Leading in Times of Challenge with Nora Everett
Nora Everett is a retired CEO and board chair of Principal Funds. She has co-funded Principal’s Women’s Network for Leaders and chaired Principal’s diversity council.
After joining a D.C. law firm, Nora had her first experience with crisis management in her first job out of law school. Her team stepped in and helped companies in financial trouble who were running out of cash. After moving to Iowa, she spent 25 years at Principal, taking on various leadership roles. In 2008, she transitioned from being a lawyer to a business leader.
Nora Everett Leadership Tips
In 2008, liquidity disappeared. Even the safest assets were losing value. At Principal Funds, Nora says they lost two-thirds of earnings, which created fear and anxiety amongst employees, clients and shareholders. It was her biggest challenge as a leader. In crisis, it’s difficult to keep perspective. Nora kept morale up through focusing on this question: Where will this crisis have the greatest impact on us? Her team worked to identify risks and outlined where to pivot before moving to create contingency plans. She also says it was important to stay on offense and keep teams focused on their jobs. In situations with uncertainty, Nora encouraged team leaders to continue constant communication and focus on what was within their control.
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The Leading in Times of Change podcast is brought to you by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and hosted by Mike Jefferson. The podcast features community leaders from across Greater Des Moines (DSM). To listen to more Partnership podcasts, click here.