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January 19, 2010 

Where Do Women Stand? We've assembled five of Washington's most powerful women to talk about how their gender is doing in the executive workplace. In November, this event sold out when signups reached room capacity of 450. Don't miss your chance. Sequoia Restaurant, Friday, Jan 22. Sign up now!

Last week, we met up with the other Man of Steel: American Iron and Steel Institute CEO Tom Gibson. The "policy guy" was brought in to make AISI more policy-oriented in 2008. He formerly served as chief of staff at the Environmental Protection Agency and, most recently, as SVP of advocacy at the American Chemistry Council.
American Iron and Steel Institute CEO Tom Gibson

Last year, Tom made five hires to AISI's now 17-person public policy team, including a new SVP and general counsel. He has also integrated the communications team more aggressively into policy efforts. Here, he shows us a pamphlet and Metro poster from a recent marketing campaign targeting government employees and Hill staffers. Given the economy (the steel industry dropped to 40% capacity at its lowest last year), Tom sees associations focusing on a shorter set of issues. AISI has centered on climate and trade legislation, while relying on broader groups for issues like health care: "You can't do every issue for all members anymore."

Nancy Gravatt and American Iron and Steel Institute CEO Tom Gibson

When he's not on the Hill, you might find Tom on the beach or at a ball game. The Jersey City native holds Nats season tickets behind home plate. Communications VP Nancy Gravatt and Tom search for the back of his head in this WaPo photo taken on Opening Day '05, when baseball returned to DC. Tom also makes regular trips to his beach house in Corolla, NC. But even when he escapes the Capital, he sometimes brings part of it with him: "A lot of policy wonks have hung out at my beach house.”


Executive recruiter Leonard Pfeiffer

Signing bonuses are out, performance bonuses are in, says executive recruiter Leonard Pfeiffer. Pre-recession, he says many associations and non-profits would fork over $10K to $75K, but now, it's much less common for them to hand out any money right off the bat. Instead, Leonard sees a trend toward aggressive performance bonuses that will ensure new executives have incentive to get things done. He suggests that new CEOs write a proposal on how that bonus will be awarded and present it to the board within six months of starting. The board won’t have the time or know-how to write it themselves; and besides, many won't find it in their interest.

Executive recruiter Leonard Pfeiffer

Leonard tells us there's pent up demand for new leadership because many executives who planned to retire last year held off when the recession hit. He expects that as the economy improves, there will be a spike in turnover. Another non-profit trend: intensive reference checks. Over the past ten years, charities have become especially concerned with vetting candidates to avoid scandal. (It's why you won't see Gilbert Arenas as the new CEO of the Brady Campaign.) The most common red flags that Leonard runs into when investigating potential job candidates are credit problems

National Religious Broadcasters membership VP Robert McFarland

The National Religious Broadcasters, a Manassas-based group of 1,300 Christian communication organizations, is trying to hold on to financially struggling members by asking them to pay what they can. "Half a loaf is better than no loaf," says membership VP Robert McFarland. NRB evaluates members on a case-by-case basis to determine whether to reduce dues, which range from $475 to more than $15,000 depending on revenue and expenses of the organization. Members are expected to return to paying full dues the following year. "Our CEO felt very strongly that this is something that we need to do to keep members on," Robert says.


January 22 - Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze, What do Women Want? (Part II) - 7:45-10:00am - Sequoia Restaurant. Info

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