The Dialogue with Susanne Dalton Dupes

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So here we go with our 63rd installment visiting with Susanne Dalton Dupes, president of Mountain Laurel Leadership, which is committed to developing women leaders. The big result we want is to increase the number of women at decision-making tables throughout East Tennessee. The end result of that is that local companies and organizations will have stronger bottom lines, stronger cultures, and stronger.
 
This sounds interesting, how do you do achieve your results? Mountain Laurel provides a variety of services to build leadership skills in women: -Rising Stars Boot Camp for Emerging Women Leaders -Women's Leadership Summit (annually on the 2nd Friday of June) -Women's Leadership Salon (bi-monthly on the second Thursday of January, March, May, July, September, November) -Women in Readership book club (NEW: Begins January 2017)
 
How did you get started? Our partnership grew out of the East Tennessee Women's Leadership Summit. Each of us is dedicated to increasing the leadership skills of women and the number of women leaders in East Tennessee in all sectors. After holding the Summit for several years, we agreed that we needed to do more to really effect the change we want to create.
 
What is your background? Cumulatively, the three partners of Mountain Laurel Leadership have extensive leadership and development experience to share with their clients. Together, Susanne, Deb Schmitz, and Wendy Pitts Reeves bring -50+ years of leadership experience -70 years as mentors and coaches -50+ years in program and project management -100+ years direct experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sector -Multiple degrees, certifications, and accreditations in directly relevant expertise -Extensive professional and personal networks
 
Who are your mentors? We have put together an advisory board that are strong advocates for our business: -Bob Booker, DENSO -Teri Brahams, Pellissippi State -Angie Cannon, Cannon and Cannon, Inc. -Dr. Catherine Gilreath, retired physician -Dennis Hough, Affirm Consulting -Vandy Kemp, Maryville College -Franciel Linares, Information International Associates -Doug Minter, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce -Mike Ragsdale, Tennessee Strategies
 
Describe your customers. Women who want to: -effectively develop leadership skills. -exert personal influence authentically and confidently. Or who: -struggle with handling workplace conflict. -need a boost in self-management skills (time management, delegation, etc.). Organizations that -have trouble retaining women managers and leaders. -struggle to maximize gender diversity in leadership ranks. -want to maintain a culture and a succession plan that eliminates negative competition between women managers.
 
What impacts you the most? The biggest impact on our environment is the lack of awareness about the disparity of women at leadership levels and knowledge about how integrating women's leadership strengths with men's can really benefit organizations. We are working to change that.
 
What do you enjoy most about this leadership program? Watching our program participants grow in their self-awareness, their willingness to step up to challenges, and their ability to hold difficult conversations and manage conflict.