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February 2014 Newsletter
Smart Talk
Who is Audrey?

Media Blitz

Key Factors in how the 'Car Gal' rose to the top of GM

Another woman has joined the ranks of CEO of  a major corporation and was recently identified by President Obama during his Sate of the Union address (you may have seen her-she was in the audience). Mary Barra will succeed Daniel Akerson as CEO of General Motors. Barra started in 1980 when she was a student at the General Motors Institute. At that time, few would have ever imagined that a woman would rise so quickly to the top position and in a historically male dominated organization. There were several factors at work that catapulted her rise to CEO. Virginia Postrel (Bloomberg News) identified the factors that worked in Barra's favor:

1. Daddy Factor: Barra commented on how attitudes have changed in the last 3 decades, "You started to see an enlightening. And some people, they even say, 'My daughter just graduated from college and I want her to have these opportunities."' Her own father spent his career as an engineer in large industrial companies in the South and he observed that corporate barriers were easier for women than for blacks because white male executives could vision their own daughters as employees.

2. The Crisis Factor: Unfortunately, many women have only obtained CEO during crisis situations (think Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina at HO or Marissa Mayer at Yahoo Inc). Barra appointment came a day after the U.S. Treasury sold its remaining stock. However, even with that divestiture, GM remains "Government Motors" to many-a loser company.

3. The "Car Gal" Factor: In September 2013 Akerson told a woman's leadership conference "The Detroit Three are all run by non-car guys. Someday there will be a Detroit Three that's run by a car gal." Barra's appointment fulfills that prediction. He was predicting the return of someone steeped in car culture. Akerson himself came out of the telecom world.

Now, let's hope that Barra can overcome the "crisis factor" and bring GM to the forefront as a success. Unfortunately, women are often given an opportunity, but only when the ship is sinking!

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Audrey Nelson PhD.
is an international trainer, key-note speaker, consultant and author who works with organizations to increase their productivity and profitability through winning communication strategies.

You can reach Audrey at
or at 303.448.1800 O -  303-448-1801 F - 303.448.1802 C

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Have you checked out Audrey’s blog?
psy today

Haven't Things Changed?
The Seven Most Asked Questions About Gender Communication
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Don't miss this!

Audrey was invited to present He Speaks, She Speaks to a Women's Leadership Development group at the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce, Denver, Colorado.

minesAudrey presented Your Generation or Mine for the Diversity and Inclusion lecture at Colorado School of Mines.

What People are saying about Audrey

Audrey conducted The Art of Conscious Communication for EKS&H. The following feedback from participants was provided by Christine Voss, Learning and Development Senior:

I loved it! I’d be interested in taking more of her courses.”

“I just wanted to express again my thanks for the session this morning with Dr. Nelson.  I actually found it to be one of the most valuable training sessions I have attended in a long, long time; and would have had no trouble spending a full day learning from her.”

“I thought she did an amazing job of being fun, providing real live stories, very practical reminders.  I found the class to be extremely valuable and worth my time.  Great reminders as we head into busy season and forget to just pick up the phone or stop by someone’s office.”

“My main takeaway’s from the class are:

  1. Paraphrasing – I need to get better at it.  Practice pulling the two impact words from a person’s statement and repeat them in a form of a question to the speaker (e.g. from what I understand, you want $3,000 dropped from your bill and want additional five interviews added as a change order). 
  2. Use voicemail more frequently.  While a face to face conversation is the best at conveying an idea and building trust, a phone call is second best.  Email/texting/FB’ing is the least effective method of conveying an idea or building trust.
  3. Before sending an email, reread it and determine, “could/would I speak these words if I was in front of my intended recipient?”
  4. My number one takeaway: While her children were growing up, Audrey kept the TV off on weekdays.  Neither of her children own a TV today.  I love it. 

Description: EKS&H /

Hi Audrey

Thank you for an engaging presentation and your contribution to the success of the CWCC Corporate Executive Leadership Academy! 

Looking forward to continuing our partnership.

Have a great weekend,

Amy L. Shoemaker, PHR, CMC, EMBA
Director, People Growth Strategies

Audrey's Books

The Gender Communication Handbook –
Conquering Conversational Collisions Between Men and Women


The Gender Communication Handbook is for anyone who works with the opposite sex. If you are a part of a management team, in HR, or develop corporate training, this book is a comprehensive guide filled with smart advice, extensive research, self-assessments, and compelling true-to-life case studies. More

Code Switching –
How to Talk so Men will Listen

Code Switching

Code Switching  is a hands-on tool for everyday use at the office. It is a practical resource with how-to steps to help businesswomen conquer the communication nuances between men and women in the workplace. This book explores the gender impact on business talk. - More

You Don’t Say – Navigating Nonverbal Communication Between the Sexes


You Don't Say is the first book to explore the misunderstandings that often arise between the sexes due to nonverbal communication — and to show readers how to say what they mean and get what they want. More than words, it's nonverbal cues that have the power to improve — or impair — our interactions with the opposite sex at home and in the workplace.

"Audrey's Top 4 CD Communication Hits"


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