I was introduced to Cary by Cheryl Nash at a conference. I was intrigued by her book, Cinderella to CEO. I mean, who wouldn’t be with a title like that! So, I went to her session and immediately hung on every morsel of wisdom she delivered. Cary has a story that is second to none, and we are so privileged to be able to present her story and to welcome her to our amazing family of the Dynamic Women and the Men Who Support Them series.
– Maree Moscati, CEO CTPRP
Cary J. Broussard
Broussard Global C2CEO
How did you get to where you are today?
Cary: Writing my book, Cinderella to CEO, had a huge impact on my career, and it came about because I developed a program to market to women business travelers with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. That program really helped us compete as a brand. I set up an advisory council and launched a program to implement what we discovered from our research. That led to some powerful partnerships with women-focused organizations, and after about five years, Dow Jones wrote that our program was the gold standard of women’s marketing for Wall Street companies. Women helped us positively change our hotel brand for the better for all travelers. The entire industry noticed and realized they needed to pay better attention to women, the fastest growing market of business travelers.
With the book, I wanted to put a stake in the ground and explain why it is important to listen to your market and follow the research. I had learned through the process how important advisory boards are. The first publication originally came out in 2005, and I updated the book in 2018, because there is a lot of corporate amnesia as time goes on, and there isn’t a transition of knowledge that you really need in order to keep a program alive after you leave a company.
If you could give one message to your younger self, what would it be?
Cary: Your hard work can and will pay off in ways that you have no idea about. Writing a book wasn’t an aspiration I had when I was younger, but when it all came together, it was a gift, really–a gift born out of the hard work I had already done.
And also, it’s okay to not be the most popular person at your company. When I was developing the program with Wyndham, I had a supportive CEO and a wonderful PR firm that really understood what I was doing, but a lot of the mid-level people at the company weren’t so easily convinced. There were a lot of barriers–psychological, social, and economic barriers. But the program I developed became the template for the whole diversity program. So it can be worth it if you just persevere, even if you’re unpopular.
What are your top goals for 2022?
Cary: For Cinderella to CEO, my goal is to bring socially responsible strategies that we know bring positive results to a client’s bottom line. It is so invigorating to see a company’s culture change for the better through mindful leadership practices that increase employee retention. I will continue to develop and recruit the best diversity, equity, and inclusion trainers, corporate social responsibility and mindful leadership coaches and offer online courses and executive mastermind groups too. We’re also offering an ongoing curriculum and certification in these areas, so that’s exciting.
And then I’m also planning and writing a third iteration of my book to incorporate the research we conducted with women leaders after receiving a grant from Texas Woman’s University. My company surveyed 200 women leaders in 2020 during the initial pandemic lockdown, and we learned that their perceptions of what was important was evolving. Of the 200 people surveyed, 70 % wanted executive coaching or professional development as they were looking for the next steps in their careers. We asked them how they had overcome adversity to achieve success so far and they told us strong networking relationships are their foundation. So look forward to seeing the new book on store shelves and in the virtual world soon.
Cary J. Broussard
CEO, Broussard Global C2CEO
Author, From Cinderella to CEO: How to Master the 10 Lessons of Fairy Tales to Transform Your Work Life
Cary is one of the top, global advocates for women in diversity and business and well-known for her work in creating corporate women’s programs. Cary has motivated thousands to believe in themselves and the power of transformation to get ahead in today’s competitive workplace. Her book From Cinderella to CEO is published in 10 languages, and her podcast CinderellaCEO On Air can be found on iTunes and Spotify.
Dow Jones described Cary’s work at Wyndham Worldwide as head of the company’s Women On Their Way program as “the gold standard of women’s marketing for Wall Street companies.” Currently, Cary and her team design and teach courses with an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion and corporate social responsibility, which can be found on the website cinderellaceo.com. As an adjunct professor with New York University, Cary designed gender-inclusive leadership curriculum for her students.
Cary and her team launched the Cinderella to CEO Awards Show in New York City, honoring 220 accomplished nominees from around the country. The awards recognize today’s modern transformational Cinderella to CEO stories and aptitudes.
Cary served as President and Treasurer of the Press Club of Dallas from 2016-2019. Highlights of her expertise in Public Relations and Communication include leadership roles in hospitality (Vice President of PR at Wyndham International and Wyndham Hotel Group), government (Deputy Press Secretary, U.S. Senate Majority Leader’s office) and non-profit (American Cancer Society and Meeting Professionals International).
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