August 3, 2023

Compassionate CMO Leaders… Unite!

Purpose. Perspective. Power up. People. Positivity.

These are Dalia Feldheim’s 5P’s of compassionate leadership, which she laid out in a powerful Bonus Huddle about how CMOs can be better bosses, or, as Dalia put it in her book of the same name: Dare to lead like a girl.

With a collection of inspiring and heartfelt stories across an illustrious career, Dalia is set on inspiring better businesses and work cultures through focusing on individual strengths, positivity, and compassion. This is an episode dedicated to great leadership, founded by a strong purpose: “To put the hearts of your people in the heart of what you do.”

What You’ll Learn 

  • How to be a better, more compassionate leader 
  • Why goal setting is so important 
  • How to overcome biases in the workplace

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 356 on YouTube

Resources Mentioned 


  • [2:36] Tracing Dalia’s career around the globe   
  • [6:42] Goal setting: Dream big   
  • [9:12] Leadership lessons from the Israeli army   
  • [12:03] The winning Tampax campaign  
  • [17:43] On TED Talking  
  • [22:53] A tale of two tissue boxes  
  • [28:43] Embracing your team’s strengths   
  • [34:00] Dalia’s 5P’s of compassionate leadership   
  • [39:31] On being “good enough” & redefining success   
  • [44:56] Overcoming biases in the workplace  
  • [51:11] Uppiness: A workplace culture game

Highlighted Quotes  

“The 40% that said strengths are more important than weaknesses were 2x more likely to succeed.” —@DaliaFeldheim Share on X

“Positive psychology is not about the glass half full. It's about knowing that you have a whole jug of resources that you can use.” —@DaliaFeldheim Share on X

“Our brain in a positive state is 31% more productive. It's not that success leads to happiness; it’s the opposite: Happiness leads to success.” —@DaliaFeldheim Share on X

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Dalia Feldheim


Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. I’m excited that you’re here to listen to another episode of Renegade Marketers Unite. And if this is your first time listening then welcome. This show is brought to you by CMO Huddles, the only marketing community dedicated to inspiring B2B greatness and that has a logo featuring penguins. Wait, what? Yeah, well, a group of these curious, adaptable, and problem solving birds is called the Huddle. And the B2B marketers at CMO Huddles are all that and more. Huddling together to heat up the coldest job in the C-Suite. And now that CMO Huddles has three membership tiers, we’re ready to inspire B2B greatness at all levels. To learn more, check out

Now before we get to the episode, here’s a shout out to the professionals at Share Your Genius. We started working with him over a year ago to make this show even better and have been blown away by their strategic and executional prowess. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or want to turbocharge your current show, be sure to talk to Rachel Downey at and tell her Drew sent you. Okay, let’s get on with today’s episode.

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing renegade Drew Neisser.

Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers. Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, the top rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing-obsessed individuals.

Alrighty folks, you’re about to listen to a Bonus Huddle, a specially curated Huddle that we run once a month with experts sharing their insights into the topics that are most important to our CMO community, we call them Huddlers.

The expert at this particular Huddle was Dalia Feldheim, founder and CEO of Flow Leadership Consultancy and author of an excellent book called Lead Like a Girl. Lots of lessons on Leadership for everybody. Let’s get to it.

I’m excited to welcome Dalia Feldheim, a former CMO, a current leadership coach, and the best selling author of “Dare to Lead Like a Girl: How to Survive and Thrive in the Corporate Jungle.” Today we’ll be diving into her book, discussing specific actions CMOs can take to become better leaders, and exploring some of the real life examples she shares in her book—which by the way I did read last night and really enjoyed it. So anyway, how are you and where are you this fine day?

Dalia Feldheim: I am amazing. I’m in Israel, where I moved a year and a half ago. And I’m actually a bit wet here because I just went swimming in the ocean.

Drew Neisser: Oh my gosh.

Dalia Feldheim: I started working with the team in Australia this morning at what was 5am. Those are my days these days. Australia/US days. Whatever works!

