Archive of ‘Power Point Interviews’ category

Director of USC School of Journalism: Willow Bay

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Today marks the grand opening of USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s new state-of-the-art Wallis Annenberg Hall. The 88,000-square-foot media facility cost $59.3 million to build including $8.1 million in technology.

In addition to the new facility, Willow Bay recently took over as USC’s new director of the School of Journalism. She is a force to be reckoned with in the media world. Willow Bay brings extensive experience as a journalist, author, producer, digital news editor and national broadcast and global cable television news anchor.

I had the chance to sit down and talk with Willow Bay about her professional experiences that have led to the lofty task of leading the next generation of media professionals. Her experience across multiple media platforms combined with USC’s cutting-edge media technology offer USC students an exciting learning opportunity. Not many cities are fortunate enough to have someone of her journalistic talent so I took advantage of the opportunity.

Power Point (PP): Congratulations on your new position as director of the School of Journalism. What inspired you to take this on? What do you hope to add to the School of Journalism?

Willow Bay (WB): Journalism is evolving in new and incredible ways and there is enormous opportunity for this generation of journalist to shape journalism in the century ahead. I think the opportunity to come to what is already a world-class institution and how Dean Wilson here at Annenberg teaches, trains, and inspires the next generation of journalist was an extraordinary gift that presented itself.

One of the things that I bring to the school, that’s a little bit different, is a broad base of experience in both legacy media and new media. I’ve been a television broadcaster, [for both] network and cable. I’ve worked for information and entertainment outlets, and I’ve spent the past seven years helping Arianna Huffington expand content at the Huffington Post. And that entrepreneurial experience in the online space just adds another lens to how I view the industry and to my experience within different facets of the industry.

So I think I bring this broad base kind of external view and in some ways a fresh set of eyes, but I also bring connections to the media industry both in LA and, more than that, New York because most of the places I’ve worked have been in New York. So I’m excited about the opportunity of building broader, deeper relationships with the news business outside of Southern California where Annenberg’s ties are so strong and so deep.

Given the lens that I just described of the combination of legacy media and new media, I can also potentially bring a fresh set of eyes to the curriculum to work with the faculty who are so experienced and has such a depth of knowledge about how to educate students. I can help make sure that the curriculum is rigorous and challenging and prepares students not just for the jobs of today but also for jobs of the future. We don’t know what those future jobs are going to look like yet but we know that we have to prepare our students to be able to lead and embrace all the changes going forward and not just react to the current environment of today.

PP: What was your first major break in journalism? What events led to that opportunity?

WB: I graduated from Penn and went on to get an MBA. And after I got my MBA, I thought, “I don’t really want to work on Wall Street. And I have a marketing degree so I’m not sure I want to become a product manager at P&G or work in a corporate environment.” I’ve always wanted to be a reporter. I had an agent at the time so I said, “I know what I’m going to do, I’ll be a business reporter.” It was in the days before CNBC, Bloomberg, and before Maria Bartiromo was a star. And he kind of laughed at me and said, “I don’t think anyone is going to take a newly minted MBA seriously as a broadcast journalist however impressive that degree might be.” So I started scrounging around for jobs. I was modeling at the time so I got jobs covering fashion, which I hated. But people hired me because it made sense that somebody who had a career in this industry cover the industry. So those were my first jobs. I won’t call them my break, but it was a really effective way of getting particularly live experience.

But what I would call my first break, without question, was NBA Inside Stuff. It was a sports show that viewed on NBC and it was a hybrid sports/entertainment show and I knew a fair amount of sports but I was not an expert on basketball. So to prepare for this, this is going to date me, I went to the New York Public Library and I read a year’s worth of back issues of Sports Illustrated. They were hiring me because I was a good interviewer and [for] my broadcasting skills, however overarching they may have been, but they appreciated the effort. I was hired by then NBA commissioner David Stern. Besides being journalistically a great assignment, the opportunity to work along side David Stern, who was an extraordinary NBA commissioner, who created such a better league for the NBA, was really a once in the lifetime opportunity. I started at the same time that Adam Silver, the current NBA commissioner, started so I also got to work alongside Adam, who is doing such an incredible job in his early days of leading the league.

