June 24, 2020 4:00 am Published by

Episode 62:

As Chief Executive Officer of the Women Presidents’ Organization, Camille Burns champions the WPO’s vision to help second-stage women entrepreneurs around the world take their companies to the next level of success.

Camille works to develop and implement innovative programming, supporting the organization’s unique approach to advanced business education for founders looking to scale their companies. She oversees all the organization’s strategic and operational imperatives and cultivates strong relationships with all organization stakeholders — members, Chapter Chairs, corporate sponsors and strategic partners– fostering a collaborative and positive culture in which creativity can thrive.

Owing to the length of her WPO tenure, Camille brings a unique perspective to her role as CEO. Since joining in 2000, she has worked to steer the organization’s significant growth trajectory and expand its international footprint.

As a global brand ambassador for WPO, Camille is an ardent supporter of women’s economic development via entrepreneurship. She is an advisory council member for Enterprising Women Magazine, sits on the Steering Committee of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) and is on the Board of Directors for Go for the Greens — a women entrepreneurs’ business development conference.

Camille is a graduate of New York University with a BA in sociology and an MBA from Baruch College (CUNY), Zicklin School of Business.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Camille’s role as the CEO of the Women Presidents’ Organization
  • How the WPO is preparing women for a post-pandemic future
  • Camille’s experience dealing with the economic downturn as a business leader
  • How the WPO pivoted to thrive amidst the global pandemic
  • What the WPO is doing to help female business leaders adapt
  • How the experiences of WPO members around the globe are differing
  • Different ways members of the WPO are pivoting their businesses
  • New trends and ways of thinking that are here to stay
  • How Camille has dealt with fear, doubt, and uncertainty during these difficult times


A Swift Response to the Global Pandemic

Camille Burns is the CEO of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO). She has spent over twenty years with the organization, and this is her first year leading it. She became the CEO during one of the strongest economies we have ever seen, but as a result of the global pandemic, things took a U-turn only a few short months later. In this episode of the Intentional Greatness podcast, Camille joins us to talk about her role. She shares her experience navigating the economic downturn as a business leader, and she explains how her team was able to adapt in times of rapid change.

Opportunity in Crisis

A transition into the CEO position was a long time in the making, so Camille was prepared. What she was not prepared for was a once-in-a-century pandemic to sweep the globe. Nevertheless, Camille feels extremely lucky to be leading the Women Presidents’ Organization during this time. WPO has been extremely agile, and they redesigned their business model almost overnight. All of their chapters around the globe are running virtually, they launched the first virtual WPO chapter, and the community is thriving in spite of the major changes they had to make.

Adapt and Act

Since Camille operates out of New York proper, she had to adapt very quickly. But the rapid transformation enabled Camille and her team to make huge changes in a short period of time. The WPO had to prioritize to continue operating at that pace, and business owners in the organization were consumed by an overwhelming sense of urgency. This inspired the WPO team to act swiftly, creating content and new lines of communication to serve their members immediately. How do you need to change based on what industry you’re in? What opportunities are you not thinking about? The impact of the pandemic on small businesses has been monumental, but so has the impact of great leaders.

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