Yesterday's Big Event in São Paulo featured "big time" speakers—Frank Maguire, credited by many with creating the fabled FedEx corporate culture; Harvard leadership guru Howard Gardner; strategy Main Man Ram Charan. But the real Star, whom I was lucky enough to meet, was/is Luiza Helena. Up from less than the high end of Brazil's economic spectrum, she has created the nation's top retailer, Magazine Luiza—among other things, it has been one of the Top 10 "best places to work" in Brazil a dozen years running, and the No.1 place twice! (Luiza gives off more energy than a platoon of normal people.)
Upon reaching Chicago I read, in Crain's Chicago Business, a terrific cover story on Padmasree Warrior. She's Chief Technology Officer at Motorola, commanding 20,000 cranky engineers (all of us engineers are congenitally cranky). Her strategy and execution thereof is leading the quite successful effort of recently moribund Motorola to take Nokia head-on.