Leadership Is Influence: A continuing series
A few weeks ago, I shared my experience with The Op-Ed Project, a non-profit that trains women to write op-eds. Since then my op-ed was successfully published by the San Jose Mercury News, the second largest newspaper in California and covered by USA Today.
In this post, I will review the process of writing and pitching my op-ed along with specific feedback that I received from my op-ed mentor.
Kapadia also suggested restructuring the piece. I had learned that irony is one way to engage the reader, which I had included, but in the second paragraph. Kapadia encouraged me by stating, "I really liked the irony of your second paragraph and think that idea might offer more of a hook and better lead into the piece."
Finally she told me to cut the extras I had added when she saw my original blog entry. "Focus on just the latter half. That's your strongest material."
With Kapadia's recommendations implemented, I was ready to pitch my piece. I selected the San Jose Mercury News, the paper of Silicon Valley, since Cisco is a Silicon Valley leader. The editor, Barbara Marshmann, is a woman which I hoped was a good omen. From LinkedIn, I learned she is also an alumni from Stanford University as a Knight Rider Fellow in Journalism. I was a Sloan Fellow in Business in the same era at Stanford.
My pitch was brief and to the point as I was taught during my class and included below
Summary: 645-word essay. The paperless office was first predicted 40 years ago, but was slow to materialize. Business is finally positioned to reap the economic and environmental rewards. Cisco is used as a case study.
• Business – Cutting 60% of average worker’s paper consumption yields $360 annual savings.
• Environment - Of U.S. manufacturing, pulp and paper production is the second largest user of energy and water and third largest contributor to pollution.
Author: Claudia Girrbach is an expert at enabling emerging technology and held IT Leadership roles at Gap and Rite Aid. She was a Sloan Fellow at Stanford University. She is currently Vice President at Integnology, an IT consulting firm.
The entire process was a personal gamechanger, where in less than a month, I could acquire a new skill and with able coaching could successfully put it into practice. Stay tuned.