My first week on the job there was the week Magic Johnson announced that he was HIV positive. And that was one of my first big interviews was interviewing Irvin Johnson (Magic Johnson). I was one of his first interviews. I have to this day a one of kind relationship with my co-anchor Ahmad Rashad just an extraordinary partnership and I have never had so much fun at work.

PP: It sounds like NBA Inside Stuff opened a lot of doors for you. From there did things just fall into place?

WB: I don’t think careers anymore just fall into place. It’s a life long journey of twists and turns. And some people use the analogy of “It’s not climbing the ladder, it’s the lattice.” And my career was certainly that of a lattice.

I have had tremendous opportunities but they’ve been different. They have been really diverse. So I knew I didn’t want to stay in sports journalism, I really wanted to be in news. So from there, by covering sports, I started working part time for the Today Show then I was hired by Good Morning America where I substituted for Joan London. I was a reporter and I was a co-anchor of Good Morning America Sunday. Then I went to CNN to start a series of new programs there called Newsstand, which were collaborations with magazines, Fortune and Entertainment Weekly. It was a business show and a show on the business of entertainment. And then I was enlisted to help out at CNN Moneyline and that was my CNN career. Fortune and Moneyline were when I got a taste of business news, which I really love.

PP: You’ve transitioned from broadcast journalism to digital journalism and now you’re transitioning into a role where you’re leading the next generation of journalists. Although these roles are all part of the same media industry, they are significantly different. How were you able to transition into each role? What did you learn in the process?

WB: So much of career growth comes from tackling new challenges taking them one by one as they come up, but I see them as opportunities. I have had very few jobs that I feel truly equipped or prepared for when I first arrive. That’s part of the journey I think. And that’s part of what makes them exciting.

As I’ve gotten older I find it easier to admit what I don’t know. That’s liberating and really helpful. And that’s helpful in a career because it makes you more open to twist and turns and opportunities.

And I listen carefully and I observe closely which really helps with transitions.

I also believe in building strong teams. That’s extremely important. It makes the job more fun when you have a great team in place.

PP: You have had the opportunity to interview a number of highly successful leaders in all different industries from business to politics to entertainment, both female and male. Who have been some of the most fascinating and why? Have any of them influenced how you are as a leader?

WB: I think much of leadership is personal, is shaped by a combination of skills, experience and personality and authenticity. Owning the things about yourself and using them to shape your strategy and to shape your philosophy of leadership. And when I cover people who are leaders in their field, I see very clearly how their distinctiveness shapes their leadership style. You can take all the elements of leadership that you can study and then you add that personal distinctiveness to it. Then you begin to understand how strategies are created and implemented.

One of the people I see this most clearly in to be honest is my husband [Robert “Bob” Iger, CEO of Disney]. To be able to watch his career journey and to watch the way he manages and leads his company. He’s very candid, he’s very clear and very direct. That’s how he is as a person. On the job he articulates his strategy and communicates it effectively and consistently. He’s also able to take the 30,000-foot perspective and think big and think bold. It’s interesting because he’s encouraged me to do that. Sometimes more than I’m inclined because I’m often more tactical. He’s really encouraged me, in whatever job I’ve been in, to want to embrace the challenges and to think boldly.

I jotted down some notes about people that I’ve interviewed that have stood out. Not necessarily all business leaders but when you think about Michael Jordan who was a superstar. He came alive on camera and was a real performer in addition to being a gifted athlete.

Magic Johnson who I had mentioned earlier is someone who has weathered true crisis but has also managed an incredibly successful career transitions intelligently and gracefully.

Warren Buffet for his carefully crafted down to earth manor and his freely shared words of wisdom. He now enjoys sharing his experience.

I love talking to entrepreneurs. I just find their personal stories and also embrace of change fascinating. People like Tony Hsieh of Zappos.com or Jessica Herrin of Stella and Dot, particularly entrepreneurs who often want to do more than start a business. They often want to do something that provides value to others or that provides value or empowers their employees. Whether it’s empowering them to have successful careers to be entrepreneurs of their own right or simply to lead successful productive lives. I find people like that really inspiring.

I got to interview Sheryl Sandberg [COO of Facebook] recently. [I appreciate] her combination of vision and candor.

