baro’s upcoming book, Healing Leadership. Out April 14th.

Ginny Baro 

Those were the three questions that I was very curious about. So I went through the five interviews. And when I finished, I started to write out a framework for the Fearless Leaders Challenge….Well, what I realized is that intuitively, what I wrote out was the table of contents for a new book, not for a five day challenge. There were way too many subjects to be covered in five days. And that was the genesis of Healing Leadership….I know the last 30 years that I’ve been around working, I have been exposed to so many different types of leaders and I knew  from that experience that leaders make or break an organization, and that so many of us leaders never received a manual of how to be great leaders. And so this became my goal to not only talk about my experiences, but also bring other leaders’ experiences to be part of this project. And that’s how you got involved in this book and 40 other leaders along with you.

Susana G Baumann  15:29  

Yes. And I thank you very much for the opportunity. It was fun to do the podcast and then to read the result of the interview was really very, very humbling. Now, Ginny, what is the core topic of healing leaders leadership? What do you think leadership needs to be healed?

Ginny Baro  15:54  

So yes, by the title Healing Leadership, it implies that there’s healing to be done. So that the healing to be done, from my perspective, is that there dis-ease, disease in leadership today. And like I mentioned, there, we were never taught, we were never trained to be good or great leaders and inclusive leaders. If we’re lucky to have a good role model, then we lucked out. But if we don’t have a good role model that we can emulate, we end up doing a lot of things that create the toxic work cultures that marginalize people at work. And that, quite frankly, doesn’t do justice to the talent that we are leading. And so that is really the core of all the topics that I discussed in the book have to do with: how do we show up as leaders in a way that, rather than create a toxic culture, it cultivates the type of inclusive culture that allows all of our talent to flourish based on their qualities and their abilities? How can we as leaders cultivate those talents, so that we can coach, mentor, and develop them and so that those that have what it takes can rise to the top and continue the leading legacy and be able to lead our teams to higher productivity, to be more cohesive, to collaborate, to innovate, and do all the things that we need our businesses to do to survive and thrive.

Susana G Baumann  17:35  

Very, very interesting. Now, you mentioned that you started with five interviews, right? And then you ended having 41. So how did you select the people who were going to be part of your book number one? And second, what was the reaction when you extended the invitation?

Ginny Baro  18:00  

So number one, I just want to say that if you have any project where you’re thinking of involving other people, people, I think, by nature, meet their need for contribution when they say yes to you. And so number one is I made sure that the topic was interesting, “healing leadership”, everybody said, ‘I’ll talk about that.’ Right? Everybody has an opinion about what critical skills leaders need. Everybody has an opinion as to how they should be developing leaders. And everyone has an opinion about how to develop a unique edge, because the leaders that I asked, they had all done all of those things. So I went out with the goal of finding diversity. I wanted to include the voices of leaders who were just emerging, and leaders who had retired. So I speak to Nicole who’s only been in business for four years out of college. And I speak to Jerome and Nick Donofrio who ran IBM, and who also were the CEO of Sealed Air, the inventor of bubble wrap. So everything in-between, including Susana Baumann, the leader of Latinas in Business, of course, and Pilar Avila, who as we know, or everybody who knows Pilar, she’s running Renovad, and she is really transforming how women show up as leaders in business. And so when you get such a beautiful array of people from different sectors, profit, nonprofit, from different industries, from financial services to pharma, all over the place, I believed that that was going to give the book nice texture and background and speaks to the value of diversity and inclusion.

experiential retreats

Pilar Avila, Founder and CEO, InterDUCTUS and Renovad

Susana G Baumann  20:21  

Which gives you a fantastic opportunity to showcase like you said, a very, very wide range of opinions and attitudes towards leadership, and also different modalities and different styles of leadership, which is important for people to be able to choose, ‘Well, this is my my type of leadership that I can follow and service.’ 

Ginny Baro 20:45

Absolutely. Yeah. 

Susana G Baumann 20:47

So Ginny, tell me, just to end this interview: What is the main takeaway? Why do I have to buy the book? 

Ginny Baro  21:16  

For me, it’s really about what I mentioned, we did not get a leadership manual when we became leaders. And I believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed, like anything when it comes to self development, when we take ourselves and our development seriously, and we identify what are those leadership skills are: communication, empathy, empowering our team, setting the vision, being the conduit for change and transformation, leading with flexibility, all those skills that are so important as leaders, that once we know what they are, we can become that type of leader.

