Boss vs Bossy: How to be Both Ambitious and Approachable

Women in the workplace, the classroom, and the world are often told that they are too aggressive. Even when doing the same task, women are considered pushy while men are considered persuasive. In this breakout, we invite several women and men to share their leadership experience of how this plays out in the workplace and impacts workplace dynamics. Simultaneously, our panel will discuss things that they have done and seen in their own companies to combat the reality that many women are considered bossy while men are considered to be the boss.

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Laura J Kray

Berkeley Haas Professor (moderator)

Laura is a professor at BerkeleyHaas. Kray has published over 60 articles examining how gender stereotypes, power, and status intersect to affect the careers of women and men, including how they approach negotiations, morality, and societal attitudes. She is the founding director of the Women’s Executive Leadership Program of the Center for Executive Education at UC Berkeley. She provides leadership training based on cutting-edge research to organizations across the globe.

Susan Hollingshead

Chief People Officer at Vendini

As Chief People Officer at Vendini, Susan ensures that culture thrives, providing a rich environment for employee development. Susan previously led the charge at Sungevity, Inc. as Chief Administration and People Officer, where she oversaw the company’s growth from 50 people to more than 1000. Prior to that, Susan spent 14 years dedicated to finding solutions to social and environmental issues through the power of business. Susan holds a bachelor of arts in behavioral psychology from Mount Holyoke College.

Naoko Okumoto

Advisor at Plug & Play

Naoko is a senior-level investment and business development executive with a proven track record in building new business portfolios. In addition, she is an advisor/mentor for Plug and Play. Most recently, Naoko was a founding partner of a VC firm. She identified new market opportunities and pursued game-changing technologies, products and services in digital healthcare, mobile, marketing intelligence/ad tech, and consumer products/services. Naoko was previously the Vice President at Yahoo Inc.

James Wang

Co-founder of Lioness

James Wang is co-founder of Lioness, a women’s consumer health company, currently serving as CTO and COO, and a part-time partner at Creative Ventures, an early stage VC focusing on healthcare, agriculture, and industrial technologies. Previously, he has worked at Google[x], Bridgewater Associates, and his own NGO consulting group. He holds an MBA from UC Berkeley where he was a Jack Larson Fellow in Entrepreneurship.