Arianna Huffington who has always challenged the status quo and is now challenging people to think differently about success, differently about their world and their daily lives.

So those are just some of the people that came to mind that were both fantastic and fascinating interviews and inspiring.

PP: Knowing what you know today, what would you tell your college self about journalism?

WB: I would have told my college self to find and develop a voice right away. That too is a journey.

PP: Is there anyone who you think has found their voice?

WB: I think there are. I’m a bit reserved. I’m not commentary, for example. I’m not a prolific blogger. I don’t share that much in a public forums, plenty in one-on-one forums, personal forums so, for me, personality shapes these things. That’s how my personality shaped how I’ve come to discover my voice and use it. There are plenty of people out there. I think of Arianna [Huffington]. She has a very clear, distinct point of view. She uses her voice so effectively. Sheryl Sandberg uses her voice loudly and powerfully. There are plenty of people who do it. There are great journalist who do it all the time. I think about Donald Freedman who has been incredible in his role as a columnist to shed light on issues and lend his voice to them.

PP: What’s a typical day look like for you?

WB: Bit of a new routine being back in school and my kids being back in school. Get up around 4:45am to do a combination of reading up on the news, doing email, check-in at the office and exercise. I have to be dressed and ready to go at about 5 of 7, because I have to make breakfast, pack lunches, and get my boys in the car. (Boys are age 12 and 15) I have really learned to value that time in the morning with them. It’s a nice connection point in our day. Then I’m at the office on campus all day. Every day is different here [on campus] which is fun. Talk with students, spent time at media center, talk with faculty, reviewing circular initiatives, working with Dean Wilson and his staff on development issues and cross school initiatives, and collaborate with new director of School of Communications Sara Lee Wilson.

Then head home. Nights we don’t have commitments is family dinner which gets interesting now that the kids are a little bit older because they are in and out, up and down, and homework and tutors and sports and all of that. The night that we’re home, it’s family dinner, then on with our homework including my husband and I getting on with our homework. So that’s pretty much our daily routine.

WBay at Media Ctr_small      Willow Bay, director of the School of Journalism

14538822306_e5279d5e4c_h_small      Wallis Annenberg Hall

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Captain of Los Angeles Police Department: Tina Nieto

“I used to think that for one to be successful in police work a masculine leadership style was the way to go, until I realized that in police work when women leaders act the way their male counterparts do, we get labeled as a “B*&#h”

Captain Tina Nieto is one of those women that blazes their own path to success. She rose through the ranks of the Los Angeles police force to become the first female Hispanic Captain in LAPD’s history. Now she is the Area Commanding Officer at Olympic Division that covers Koreatown, Lil Bangladesh, Wilshire, East Hollywood and parts of Pico-union. It is a division with more than 270 employees serving an area with approximately 217,000 residents. We can thank our lucky stars to have her protecting and serving our community while also being an important role model.

Aside from being a proven leader, Nieto also holds a Masters Degree in Leadership and Management and a B.S. in Criminal Justice. She often speaks on the topic of leadership and ethical decision-making. It’s great having a leader that puts ethical decision-making high on their list of importance.

So don’t let the police uniform and her license to carry a firearm intimidate you. She’s extremely personable and relatable. She spends her weekends with her dogs and domestic partner in Orange County. When you meet her, you want to invite her out for a drink and get to know her better. While Captain Nieto and I aren’t drinking buddies, yet, I did have the chance to learn more about the woman behind the uniform.

Power Point: (PP): What drew you to the police force?

Captain Nieto (CN): Well when I was younger and started college, like many of today’s young people, I did not know what I really wanted to do. I started out as a Marine Biology major, switched to Psychology, switched again to Hotel Restaurant Management, and then took a class in the police sciences. The one class I took in police sciences made me realize that this was a profession where I could help people and my community, and where I wouldn’t be tied to a desk. I really liked the idea of making decisions on the go without having a boss breathing down my neck. I also liked that it was an exciting career. Okay maybe I had seen too many movies, but nevertheless, I have never regretted choosing this career.

PP: How do you think your knowledge and expertise in leadership influenced your job as a police officer?