Drew Neisser: First of all, jealous that you got a swim in. That’s awesome. I can imagine that off of Tel Aviv. I’ve been in that ocean in the Mediterranean anyway. Now. It’s a perfect segue because my first question for you is you’ve lived all over the world. I mean, Israel now but Singapore, Switzerland, I think, did you live in India too?

Dalia Feldheim: No, I worked a lot in India, but I never lived there.

Drew Neisser: You worked a lot in India, but you lived in Moscow. Right? So I’m just curious how these experiences sort of contributed to your approach to leadership?

Dalia Feldheim: Oh, wow. Well, first of all, I’m really lucky because I have a crazy enterpreneur husband. And I think each one of the moves was an adventure in its own. I remember the very first actually moving to Geneva so I was studying psychology and business here in Tel Aviv University and I knew I wanted to do psychology and then everyone from my businesses school came to me and said, “You’re not going to the P&G interview?” First time P&G is in the campus. I went, I applied. I got in. And then I came to my then boyfriend of two years and I told him, “Hey, I got accepted to P&G in Geneva.” He said, “Wow, amazing skiing. Let’s go.” So we went for what was supposed to be one year my parents are British. Okay, so I always joke and say I’m made in England born in Israel because it’s true. My mom actually moved over pregnant, and I never thought I would be outside for so long. But I started in Geneva was supposed to be a year after year they told us, “Make a life in Geneva. You’re staying here.” And we’re like, “Okay, we love it.” And then same  with Moscow. I mean, do you opportunity came up. I remember my husband started working in another company, and they really wanted him in Moscow. So I came to my company and I said, “Hey, I’m open.” A week later, I get a call, “We have a role for you, you want to take it?” That was Moscow. And then Singapore was the craziest. My boss was over for dinner one night, and we love the adventure. We love developing markets, we love change over complete fixing, a company. So I remember Asia was kind of where it was all happening. And I kind of jokingly told my boss—actually was my husband, “Wow, we would love to live in Asia someday.” And I get a call literally, a week later, “Dalia, do you still want Asia?” And I just said, “Tomorrow.” And he said, “Okay, that’s all I needed to know.” And he closed the phone. And I’m like, frantically texting him, “Okay, not tomorrow, what are we talking about?” He’s like, “Don’t get too excited. But there’s an amazing role they want you. And if you get it, you’re moving in a month.” And we just finished building a house in Geneva, which took all our blood, sweat and tears. And literally, we moved into the house and within a month we moved again to Singapore. So what did it teach me about leadership? Leadership is all about—have an idea of where you’re heading, have a game plan, have a vision have a purpose, but don’t forget to enjoy the view and the way because opportunities get thrown at you. Everyone gets these opportunities, it’s just not everyone picks them up. So I think that was my biggest learning. And that actually came from this, hey, great opportunity. Let’s see what it entails. And we’ve enjoyed every single experience.

Drew Neisser: Amazing, and just a lot of jealousy on my part again. So that’s two now. You’re two for two on that front.

One of the things I noticed in your book, you had an advisor saw someone speak who talked about dreaming big, and writing things down and where you want to be in five years. And I remember in the book, you mentioned that you wanted to have a lake house in Geneva. And sure enough, like it came true. It’s crazy.

