and the Art of the Real Deal

I just attended an exciting NEW event. NEW is short for Network of Executive Women. (Yes, I know I’m a guy. I was still quite welcome. NEW, among its other goals, is working to have men comprise 10% of its membership. After all, just 22% of senior roles in G7 companies are occupied by women. So NEW is also focused on developing the other 78% — men — to be more conscious of the gap.)

Liza Landsman, president of, was the featured speaker and was interviewed by Tracey Brown, Chief Experience Officer at Sam’s Club. Honestly? It was terrific. Both of them were terrific.

Credit: Celebrate Arkansas Magazine

Liza is winning. Much of this is her sense of humor. She’s not the kind of person who tells jokes. She just thinks about life in an amusing way and strings words and phrases together in a fashion that makes you smile or even laugh out loud. Often. Her comments were occasionally irreverent or self-deprecating and frequently unexpected. Her humor was genuine and surprising.

And Liza’s bright. This was not a surprise. Many, MANY of her observations gave each of the 500 of us in the audience plenty to think about — long after we’d left the building.

Here are some of Liza’s insights and humor that I’ll remember:

  • When asked about work-life balance: It’s not about work-life balance. It’s about intentionality. Remember what you’re going for.
  • Before discussing advice for women just starting their careers: Remember that it’s never too early to start moisturizing your neck.
  • Discussing diversity and inclusion: If you don’t see diversity and inclusion as a naturally good way to be, you are probably a jerk. Ask Uber how it works to put speed ahead of people, diversity, and inclusion.
  • What men can do more of in the workplace: Be more actively conscious of the different perspectives and challenges women may face at work — don’t assume it’s the same. And, intentionally sponsor others who are different from us — help raise them up.
  • Talking about the ethos of Have a sense of humor and personality about the shopping experience. Make it about developing an emotional relationship with the shopper — not just a transaction.
  • When explaining selling to the urban Millennial mom: The products we feature should reflect her life. Don’t feature a 12-piece sectional sofa that will take up an entire studio apartment.

When Liza and I spoke briefly after the interview, I found her to be the same natural, bright, engaging person she was on stage. Again, the word in my mind: winning.

If Liza Landsman is the real deal (as I think she is), Walmart just made themselves a real good deal with