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BLI Alumna Spotlights: Lessons Through Growth

THE SHE-SUITE 100 AWARDS:
The Brand Leadership Institute Alumni Spotlight

Congratulations to the 2024 She-Suite 100 Award recipients, recognizing individuals who have shown significant growth and an improvement in their leadership roles, inspiring others through their development and achievements. They embody the very essence of the Brand Leadership Institute (BLI) core principles: purpose, performance, and sisterhood. Their triumphs resonate far and wide, and we proudly celebrate their unwavering commitment to excellence.

What is The She-Suite Brand Leadership Institute (BLI)?

The She-Suite Brand Leadership Institute is the first customized personal brand e-learning coaching platform built for the enterprise to give working women a proven roadmap to do their best work and live their best lives. The BLI journey fuels purpose and performance through a cohort-based, supportive sisterhood of women from various industries. With elite coaching, accountability partner pairing, and measurable 90-Day Action plan rhythms, participants fast-track next-level performance and elevate the value and visibility of women within their organizations. This initiative supports organizations by recruiting, retaining, and preparing women leaders, promoting diversity representation, and accelerating leadership readiness.

Cigdem Deru
Customer Supply Chain Director, Procter & Gamble
2022 BLI September Cohort
MVP Award

Every team has a Most Valuable Player (MVP): the player who rises to the challenge, lifting not only themselves but also everyone around them. According to Dictionary.com, an MVP is “an accolade or award, originally used in team sports to recognize one player for game-changing excellence, and also used outside of sports to recognize excellence in the contributions of an individual to a group effort.”

This year’s recipient of The She-Suite 100 MVP Award is Cigdem Deru, Customer Supply Chain Director at Procter & Gamble. Cigdem has demonstrated exceptional dedication, resilience, and a commitment to excellence that has set a shining example for her peers—from stepping up as the lead for her cohort to her involvement and impact throughout her company.

As a member of the BLI September 2022 cohort at Procter & Gamble, Cigdem never imagined the profound impact the experience would have on both her professional and personal life. Serving as team leader for the Gold Standard crew, she quickly embodied the name by defining her mission, values, and purpose (MVP). Delving deep into her life’s values, her desired impact on the world, and how she wishes to be perceived, Cigdem embarked on a fulfilling new path that continues to guide her to this day. She explains, “I regularly revisit my MVP statement because it is very dynamic and changes based on the stage I’m at in my personal and professional life. When I feel lost, I refer back to my MVP statement to refine my direction.”

Cigdem, we are thrilled for your success. Thank you for generously sharing your gifts and knowledge with those around you!

Community Champion Award

The next award celebrates individuals who are dedicated to giving back to their community or company by making a positive impact through volunteerism, philanthropy, or other forms of service. We are an island without our community, and it is with great pleasure that we announce Wyona Eaton, Human Resources Representative III, BAE Systems, Inc. as the recipient of The She-Suite 100 Community Champion Award.

Wyona has been an active member not only participating in her community, but crafting community as well. Her embodiment of her community value is shown in the fact that she founded Mothers of African American Male Millennials (AAMM). Their mission is to provide a safe space for mothers of African American male millennials who are seeking healing opportunities, stimulated by experiencing their son’s suicide attempt or death by suicide.

When Wyona embarked on her BLI journey in the spring of 2022, she was oblivious to the transformation she was about to experience. She now reflects, “Today, I often find myself reverting back to the BLI lessons and utilizing my MVP plus B statement. The confidence I’ve gained in my brand has transformed me into an audacious community leader both within the workplace and in my community at large.”

Wyona’s BLI experience fueled her quest to be a source of information about employee mental health and well-being for BAE Systems and she now operates as a company lead in this area. She also transferred her new skills and purpose to her female-focused non-profit organization, AAMM, creating lasting impact with mentorship, support, resources, and providing much needed safe space for mothers of African American male millennials to land and heal.

Wyona, your dedication to enhancing mental health and well-being is the cornerstone of stronger, more resilient communities. Your efforts are truly commendable and greatly appreciated!

Wyona Eaton
Human Resources Representative III, BAE Systems, Inc.
2022 BLI March Cohort
Neeta Jayaraman
Sr. Director, Program Excellence, Electronic Systems, BAE Systems
2022 BLI March Cohort
Purpose Powered Leadership Award

Our final award is to celebrate a special individual who has undergone significant internal growth and transformation where purpose outperforms. It recognizes employees who have demonstrated purposeful leadership, resilience, adaptability, and a commitment to personal and professional development.

Please join us in celebrating the remarkable transformation of Neeta Jayaraman, Senior Director of Program Excellence at BAE Systems. Her journey not only involves internal growth through our program but also stepping up as an advocate for other women and pursuing higher roles within her company.

For Neeta, leadership is about the lives we touch, the change we drive, and the legacy we leave. Her most fulfilling work as a leader involves mentoring fellow women through her role with the Women’s Inclusive Network at BAE Systems. She also works to inspire a next generation of women leaders through her board position at Girls Inc. of New Hampshire–a nonprofit organization which strives to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold in a world marked by uncertainty and constant change.

Neeta attributes much of her success to her work with BLI, particularly the development of her personal statement, which helped her overcome numerous barriers on her journey as a woman leader. She acknowledges, “Navigating and breaking through gender stereotypes and cultural biases, demanded courage, empathy, and a deep commitment to promoting inclusivity and diversity. It’s a reminder that true growth lies on the other side of fear and barriers.”

Neeta, we appreciate the path you’ve forged for countless women through your purpose-powered leadership. Your impactful contributions serve as a beacon of empowerment, lighting the way for future generations of women leaders to follow in your footsteps!

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