Dalia Feldheim: That was crazy, like I attended a training as very young ABM, I was two years associate brand manager, right. P&G has all the acronyms. So I was two years in the company and we had the lecture. And at the end of the lecture, she kind of gave us this little piece of paper. First of all, I remember one side was the credo, they drew a circle in the sand and left me out, I drew a bigger circle and left me in which I absolutely loved. So it became a big inclusion entre. But then on the other side, she said, “Hey, write down five goals.” I wrote, “I want to be promoted.” I was very, you know, achievement oriented, “I want to be promoted twice. I want to have three kids.” And this was in five years, right? I was kind of running out of ideas and she’s like, “Dream big, dream big.” I’m like, “I want to have a house on the lake in Geneva.” And I remember, then opportunities came, my kids came really quick, actually, my two oldest are only a year apart, it happens and we’re happy. And then I got promoted really fast. And that also kind of happened. And then when we moved to Moscow, that was an expat assignment. So that means the school is paid, the house is paid. So the first time in our life, we were able to save money. And with the little money we had, my husband actually found this house that was really undervalued because the lady living there refused to leave. We started talking with her and then we bought the house for really, really cheap in these kind of relative terms. And then we befriended her and we just became lucky because I was pregnant. And she kind of connected with us and she decided to leave. And as I was unpacking, and seeing my kind of three children play in the garden of the house we just built, I found that little note, and I just burst into tears. If you would have told me five years ago, everything I wrote down will come true, I would have never believed you. And since then that becomes kind of every training I do every coach and etc. Manifest your dream. Partly they say, “My feet are in the ground, my head is in the sky.” I’m part spiritual, part rational. But there’s something out there, when you manifest to the universe aligned with a made up mind. So when you manifest something be surprised what comes up. So that’s the story there.

Drew Neisser: I love that. Now, speaking of feet on the ground, a lot of your stories reference back to being in Israeli army and I’m just curious how formative that was for you as a leader because I think you were a platoon commander? I may have had the title wrong.

Dalia Feldheim: Yeah. Well, sadly for us in Israel, it’s compulsory, right? And men and women of course, and I always say I hope my kids didn’t have to do it and that there’s global peace. And so for me, especially living abroad, every time people bring in the army, I need to explain it’s compulsory. Luckily, I was a platoon commander of girls, preparing them for basic training. And I always say that’s my crash course in leadership. And there’s something really weird in that experience, but at the age of 19, I was in charge of 200 soldiers. And I remember, stories of building motivation. I had a soldier that was really misbehave, my commander told me—the base command, the highest rank—told me I need to throw her out of the army or put her in jail. And I decided to have like, we call it a drill like a sergeant drill, with her all night. And we started, I just became a coach. We were supposed to do these drills run here and there. But I was just kind of telling her, “Hey, you have this opportunity to serve as equal, forget about the background make a difference.” We spent four hours she broke down into tears. And I remember, I’m tearing up just remembering it, and I remember the next day at 4am, we finished the drills, I sent her to sleep. And the next day, I came to where we were having breakfast. And usually I was a platoon commander. So only my platoon needs to come and salute and she basically made the whole base. So maybe, I don’t know, 500 girls stand up and salute. And since then she became the best soldier ever. Right? And we’ve been in touch years later. And I think many experiences like that just kind of taught me, everyone deserves a chance. Everyone is coachable. It’s just how do we get to the right buttons, believing in people. So that was just one experience but I think yeah, the crash course in leadership, that you’re not a leader unless you have followers. So this means it’s not about managing people, it’s about managing businesses. It’s about leading people that manage businesses. So it was very motivation and what can be delivered when you’re totally fired up. That was kind of one of my biggest learnings from the army and extremely applicable in the business world.

Drew Neisser: Yeah. And of course, the difference in this scenario of being in the army is that there’s a lot more at stake.

Dalia Feldheim: Yeah.

Drew Neisser: Whereas marketers, chances are, we’re not going change lives.

Dalia Feldheim: No we’re changing lives, don’t underestimate.

Well, we may be changing lives, but we’re not necessarily putting our own lives at risk.

Drew Neisser: But I want to go to the direct link here, to me in your army experience, is this moment where you’re actually targeting young recruits into the army. And it happens to be the Israeli army. And I just I love the story of you writing the letter and so forth. I’m wondering if you could just give a brief share of that.

Dalia Feldheim: Wow you did read that book.

Drew Neisser: There we go. I passed the quiz. Yes.