CN: I was very fortunate to have worked my way through college, and receive a commission in the United States Army Reserve prior to joining the LAPD. College helped me appreciate diversity in thinking, working helped me understand the value in earning things on my own, and the Army invested time and money in teaching me the basic principles of leadership. This was extremely beneficial in helping shape me into a better police officer. Yes, when I first joined the department, I had a lot to learn, but my prior experience helped make the path easier.

I believe that I was more empathetic to the different cultures and ways of thinking when working with the community, and more willing to listen. Listening is so important for police officers in order to help work through issues that arise in our communities.

College and the military also gave me a foundation to understand dysfunctional dynamics that occur at the community, group, and individual level. This understanding gave me the ability to help move people through dysfunction towards functional dynamics. A book will never solve a problem; however education opens the possibilities to learn from others and their experiences. Lastly, the military gave me the opportunity to practice leadership in a safe environment, where mistakes could be made in order to learn from them. These were all skills and knowledge I was able to immediately apply to police work.

PP: Do you think being a female Commanding Officer lends itself to leading the LAPD differently than a male Commanding Officer? In what ways?

CN: Yes and no. I used to think that for one to be successful in police work a masculine leadership style was the way to go, until I realized that in police work when women leaders act the way their male counterparts do, we get labeled as a “B*&#h”. This may not be “fair”, but leaders have to learn to be adaptive in their approach to people and problems.

Depending on the situation and the gender of the parties involved, different models of leadership must be used. Studies show that men and women differ in their communication styles and tactics on a day to day basis, and it is only natural that we carry over these traits to the workplace. I can’t pretend to be what I am not, at least not for long. I spend an inordinate amount of time listening and talking to the people I work with and around. I really know people’s stories in the community, and people accept that I care about them. I do think this is more of a feminine trait. I was socialized this way growing up purely based on gender to be more relationship oriented. People generally are not as intimidated by me because of this. My male counterparts have a harder time breaking through this barrier.

On the other hand, my girlfriends tell me that I process information like a man, in trying to solve things. I have spent my entire adult life in male dominated fields and it has shaped me to become very goal oriented at times.

PP: What have been your biggest challenges in your career? How have you overcome these challenges?

CN: My biggest challenges in my career have been when I failed to listen to others, and not recognizing the need to ask for help. It’s not easy being a female leader in a male dominated field. It took me awhile to learn the politics of the organization in order to not be perceived as a liability, but instead be recognized as an asset. There is a saying that leaders don’t play politics, they take it very seriously. Early in my career I told myself that I would not play politics, not truly understanding that politics is really just another word for the organization’s culture and unwritten rules. So I had to learn to listen better and ask for help from loving critics in order to navigate the LAPD culture without losing my integrity and values. Since culture shifts over time, it is a constant challenge to continue be an effective leader.

PP: What skills do you think were most helpful in reaching the rank of Commanding Officer?

CN: Listening. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, has been quoted on saying, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” My experience has shown me that most people do not know how to listen to others or have not practiced the art. In solving complex and dynamic problems I have to really understand what other parties are trying to communicate. When I am working with the community, people are never at a loss for passion, drive, and caring about the topic or problem at hand. Deep, empathic listening is usually the one ingredient that is lacking. I have worked years at trying to listen empathically to become adept at it. I am not always successful, but when I am, it has given me the ability to see a situation simultaneously from multiple points of view. This skill is a “must” for any successful leader and has certainly helped me as I have advanced through the ranks.

PP: What is being done to encourage more women to join the police force?

CN: The LAPD encourages women to apply to our organization, the information can be found at http://www.joinlapd.com/women_prep.html

We also have the Candidate Assistance Program (CAP) to assist women in passing the physical requirements of the Police Academy. In addition, the program gives women a head start on getting in the best shape of your life. It teaches them what to expect at the Academy, and familiarizes them with Police Academy training style.

We also send our recruiters to job fairs and conferences that are geared toward women. Diversity in our ranks is very important to the LAPD.

PP: As a strong, proven leader, what leadership books would you recommend?

CN: The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey and Leadership on the Line by Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky.

PP: What do you do when you’re not on the job?

