As the Paris-based director of Cohen Brown Management Group, provider of performance-based behavioral change programs for the financial services industry, Linda Latsko Lockhart, MBA '85, spends most of her time seeking out bank CEOs and executives who are hands-on change agents looking to lead a process for sustainable behavioral change throughout their entire organization - something she describes as "the most difficult business strategy any organization will ever undertake.
"I am responsible for finding CEOs who view their employees as the company's greatest asset, and who value a company-wide 'coaching culture' that is dedicated to an ongoing . . . process of constantly practicing key behaviors that improve sales and service performance," Lockhart writes.
Dedicated to growing Cohen Brown's business throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa, Lockhart travels extensively. A typical week in November included a trip to South Africa and Saudi Arabia: "Monday and Tuesday I was in Cape Town addressing a conference of banking executives from all over the world," Lockhart writes. "Instead of delivering a presentation, I conducted a self-assessment quiz on their personal ability to coach performance that impacts the customer experience they most want to see implemented in their branch networks. I flew back to Paris on Wednesday and went straight to the Saudi consulate to pick up my visa, and on Friday I was in Riyadh working with a team of bankers there."
Not all weeks are quite that grueling. "Each week I am in at least two different countries," Lockhart notes. "But this is not as bad as it sounds. I can get to Belgium from Paris by train in 1 hour and 20 minutes."
Lockhart is also the founder of Global Give Back Girls, an organization devoted to supporting impoverished girls in Kenya by connecting them with women mentors who then provide life coaching and guidance. By corresponding with one another, these women mentors, or big sisters, develop one-on-one relationships with their young counterparts and thereby help to instill the goals, hope, and focus the girls need to overcome obstacles and see their way clear to gaining marketable skills that will not only lead to success in their own lives, but will also enable them to give back as mentors to other girls in time.
Over the two years since its inception, the organization has spread through word of mouth, connecting 100 girls to 100 mentors. "I recruited my girlfriends from all over the globe," writes Lockhart. "Laura Ahto, MBA '85, was one of my first recruits. Laura has personally recruited six others!" The program has grown as one girlfriend shares her experiences with another.
"It is a giving of time and talent, and when done with the right amount of care and attention, 'coaching' and 'mentoring' can change someone's life," notes Lockhart, who also organizes three trips to Kenya each year for big sisters to meet their "little sisters."
Global Give Back Girls currently has programs operating through three schools in Kenya -- St. Martin's, Starehe, and Spirit of Faith - and plans to launch a new program in the Philippines in March 2008.