Dr. Ginny Baro on leadership: “I believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed…and when we identify what are those leadership skills are: communication, empathy, empowering our team, [etc]…we can become that type of leader.”

And if we’re not leading in our business roles, right now, guess what? We are all leaders in our own life. So my biggest takeaway and desire for this book is for people to have this roadmap. And they can assess, ‘how am I doing against these critical leadership skills?’ And if they don’t have one of those skills, they now know and they have the tools in the book to acquire the skills, and the resources, because I’m also creating a wonderful community of leaders, where they can reach out to any of the 41 leaders, including myself, and learn more, and continue to expand their network. And this is one of the topics that I discussed at length in the book: How to build an inclusive network of allies and supporters that will support your career and that will help you reach your full potential, because we cannot do this alone. And if we even try, we will find out that we will fail really fast.

Susana G Baumann  22:58  

Correct. Yes, we have to create these networks of collaboration among leaders, among businesses, among women, among all the qualifiers and labels that you can imagine, because that’s when you get the momentum that is necessary to develop the type of leadership that we want for our children, for our employees, for our communities. That’s the attitude of service that you have had for many, many years. And I commend you extremely for that. I think you’re a really brilliant professional in what you do. And congratulations on the new book.

Ginny Baro  23:51  

Thank you, Susana, and I’m always so grateful to you.

To get your copy of Healing Leadership, out April 14th, and access everything related to the book from bonuses to downloads and become part of the Healing Leadership community, visit HealingLeadership.com

executive coach Ginny Baro

Changing leadership after #METOO a conversation with executive coach Dr. Ginny Baro

Dr. Ginny A. Baro is an international executive coach, motivational speaker, leadership expert, and CEO and founder of her executive coaching and career strategy companies ExecutiveBound and Fearless Women @ Work. Over her twenty-five years experience in corporate technology and financial services, Ginny has served in multiple leadership roles.

Using her extensive knowledge of the corporate world and her skills as an executive coach and mentor, Ginny is helping executives lead powerfully, intelligently, and with integrity in the “new workplace,” post the #METOO movement.

Dr Ginny Baro executive coach

The new workplace

The workplace is currently at a transitional point, forced to evolve after the events of the #METOO movement which began in 2017. Since then there has been a tremendous push on those in positions of power to lead better and ensure a safe, productive work environment. Ginny has risen to this call to action and based her two companies around the goal of improving leadership and working environments.

“Leaders set the tone for an organization,” says Ginny. “They make or break a work culture, and they either engage employees or turn them off. However, many leaders often do not have the tools or necessary skills to successfully lead and manage in a new, complex era that demands talent diversity, inclusion, high engagement, collaboration, and faster, better solutions.”

After over two decades working in the corporate world, Ginny was very aware of the issues facing executives and leaders. She knew many of her colleagues faced workplace dissatisfaction. Many were miserable and dreaded going to work. Ginny became a confidant and mentor to these friends, colleagues, and fellow leaders.

“I noticed shenanigans that went on in the workplace, and how many great employees left a company because they had a manager who behaved horribly,” Ginny explained. “I gravitated towards wanting to find the solution and for years became a student of how to lead and build higher performing, engaging teams.”

As Ginny began her business, she drew upon extensive real-life corporate experiences to build solutions that address the issues her peers and teams faced daily. The main three primary challenges she found where:

  • Many leaders struggle to create a work culture that engages employees and brings out the best in people, which leads to mediocre performance.
  • Executives don’t always have a clear roadmap to transform a hostile work environment for one that’s inclusive, regardless of gender and background, and where employees and leaders aren’t subjected to bullying behavior and sometimes even sexual misconduct.
  • Leaders typically don’t receive the support and training required to develop self-leadership skills and lead themselves and others powerfully.

Having identified these key issues, Ginny began building approaches to tackle these challenges head-on, first by working with individual leaders as a professional mentor and executive coach, and second by partnering with organizations that would prioritize addressing these challenges.

The road to entrepreneurship  

Ginny became a Certified Professional Coach in 2015, and in 2017 she launched her business Fearless Women @ Work and also published the Amazon #1 Bestseller Fearless Women at Work: Five Powerful Strategies to Thrive in Your Career and Life! .

The following year she launched her second company, ExecutiveBound, an executive coaching firm which focuses on helping executives to develop their leadership teams.