CN: I am an avid photographer and have been in both local and international photography shows. I got bored several years ago and took a bunch of classes at the local community college getting a certification in photography. I figured if the police thing didn’t work out, I could become a starving artist instead. My favorite genre is Environmental Portraits; a style executed in the subject’s usual environment, such as in their home or workplace, and typically illuminates the subject’s life and surroundings. I find people fascinating.

My other passion is spending time with my family and dogs in the mountains hiking and kayaking. My two little dogs usually go out kayaking with me on the lake. They have their own life vests. Safety first!

(PP): It’s good to see that the police thing is working out because we need more people like you serving and leading our community.

Hollywood_signCaptain Tina Nieto

 

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City of Los Angeles First Lady Amy Wakeland and Captain Tina Nieto

 

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Photography by Captain Tina Nieto

 

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To learn more about Captain Nieto, you can visit: http://www.lapdonline.org/lapd_command_staff/comm_bio_view/37807

To learn more about the history of female police officers in the LAPD: http://www.lapdonline.org/history_of_the_lapd/content_basic_view/833

Founder of Women A.R.E: Angella Nazarian

img_half If I had to name someone that best embodies That’s Pretty Powerful, I would choose Angella Nazarian. So I couldn’t be more thrilled to launch this Power Point interview series with her as the first profile. She exemplifies what it means to be both an accomplished career woman in LA and a person who puts civic responsibility high on her to-do list.

To call Angella Nazarian “accomplished” would be an understatement. She was a professor of Psychology and a faculty member at Mount Saint Mary’s College, California State University Long Beach, and Los Angeles Valley College for eleven years. She parlayed her skills as an educator and psychologist to create a multi-faceted program that educates and empowers women to be leaders. And in doing so, she has successfully conquered a multitude of different media platforms from traditional media to new media. When she’s not on local and national news channels touting the importance of women leadership, she’s writing books on female leaders, launching an app for personal development, and hosting women empowerment events for an organization she co-founded called WOMEN A.R.E. And she helps run Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation.

You may recognize her last name.The Nazarian family has built a prominent name in LA through a series of successful entrepreneurial endeavors. Her brother-in-law, Sam Nazarian, founded LA’s largest nightlife and hospitality company, SBE.

(Power Point): You are part of a close knit group of LA women who meet regularly to discuss a number of topics. What gets accomplished at these meetings? What do you take away from these meetings?

(Angella Nazarian): I believe in the power of relationships. It is through relationships that we learn about ourselves, find and give support for our growth, and discover new perspectives in life.

With this in mind, I first organized and facilitated women’s groups that met weekly for 6 years. There was a tremendous amount of bonding and deep appreciation for one another, although were a diverse group.

Two years ago, I took this vision and broadened the platform to include a wider network of female leaders in our community by co-founding WOMEN A.R.E.

WOMEN A.R.E. invites thought leaders from different disciplines to discuss relevant issues such as: business leadership, social entrepreneurship, education, the arts and sciences, and health and wellness. Our participants not only feel uplifted and inspired by hearing about other women’s journeys but also have the opportunity to meet other like-minded women. Many have reached out and provided support for various initiatives that have been discussed in the meetings, so having impact is a big motivator for us.

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    Angella Nazarian, Wallis Annenberg (philanthropist), and Willow Bay (director, USC School of Journalism) at a WOMEN A.R.E event

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    David and Angella Nazarian, Brian Grazer (tv and film producer), and Chelsea Handler (tv host and comedian) at WOMEN A.R.E Inaugural Summit

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    Jacqueline Novogratz (ceo, Acumen) and Angella Nazarian at WOMEN A.R.E Salon Series

  • (PP): What recommendations do you have for women who want to create their own close knit support group? What key points do you recommend considering when starting a group?

     (AN): From my experience, the composition of a group and the way in which we communicate its mission play a big role in its long-term dynamics. By having a clear mission, one can attract a group of members who share the same general goals and values—which is essential. Also, having a diverse group of members from different fields and backgrounds brings a great deal of energy and discussion to an organization. Finally, it is important that we set a particular emotional tone to these meetings, where people feel that they are truly benefiting from the experience. I always encourage feedback from participants and refine strategies as we grow.

    (PP): What common traits did you find in the female leaders you researched for your book, Pioneers of the Possible?

