This summer, preceding Convention 2018, Tri Delta will host its inaugural leadership development conference, LEADDD 2018. The two-day event, July 1-2, open to all members, will feature keynote speakers and workshops designed to empower women to lead and serve in their careers, communities and families.
As an organization founded by women for women, LEADDD is another example of how Tri Delta is boldly leading the way in developing and empowering women. LEADDD features inspiring presentations from influential women, including Heidi Guest, California/Davis.
As long as she can remember, Heidi has always been fascinated with both inner and outer beauty. A 30-year veteran of the prestige cosmetics industry, Heidi has led sales and education initiatives for the Estee Lauder Company’s Clinique division, first in the Western United States and later for North America at the corporate headquarters in New York. Today, she is the Senior Director of On-Air Media and Leadership Development for philosophy and regularly appears on the QVC television network as a spokesperson for the lifestyle brand which focuses on enhancing women’s well-being and confidence. A native of Northern California, Heidi graduated from the University of California at Davis in 1983 with a major in organizational communication. After graduation, she was a Tri Delta field consultant (now known as a chapter development consultant) and was recognized as a Woman of Achievement by Tri Delta in 2006. Heidi shared some of her own leadership insights and how she hopes to encourage women through LEADDD.
What are you looking forward to at LEADDD and what do you hope women will take away from your keynote?
I’m looking forward to being part of a new event that’s inclusive to all members. Tri Delta has a great opportunity to continue its relationship with its members outside of collegiate and alumnae chapters or Convention, and I’m delighted this is happening. I think it has a lot of legs from a leadership perspective so Tri Delta members have an opportunity for continuous learning and development. It goes perfectly with the Purpose: continuing the perpetual bond of friendship, broadening the moral and intellectual life – it’s a great way to assist our members in every possible way. It checks a lot of the boxes. I love that Tri Delta is bringing women together in an environment of learning, inspiration and exchange. And it goes beyond the keynotes; this conference is about ideas and insights where people can think and talk about how they can apply these concepts into their lives. Women can leave with a greater sense of purpose about what it means for them to lean into their full potential. With my keynote, I hope to show how Tri Delta’s Purpose has provided a blueprint for my own professional and leadership pursuits. I really believe that you can personalize the components of our Purpose, and I want to provide an example of how I’ve done that in a very authentic way and how it can apply to all areas of your personal leadership from career, to philanthropic and community involvement, to how you build strong and trusting relationships with your family and friends.
How has Tri Delta helped shape your career?
I don’t think I would be who I am today without Tri Delta. Tri Delta was for me originally a social outlet and a home away from home. What I didn’t understand when I went through recruitment was the leadership opportunities afforded to me in an environment where I was supported, empowered and elevated. Tri Delta provided a unique set of leadership experiences that no other organization or internship gave me.
When I moved on to being a field consultant, that’s when the rubber met the road. In 1983, I didn’t have specific role models for women who were leaders in the corporate world. People told us we could do whatever we wanted, but there was no blueprint to having it all or even a definition of what that meant. I learned what that platform could be as I traveled the country and learned that North America is a continent of many different types of people. There’s no way I could have led Clinique North America without understanding how different life is in Connecticut versus Mississippi. That perspective has helped me be a much better leader as it has applied to understanding and being sensitive to both North American as well as global market differences.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge women face when it comes to taking on leadership roles?
The biggest challenge I’ve seen for women of all ages is how they define leadership. A lot of people take a hierarchical approach, believing whoever has highest position is the leader. My experiences over the past 10 years have taught me a lot about the concept of leading from the middle. My conclusion is this: Everyone leads from where they stand. Everyone is responsible for doing whatever they do with excellence and not waiting for someone to tell them what to do. Of course, you must always have respect for the person who sets the vision and tone of the organization, but you’re the leader from where you stand.
A famous symphony conductor once said to me, as we talked about the importance of personal leadership, “Notice how the conductor never makes a sound. Everyone leads in the orchestra pit from where they stand, and the focus is on sounding together.” Just in that short conversation these things hit me: how important it is to lead from where you stand and how the conductor doesn’t make a sound, you do. You have to decide where is it that you’re going to lead. Ask yourself, “What do I stand for and what do I believe in?” Leadership is not a nameplate, it’s not a title, it’s about how you comport yourself — it’s more about who you are, and not just about what you do.