“Everything seemed to happen so fast, one success after another, but the road to entrepreneurship was far from straightforward,” she said to LatinasinBusiness.us

Ginny formally began her journey to entrepreneurship in late 2016 when unforeseeable circumstances led her to reconsider her career. After over two decades working in the corporate world, Ginny decided it was time for something new. Re-evaluating what was most important in her life she quickly realized the three things she valued most were the well-being of her son, peace of mind, and her health.

“At the time my commute to the metro NYC job market required over three hours a day from Sussex County, NJ,” Ginny explains. “The combination of a long commute and a desire for flexibility to meet the needs of my growing son pushed me to get creative.”

And get creative she did. She reflected on all that she had experienced and learned in her own leadership roles and realized she wanted to help other women navigate the leadership world as an executive coach and mentor.

A big believer in coaches, mentors, and the power of networking, Ginny sought out those very people in her own life to help and support her.  

“Like many new business owners, I had to figure out everything from scratch—from identifying my ideal client, ideal lead generation, closing the sale, marketing, PR, business digitization, operational implementation, every aspect of it, and so on.”

executive coach

Fearless Women at Work is a must read for all working women. Click on cover to purchase.

Instead of trying to do it all herself, Ginny reached out to those who had the expertise and could teach her something new. She hired a business coach to help her learn how to run a business. She hired book coaches who taught her how to write her book in only six months, get it published, and turn it into a bestseller. Leaning on others to guide and teach her was an invaluable asset and true to her own goals of wanting to help others as an executive coach herself. No one person can know it all, but together they can learn from and inspire each other toward greater potential.

“We are creating a community of leaders united by our commitment to uncover choices and possibilities. I encourage authenticity and integrity—I do what I say and live what I advocate,” says Ginny. “My cultural background encompasses a strong work ethic and a sense of elevating others along the way. ‘Una mano lava la otra.—One hand washes the other.’”

The help of others made the journey less stressful, but there were still some challenges: finances and securing clients. At first Ginny struggled with learning how to identify and consistently reach her target market.

“As an entrepreneur, knowing where your next client is coming from and creating a healthy sales funnel to generate potential client leads is imperative. That has been the toughest aspect of running the business thus far.”

Ginny has found that networking with fellow LinkedIn and other professional groups, live and virtual, has been incredibly helpful. And the more she has contemplated the question of her ideal client she has discovered the answer is herself.

“I realized I was my ideal client,” says Ginny, “a leader who wanted to do right by my employees, while also dealing with the shortcomings and challenges women, especially women of color face advancing in their careers.”

On the issue of finances, Ginny was lucky that she had considerable savings to work from, which not every small business has when starting out. These savings were able to sustain her and her son while she got her business off the ground. She was also able to finance all the training she received from professional coaches. However she still ended her first year in the red after all these expenses. This was a setback but not unexpected. Still, the experiences and insight she gained in that first year were invaluable.  

“I learned in only one year more than I could have imagined while establishing a healthy business model from which to continue to grow.”

Inspiring future leaders  

executive coach

Dr Ginny A. Baro with Fearless Girl, a bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal.

Growing up in a small village in the Dominican Republic, Ginny saw a lot of sadness and despair –from physical abuse to emotional abuse and dis-empowerment. She saw that the people around her lived in survival mode–women did not have access to education and suffered along with their children. Growing up in this environment  inspired her to become educated and to rise beyond these early experiences while still recognizing the value and lessons they taught her.

At the age of fourteen she came to the U.S. and since then has actualized her life dream of becoming a successful professional woman and leader. Now she is inspiring future women to do the same.

Sharing some words of advice to future entrepreneurs, Ginny believes in first and foremost to be prepared.

“Learn all you can about your field. Connect with others in that area and get informed. Network, read books, watch videos, biographies. Speak with real people who have done it and get their perspective—notice the pros and the cons and go into it with eyes wide-open,” she shared. 

“Second, trust your gut. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Trust you have the emotional, mental, and spiritual resources to deliver. Finally, find the joy.  Focus on your definition of success, the impact you want to have, and how you want to feel in this world. Consider what brings you joy, what matters to you, and how to leverage your marketable skills,” she advises. 

For Ginny, her joy comes from helping others. In her work as an executive coach and mentor, Ginny has had the opportunity to transform the lives of many individuals, especially women. This she feels is the “ultimate success.” 

“The ultimate success in anything we do goes hand in hand with building great relationships and contributing to others who need our support and expertise,” says Ginny. “To me, nothing feels better than helping others. As you help them, you learn about yourself, and you play your part in making this blip of a lifetime count. As I remind myself, remember that you’re supported by the universe and the universal energy that is love.