Name: Lianne Kennedy-Boudali
Job / Title: Senior Director
Q: From your perspective, what are the most important trends that will take place in your industry in the next 10 years?
Lianne: In my current role, I advise ultra-high-net-worth individuals on personal and family security. Technology allows us a great deal of freedom and offers ways to connect with people we don’t know; however, technology also exposes us to new kinds of personal risk. For example, many people don’t realize that lax privacy settings and geotagging on social media accounts can reveal enough information for someone to locate their kids’ school or know when their house is empty. Also, most people don’t use passwords that are strong enough to protect their financial accounts from a determined hacker. In the next ten years, we will all have to take greater individual responsibility for securing private information and guarding against cyber threats. Additional government regulation around social media, data security, and corporate liability is likely.
Q: What have been the hallmarks of your success?
Lianne: The hallmarks of my success have been willingness to take risks and follow my instincts about changing industries. When I’ve changed roles, it’s generally because I felt that I needed a new challenge, or that I had learned what I could at a particular organization. I follow my own curiosity, which has led me from being an art-school recruiter, to a Peace Corps Volunteer, to teaching at West Point and working in national security, and now to the private sector. My career path has been anything but linear, and I don’t regret any of the choices I’ve made (although some of them were scary at the time). Someone once told me that she starts every new year by assessing whether she should remain in her current role or make a change. That sort of self-reflection takes a great deal of courage, but it’s indicative of a mindset that focuses on growth rather than accepting the status quo.
To be successful, I have to be doing work that is interesting and challenging; so long as that is the case, I bring my best self to whatever I do. I also make it a point to be a good colleague – cooperation is often key to success!
Q: What is your recommendation for choosing a good mentor?
Lianne: I don’t believe we can choose good mentors; I think we have to recognize what each person can teach us when we meet them. In my experience, different people offer different elements of mentorship: one person may guide you in industry knowledge; someone else might introduce you to other people; and a third person can be your leadership coach. The idea that we can find a magical mentor who has all these talents and who will somehow transform our lives is a myth, and frankly a disservice. Keeping an open mind about what you can learn from anyone in your circle is a realistic way to get “mentorship” every day.
Q: What are the hallmark traits of a great leader that you have observed in your career?
Lianne: The best leaders that I have worked with are honest, fair, and consistent, and they have a vision for where they want to go. I learned a great deal about leadership while teaching at West Point, where department leaders set clear expectations and treated everyone with respect. Leaders have to believe in their organization and its mission or else they cannot lead with authentic passion.
Q: How important is developing a management style?
Lianne: It is very important for everyone to consciously develop a management style. When I became a manager, I thought about leaders that I admired (and some that I didn’t) and I read a lot of books about management theory. Some of my favorite books on leadership are “How Remarkable Women Lead,” by Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston, and “Being the Boss,” by Linda Hill and Kent Lineback.
At the same time, I thought about what kind of leader (not just what kind of “manager”) I wanted to be and what I wanted to be known for. My personality is low-key; I’m not a cheerleader by nature, so I base my leadership on building relationships, thoughtful dialogue, and a coaching approach. Trust and honesty are keys to any team’s success, and I model what I expect from others. Leading in a way that is authentic to me allows me to lead with confidence.
Q: What are ways that you have balanced career, personal, and other interests?
Lianne: I believe that we teach people how to treat us, and so for me, setting expectations with colleagues around work-life balance is key. I let co-workers know that I will be out of the office for events at my child’s school, for example. Fortunately, I have worked at organizations where people understand that we all have a life outside the office. Setting expectations at home is also important, whether that’s ensuring that I have time to see friends or attend a CLUB event – even if that means I’m not home for dinner. Balance starts with having the self-awareness to know what you want, then exercising discipline to make it happen.
Q: In what areas can you give advice to other CLUB members as part of the CLUB mentoring program?
Lianne: I’m signed up to micro-mentor on a number of topics – office politics, work-life balance, career change.
Q: Fun Facts
Lianne: I love being outdoors, and at one point in my life, I seriously considered becoming a Park Ranger. Instead, I joined the Peace Corps and served as an agroforestry volunteer in Niger.