Dalia Feldheim: Well, one of my favorite kind of pieces of work that I do today with companies is find your purpose. And I work with companies to find that purpose. And that’s why it’s the first P in my book in the framework because it influences everything else. When I reflect on my Korean P&G, I know why I was on fire. I was on fire because I was completely aligned with my purpose every single day. I knew from day one, that it was about empowering and inspiring people. And I often tell the story of how did I find my purpose for the first time, so I was a platoon commander and I studied psychology and business and started at P&G. So it was about three years after I was a platoon commander that I was an associate brand manager and Fem Care, so Always, Tampax, in the old days were 70% of our profit, it was a very big deal. And one of our competitors was about to launch into the market cortex. And I remember the first lesson of the best offensive defense, right? So preparing for that launch, I went and I analyze where our weak spots were. And we discovered that one of our weak spots was around 18 year old girls. Now where are 18 year old girls ? In the army. So I said, “Okay, why is this happening?” We know they start to make their own money from the army and it’s not a lot. So they start skimping and buying cheaper brands and maybe they don’t have the resonance with the brand anymore. So I knew I wanted to target these girls and I knew I wanted to do it through the army. So I had to think of an idea of how to be relevant to how to sell this idea that I have sampling of to the army. And  many girls when they come, a wash bag is really important because, I won’t take you through all to the detail, but you run into public showers and everything gets messed up and wet and you know, it’s a mess. So we created this kind of sophisticated wash bag with compartments for your pads and etc. And the Army loved it. And we sold it in and they agreed to sample every single soldier in the first day of recruitment. Now a week before we launched the campaign, I kind of really wanted to add something personal. And I asked the agency and they didn’t come up with a perfect thing. So one evening I was sitting down and I was writing as inspiration for the agency. And I remember, you know the term “flow” right? Flow is—sometimes called meditation in action—when we’re so engrossed in what we’re doing, we lose track of time. I was in total flow, I was writing for these girls really putting myself in their shoes. I remember saying goodbye to your parents getting onto the bus and you’re rummaging through what the Army gave you and you’re scared like crazy, who’s going to take care of you. And I spoke about those emotions. And I spoke about hygiene in the army and why we created this gift bag. But I also spoke about empowerment and how proud she should be for serving in the army as equal and going through this hardship. And I remember I lost track of time, as often happens when you’re in a state of flow, and I literally fell asleep. And the next morning, my boss came in and he’s like, “Dahlia, what are you doing here?” And I’m like, “Oh, I just wrote this letter as an example for the agency.” And he was like, “Can I read it?” And he read it, and he teared up within seconds. And he told me, “Dahlia, you don’t change anything. I want you to sign it Dahlia with your real name, X platoon commander, and we’re going to ship it as is.” A week later the campaign went out. And two days later, I was called in I remember it was a Friday, I was called into the service line and they’re like, “Oh my god, Dalia, you have to come here. We’re inundated by calls from soldiers and their moms, soldiers come home on the weekend, just to say thank you for being there at such an emotional moment.” And for you marketers out there, that is the magic of marketing, being there when and where with the right message that resonated. And that’s when I realized I’m not in the business of selling pads I’m in the business of women and people empowerment and I was lucky that P&G enabled me to live my purpose later on with the “Always: Like a Girl” in Russia and “Be the Star You Are” Tampax, “Mother Nature All Can”, advertising awards winning. So but it all really started by aligning my personal purpose with the company purpose, and focusing on the higher order benefit that our brands serve our consumers. So that was kind of a big success factor, I think in my career was P&G.

Drew Neisser: Besides the fact that I’m tearing up as I hear this story, because that can just imagine these young women reading this and the ability to empathize with them, because you have been there. What’s so interesting here is in B2B, in particular, sometimes it’s very difficult to get to that level of empathy, you had already experienced it. So you had walked a mile in their shoes, so to speak. And it just reminds me, the challenge for the Huddlers listening, and is how do you get to that level of empathy and insight, particularly if you haven’t been through their job? But and that was not a question. That’s an observation.