    (AN): The key ingredients for successful leadership has always fascinated me. This was in fact the catalyst for the intense research and interviewing I did on the lives of noble laureates, activists, and trail blazing women leaders for my book, “Pioneers of the Possible”.

    What became apparent is that the most effective women are not perfect, and they are not bothered by this either. As a matter of fact, they instinctively concentrate on their strengths and talents and build a life and career around these strengths. How liberating and validating it is not too put too much emphasis on our weakness.

    Also, many of these women did not start out knowing what they were going to do for the rest of their lives. Many started in completely different fields and had pivot points at different stages of their work. I must add though, they were all committed to following an often times ambiguous path that fulfilled them in the deepest sense.

    Finally, what I discovered is that truly successful leaders are relationship builders and affect change in the world with the support of others who buy into their vision.

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    Pioneers of the Possible

  • (PP): I find it interesting that you recommend we demystify the essence of leadership. What do you mean by this?

    (AN): In my decade long research on leadership, I can safely say that there is a leader within all of us. Leadership is not just about running multinational organizations or leading countries. It is not about being an extrovert either. Leadership is about bringing our most authentic and passionate selves to our lives and affecting change one person at a time. That is why I created My Personal Coach App…an App that assesses your strengths and engages you in daily challenges and inspirations

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    My Personal Coach App

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    My Personal Coach App

  • (PP): You are a “Pioneer of the Possible” in your own right. You have an impressive list of accomplishments both personally and professionally and have made contributions on both a local and global level. What do you suggest for people who may think your level of growth and success are beyond their reach?

    (AN): Believe it or not, I never knew in my 20’s that I would be involved in such exciting projects myself. There have been a good many “pinch me” moments because even now there is a part of me that is still that wide-eyed 11 year-old girl. I believe that comparing ourselves, our needs and goals with others seems to be one of the surest ways of feeling “less than”.   We all should nurture a sense of possibility for ourselves and our growth, knowing that each of us can make a unique contribution.

    Seeking out mentors and spending time with people who you admire is a good way for us to get a jump-start on our path. Many doors open for us when we have the courage to take that first difficult step toward our goals. I often ask women “what would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?”

    (PP): I downloaded your app My Personal Coach and I took the personality test. I’m turning the questions on you now. Do you prefer your day to be routine or do you try to keep it spontaneous? While we’re on the subject of your personal life, what’s an average day like for you? What keeps you centered and grounded? How do you recharge?

    (AN): I do tend to keep good amount of structure to my days, because it is the only way I can fit my priorities during the week. Just imagine, I could never write a book if I did not block out a significant amount of hours to doing research and writing. I try not to plan too much during the weekend so that I can have a sense of space and openness in my schedule. Going to galleries and artists’ studios is a highlight for me and keeps me inspired and happy on weekends.

    During the week, I wake up at around 6am. It is the best time for me to read and write with no interruptions. After a breakfast with David, my husband, I usually schedule in my dance classes two to three times a week. Since I know I am not gym person, I have incorporated dancing as a way to keep fit.

    I tend to spend the rest of the day working on the various projects— whether it is my non-profit, Looking Beyond, or organizing the details of the next women’s salon. As we all know, so much work goes into bringing great speakers and collaborating with our sponsors. I do quite a bit of speaking at conferences, so I am constantly working on new topics to discuss with my audience.

    Evenings are spent with family and friends, which is one of the ways I recharge.

    I know that my schedule will be more flexible when the kids come home from college in the summer. I will be ending my days earlier and blocking out time to spend time with them and travel— but nevertheless I will have an eye on my deadlines! We all juggle so much, but this is the blessing of having fullness in our lives.

    (PP): You’re a woman always on the move. What’s next for you? What do you hope to accomplish in the next year? Over the next 3-5 years?

    (AN): I am incredibly excited about writing about another group of 20 visionary women around the world. The research phase is coming to an end, and I will be writing the book this year. I have already uncovered more nuggets of wisdom to share with my readers.

    I hope to establish a non-profit around supporting women’s thought leadership programs and initiatives. I truly believe that our voice and power is magnified when we engage others in our vision. I hope that in the next couple of years this non-profit plays a significant role in empowering other women and girls.

    To learn more about Angella Nazarian, you can visit http://angellanazarian.com/