The Hands That Lead

A hands on kind of leader…

FemCorp

Saturday March 03, 2018

Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * Part 5

Claudia walked in to the office building and stopped for just a moment to chat with some of the underlings before heading up to her office as CEO of FemCorp.

She hadn’t always been CEO of course, nor had it always been called FemCorp.  She’d started out as a first level manager and worked her way up the corporate ladder quickly, becoming CFO is just 5 years.  She’d brought her friends along for the ride; Jessica, Monica and Debra.  They were her VP’s now and between them they ruled the company like an iron fist.

She’d staged a coup of the company from the owner and previous CEO Richard.  She’d been ruthless taking “ManCorp” away from him and his antiquated ideas about fashion and a woman’s place.  If she had to put a single word to it, it would have been Stepfordesque.

She’d quickly renamed the company and set it on it’s new course towards empowering women through fashion in the corporate world.  Well, at least after the lawsuit was dismissed.

She’d have though Robert would have been happy at the tens of millions he’d gotten though his golden parachute and the stocks the company had bought back from him, but some people were just never satisfied she guessed.

“Miss Carlson?” the voice of her personal assistant came from the door and Claudia looked up from her computer screen.

“Yes Sandra?” she replied.

“Your 9am meeting in the boardroom is ready.”

“Thank you.” Claudia replied abruptly and stood from behind her desk, frowning as she walked towards the boardroom.

She wasn’t looking forward to the meeting, in fact she had been trying to sabotage it since the board recommended the “brand consultant”, but the board had insisted and so she’d agreed to co-operate with him.

The board had been very happy when she’d first taken over, increasing their market share and sending sales through the roof, but recently things had plateaued and it didn’t seem to matter what she did to try and get them moving again.

So, at the last board meeting, they’d recommended bringing in a brand consultant, and not just any consultant, but Miller/Davidson Inc.

They were known for making major changes to brands to re-vitalise them and Claudia was going to have none of it.  She’d remade the company in her own ideals and she wasn’t going to sell out to any smarmy brand consultant just to increase sales a few points.

It had only gotten worse at the first meeting two weeks ago with the team from Miller/Davidson.  She’d agreed to go to their offices, to keep things under wraps until she figured out a way to get out of it, but when she’d walked in to the meeting room, there was Richard at the head of the table.

Apparently Miller/Davidson had hired him as a consultant to lead the re-branding as soon as they’d landed the contract.  She’d done her best to convince them to select someone else, but their logic was too solid.  After all, who better to lead the re-branding than someone who had so much experience in the industry and at the company?

She stepped in to the board room and looked around, Richard was at the far end, by the projector screen, his presentation already queued up, along with two of his ‘associates’.  She used the term loosely as they were more eye candy than anything as far as she could tell.  Vapid smiles plastered on their young pretty faces and their clothing cut just a little to provocative to be proper but still barely acceptable for business.  One was a bombshell blonde and the other a dark simmering brunette and neither could be over 24.

She looked at her three friends seated at the other end of the table and let a small smile cross her lips.  Debra, now CFO, wore a conservative pants suit, the white blouse in stark contrast to her dark skin.  Jessica’s brunette hair almost matched the colour of the one associate that had come with Richard, but nothing else was remotely the same.  Jessica, the VP of manufacturing, had a stern look on her face and her power suit let everything to the imagination.  Monica stood out from the rest though, her small asian frame and features seemed to contrast the stylish modern dress she wore as head of marketing.

Claudia walked over and took the empty seat beside Jessica and turned to Richard, “Alright, let’s get started.” she said.

Richard smiled, “Yes, of course.  Now then over the last few weeks we’ve been conducting interviews and sending out questionnaires to you and your staff.  We’ve compiled this information along with industry research and have come up with some exciting ideas.”

Claudia winced at the mention of the interviews and questionnaires, the first interview had lasted for hours and at the end they’d installed the questionnaire software on her computer.  Every couple of hours it had popped up and asked yet another question of her, it had grown so aggravating and disruptive, she’d stopped even reading the questions and just selected an answer randomly.

“So, as you know ‘FemCorp’ has been riding a wave of success over the last year or two, but it seems to have run out of gas.  Our research shows this is because you’ve defined too narrow of target market; the corporate power female.”

Claudia frowned, “Well Richard, it’s a bigger market than the happy home maker market.” she said snidely.

“Of course Claudia, of course.  I should really thank you for that by the way, you really opened my eyes up to a broader world.  I fully agree, you did what was necessary, now it’s time to do so again.”

She knew he was playing to her ego, but she wouldn’t be that easy.

“I’m going to walk you thourgh some composite profiles our research has shown could be new area’s for FemCorp to expand in to.  Let’s start with Debz…”

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