Then speaking of observations, I did watch your TED talk last night as well, and enjoyed it. And a couple of things struck me and I’m going to just go stylistic for a moment because I noticed how calm you were, and how deliberate and measured and I’m sure you weren’t necessarily calm inside. But you didn’t have a single non-word throughout the 13 minutes and these wonderful pauses. I’m just thinking, “Oh, my God, you must have rehearsed that a million times.”

Dalia Feldheim: When I’ll tell you it’s actually the whole story with TED, one of my favorite words or concepts is serendipity—when you  throw your desire out there into the world. When I tell the story that I tell in TED for the very first time, Tal Ben-Shahar, who is Harvard’s guru for positive psychology, and now our business partner and a close friend, he was sitting in the audience, and at the end of it, he’s like, “Oh, my God, Dalia, you need to speak on TED, and you need to write a book.” And I remember I literally went, “Me? I’m any girl next door, right?” And he said, “Well, that’s why it’s so relevant.” And so I had this TED goal. And one day, my friend told me, hey, they’re recruiting for TED, why don’t you apply? And then I was India that weekend and we were studying really hard, and they needed a five minutes video. And I’m like, “I don’t know when I’m going to have time to record for five minutes.” Ping, I get an email. I did an interview for some audition to women’s day talk and this guy sent me my five minute video. So I wrote back to him, I said, “Hey, is there any chance you can edit this to three minutes video for me before tomorrow? I want to apply to TED.” And he’s like, “Of course, TED! Amazing.” He sent it to me. I sent it out. And then I didn’t hear from them. And then my grandma passed away. She was 105. It’s a story in its own. I flew to Israel, I land ping, I get this SMS, “You got accepted. But it’s under the condition that in one week, you can be in Israel.” And I’m like surprise, I’m here. So anyway, in the beginning, and for anyone kind of planning to do a TED, I know as marketers were a little bit more comfortable with public speaking. But the TED experience Oh, my god, you know, it was a different level. We had 1000 people in the audience and you know what you’re going to say, I think today 200,000 saw my TED. So it’s quite overwhelming. So I think the three ideas that I have for anyone thinking about the TED. Well, the first thing, yes, luckily, we had an agency working with us and we know that practice makes perfect. Now, I’m not a practice person, I’m a winging it person. Okay, I do public speaking, I have my bullet points. I have a structure like now, right? We’re completely fluid and prompted, and yet my coach did not accept that. Right. It had to be scripted. And I was fighting him like crazy. “You’re killing all my stories, you’re killing my flow.” But we didn’t have a lot of time, I think it was a month and a half only. And we worked on it. And he’s like, “Trust the process.” So we had that total meltdown. Okay, but then towards the end, I would always miss something, a word, etc. But then on the night itself, what was amazing. And the other big tip, my husband actually went and bought the whole second row for friends and family, I could only see up to row three, and they were all supportive faces. And then also, there was another speaker that was talking about underprivileged women, Arab women in Jaffa. And the week before I realized that they’re not actually joining to see her speak about them. So we also kind of donated a few tickets. So the first row was also supporters of these women that came. So I’m sitting there, and I’m literally talking to friends and family. So that was the second big tip. And then the third one, and this is a picture that my coach captured of me two minutes before because I’m talking about a sensitive topic, I’m talking about a bully boss, I was shaking. And if you really, really pay attention, the first kind of few seconds, you would see my voice and my feet, I was shaking before going on stage. But I’m a yoga practitioner, I just sat there, and I did meditation. And I said, “I am going to speak for that one person that this talk would make an impact to the better one.” And I’m just going to focus on that one person. And if I change one person’s life, I changed the world. And that’s what I focused. I said, Forget about the 1000s Hopefully millions that may see it in the future. Focus on that one. So, A. practice makes perfect, B. supportive, find a friendly face in the audience, right? Make sure they smile at you often and really focus on why are you doing it. Why am I sharing this story to make an impact so other people don’t need to go through the pain that I’ve been to and learn from my experience. And I think when you focus on your purpose, “He who has a why can endure any how”, says Nietzsche, and that gave me immense power.

