Alumna Barbara Cohen joins women’s leadership panel

September 06, 2016

This is the second of nine in a series of Q&As with College of the Liberal Arts alumnae who will be participating in Penn State Women: Leaders of Today and Tomorrow. The event, scheduled for Oct. 25-26, will bring together leaders from the finance, technology and business fields for a panel discussion and one-on-one meetings with students from all majors across the University.

Barbara Cohen runs a marketing and strategy consulting firm named Kannon Consulting. The Chicago-based firm provides advice to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations facing market disruption. Below, Cohen answers a few questions about leadership and how she got to where she is today.

What activities did you participate in early in your career and/or as a student that helped prepare you for leadership?

I was an RA in North Halls while at Penn State, which taught me about leadership. I then attended Wharton School of Business for my MBA and worked at P&G, both of which taught me business tools and discipline.

What has been the biggest influence on your career or leadership style?

My parents because they encouraged me to take risks and that they would be there even if I failed. This made trying new things less scary. I used to say, “My mother will always take me back no matter what.”

What one quality do you think is essential in a successful leader?

Ability to listen and lead by example

How have you been able to utilize your liberal arts background during your career?

Consulting is by its nature problem-solving, which requires the ability to think analytically and frame issues in new ways. Liberal arts graduates are uniquely qualified for this.

  • Barbara Cohen

    Barbara Cohen

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated September 06, 2016