Meg Whitman: The Laser Light with a Big Smile

When you reach the Top of the Top, "la Crème de la crème" of the most successful leaders of the world, and you're the only woman out of The 100 Best Performing CEOs in the World,the way you communicate and express yourself in public is certainly worth studying.

Hence, Meg Whitman makes the first of my series about 12 women leaders and 12 communication styles.

  • What makes her stand out?
  • How does she communicate?
  • How could she act as a role model for women in business?

Let's watch her first in this speech


What makes her stand out?

Ease, confidence and flexibility, combined with strong persuasion.

  • Leading eBay from 1998 to 2008, Meg Whitman helped the Company grow from 30
    employees and a little over $ 4million in revenue to more than 15,000
    employees and nearly $8 billion in revenue
  • Prior to eBay, she held various leadership positions with Procter&Gamble, Disney and Hasbro
  • She's now running for Governor of California


How does she communicate?

  • A charismatic leader, she uses influence rather than force.
  • She's flexible when persuasion is needed to convince others, yet fast-paced, swift at making decisions.
  • She's
    famous for being excellent at expressing ideas and she has brought to eBay her
    natural charisma and a strong desire to make a decisive impact.

How could she act as a role model for women in business?

  • Meg Whitman is The Symbol of Success in Corporate America:

"If you’re looking for a role model for your children or grandchildren,
look no further. Share the details of her past and simply focus your
attention to your newspaper, magazine, television or the internet to
see what she’s mastering at the moment. Her bio reads like a fairy
tale, and just when you think her career has peaked, she takes it to
another level." Harry K.Jones

  • She personifies Confidence which is what women crave for
  • She combines a preference for Self-Enhancement, rather masculine, with listening skills, boosted by a great enthusiasm and optimism.
  • Both women AND men can identify with her.

Here's what eBay's executives say about her :

Apart from the fact this is also a political campaign for California, and I don't support any political party here, what strikes me is the way these men speak about their ex CEO :

"Joyful, always having fun, huge smile. She's got a great laugh." (Henry Gomez, former Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, eBay.)

"She's your friend, she's the one who challenges you, she's the one who pushes you to new heights." (Bill Cobb,former President eBay North America.)

"With her laser light focus,she would get to the two or three things which really matters, knock them out and then move on to the next." (Rajiv Dutta, former President Marketplaces, Paypal and Skype, and CFO eBay.)

They're in adoration with the Goddess Meg!

That's why I called her the laser light with a big smile!

In the SPM Leadership and Communication styles Profiling Model, where you can identify 12 preferences, Meg Whitman represents best the Persuader Communication Style.

Persuaders have a strong personal drive to lead and guide others. They are likely to have developed a strong ability to convince others through a variety of communication skills, which can include communicating with a large audience, assertiveness and understanding the motivational drives of others.

Verbal and non-verbal communication : clear, direct but well-structured argument, free flowing body movements, vocally forceful without raising their voice.

Core competencies-Excellent at expressing ideas, assertive, self confident, decisive, competitive, autonomous.

If we take into account the cultural mapping of the SPM, this dimension is also very representative of the Anglo-Saxon culture, and especially the US.

I started with an emblematic personality for the United States, representing a model of assertivity, self-confidence and clear communication.

Meg Whitman is a charismatic woman in a men's world.

We'll see that there are other ways of expressing our voice, around the world, depending on our culture and our values.

It's the 31 st of January, and my first of 12 posts about women leaders.Thanks to your enthusiastic comments , tweets and emails, I'm starting to collect plenty of new names, different personalities I would never have thought before.

Thank YOU!

  • I also decided to write in collaboration with Ann Perschell, who is as passionate as I am about empowering women.
  • With Dorothy Dalton, "it's never too late to start up", or to speak up, we're co-creating a workshop to empower European Women in Bruxelles.
  • In addition to this series, I intend to conduct interviews of women I met thanks to twitter, who have found their Voice and learned to express it, with more or less assertivity or confidence, but always with integrity and passion. They will tell their stories and share their successes, their failures and their hopes, their role models and also their tips.

If you want to be part of this adventure, leave me a comment now!

7 thoughts

  1. A great kick-off to what is bound to be a great series. Can’t wait to see who you pick for the next 11. I love that you are going to use a few “ordinary” women as well.

  2. This is a wonderful post, Marion.
    I love what the people she worked with said about her. It’s so interesting to look at leadership styles through the lens of gender.
    One of my passions is being a catalyst for women to leverage their natural talents, bring them into the way they lead, and develop their female leadership advantage. So I’m excited to see this series unfold.
    And I’m excited to see you’re going to be working with Anne and Dorothy. They rock!

  3. Re: TypePad: [Geronimo Leadership Coaching ] ava diamond submitted a comment on "Meg Whitman: The Laser Light with a Big Smile"
    Thank you for this encouraging comment, Ava. I am so grateful for LinkedIn and Twitter which have opened the doors of so many talented and dedicated women. You’re certainly one of the women I’d love to interview! Are you ready for it? Your experience as a coach, writer and interviewer yourself should be awesome!

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