Drew Neisser: I love it. Okay, so tissues and tears are a consistent theme from beginning to end of your book, both in terms of an early boss, who told you to embrace that, to the later boss who sort of launched your entrepreneurial career, if you will. Connect those dots for us and then we’ll get really into the book, but the first story and the sort of the last one and tissues.

Dalia Feldheim: So six months into my role at P&G, I’m a young associate brand manager. And I didn’t have a direct boss because he left and I was reporting directly to the General Manager. So I was launching a big initiative, and my product got stuck in customs. So you know, when you’re working six months on something, and it gets totally screwed up, and I was invited into my General Manager’s office to talk about what went wrong. And I’m sitting there, and frustration is mounting. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I feel frustrated, I have a really automatic reaction—a tear appeared in my eyes. That’s my reaction to frustration. And I’m sitting there and I’m saying, “Oh my god, I’m in my general manager’s office and I’m crying. How embarrassing is that?” And I’m kind of frantically trying to regain my composure. And at that moment, my boss Jim Lafferty, who’s a legend, he looked at me, he offered me a box of tissues. And when I regained my composure, he looked me dead in the eye and he said something I would forever remember. He said, “Dalia, don’t you ever be embarrassed for crying in the office again. It’s a sign of your passion. And passion is your superpower.” Have you ever have a boss like that? So I’m looking at the phases while I was so empowered. And for those 17 years at P&G, I was really lucky to have many managers like Jim that believed in me, sometimes more than I believed in myself. But my career just went from strength to strength. But it wasn’t until I reached the lowest point of my career that I really understood what Jim was talking about, and that’s fast forward 17 years. So I told you I moved from Geneva to Moscow to Singapore and in Singapore I left after 15 years. They wanted me in Geneva, my husband opened his company, I decided to take this amazing role as CMO Asia of another fortune 500 company, amazing company, beautiful mission. I was brought in to lead 200 leaders around Asia, one month into the role I got a new boss and he couldn’t be more different. Okay, so as you can see, I’m all about passion, right creativity, people, then he was all about numbers and scorecard and ROI. And most days, the culture was like ROI, or you die. Anyway, my first encounter he told me, “Dalia, I’m not going to share what you’re good at, I find it a total waste of time. I’m only going to focus on what you need to fix.” And kind of jokingly added, “Oh, and there’s no art in marketing, it’s only science. You just didn’t get it yet.” So you guys in marketing, you probably felt what it was like, I see your eyes rolling. It was like stab and turn. Anyway, that day I was in his office and he was giving me feedback. Now I love feedback. We used to call it “tough love”, you’ve heard that term, right? Feedback that is direct and honest, bring it on, don’t sugarcoat things, feedback that comes from a position of care. Well, that day, there was no love in the room. It was just really denigrating, humiliating, belittling, the worse that feedback can be. And I’m sitting there and I’m holding it in and the frustration is mounting. And then he starts offending my team and I don’t know about you, but that’s when I became a lioness because I knew how hard they worked. And I was just so angry and so frustrated, a tear appeared in my eyes. Now at that moment, he smiled. And he offered me a box of tissues. For a moment, I had that warm, fuzzy feeling, remembering my first boss, Jim. But then I kind of raised my eyes and I noticed something weird about his smile. He turned around the tissue box, and I couldn’t believe my eyes because on that the other side was a handmade sticker he prepared in advance which read, “Dahlia’s tissue box.” You need to see your faces right now because that was my reaction. It was a joke. He was preparing. He was doing everything he could to make me cry and thinking it was funny. And I can tell you, in a very weird way, as you said, and I say in the book, if I meet him today, I’m going to say thank you, because in the weirdest way, I stayed there for three years, I’m a feisty little one. I kept on saying, “I’m not going to quit, why should I quit? He should.” I hired people. I loved what I was doing. And I tried everything in my toolkit, fight, flight, freeze, humor, coaching, I quickly realized you can’t coach someone that doesn’t want to coach. So the end of the story was, luckily for me, I attended a P&G alumni summit, so my previous company, and I walked into the room and I realized, “Whoa, this is what culture should look like, I’m in a toxic environment, I realized I’m a frog in boiling water.” And I decided to leave and then I had an exit interview and he left a few months later. But yeah, in the weirdest way this experience, when I left I said what a waste of human potential. In one company, I was a rockstar. In the second, same person, they thought I delivered I knew I gave them 10% because I was always busy defending myself. So that’s where I decided to, from seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly, work with companies to bring more of the goods and less of the ugly that sadly, we see way too much in the corporate world today. So that’s what led me into what I’m doing.

Drew Neisser: So one of the observations that I think is so interesting is, lean into strengths not weaknesses, and how that is such a important part of the philosophy in your book. Obviously your boss at this pivotal moment was doing the opposite. I’m curious in terms of that, and I’m thinking even at that most basic level I remember coaching seven year old soccer kids and when they talked about the compliment, “Hey, you did a great job running around, next time try this! Oh, you did a great job.” Talk a little bit about philosophically embracing strength and getting your team people aligned with their strengths and not worrying about their weaknesses.

Dalia Feldheim: So in ’98, Rath and Clifton wrote the book,  “Now Change All the Rules” and they basically asked over 3600 leaders around the world, what’s more important strengths or weaknesses? And 60% said weaknesses. In some cultures, like Asia, 80% said weaknesses. But what they found in that research, interestingly enough, those was remaining 40% that said strengths are more important, they were two times more likely to succeed. And the whole logic behind it is that strength strengthen us and weaknesses weaken us. It takes so much more effort to move from a weakness to a neutral, then to move from a neutral to a wow. I like to use the analogy sometimes with my students of a sailboat. Okay, so your sail is your strengths, holes in that sail are your weaknesses. Can you ignore those holes completely? No. You need to attend to them. And if you sit there closing all your holes, but you don’t raise the sail, will you go anywhere? No. So what you need to do is focused on raising your sails while you find ways to close those holes. So it’s not completely ignoring your strengths, whether you can do a training, whether you can hire someone that complements you for the strength as long as your energy is about raising that sail. Your energy is where your passion is. So, you know, very simply, I work today with companies on understanding people’s strengths. As a leader, this is a core skill. Because when you’re aligned on your strength, and you’re aligned on your purpose, and even if you find a passion project that you do, everyone can find a project within a company, especially in the big companies, right? I just did a huge project for Google in Europe. And initially, they were a bit worried on finding a purpose, people will leave. So we started with personal purpose, and then finding their strengths, aligning it to your purpose, and then aligning that to the company purpose. And as a result, they came out each with one or two projects that more aligned to their strengths. They had the align manager discussion and instead of spending, often our brains are wired to negativity, that’s another dynamic. Okay, why is this? It’s hereditary, right? When we were in the woods, we need to pay attention to a bear coming. So we hear negative feedback four times louder than positive feedback. Think about yourself, think about your report card as parents. It’s end of the year, your kids get this amazing report, and then where does your eye go? To the less than perfect. Or you get this holistic feedback, and immediately you’re focusing on what you need to fix. Well, that is the big mistake because when you spend your energy—everyone has a gift. And that gift is different. So my boss was determined that I was too creative and not good enough in process. And I need to learn Six Sigma like he did and he wanted me to be like him where I was a completely different animal. And actually, leaders should hire people that are completely different. The role of the leader, and my first boss in the company used to call it, putting the right people on the right seats in the bus, you need the different skills, you need that alignment of strengths of other people. But what do most people do? They hire people that are similar. They want everyone to be like them. And we’re losing all this creativity and innovation that comes from the diversity that comes from the two times more productive employees when they’re focusing on their strengths. So this theory of Rath, and Clifton, and I was lucky to meet Clifton a few months back, this bible, it became a bible for people management back in 1998. And still, I think it was 2007, they did another research and still only 30% of employees were aware of their strengths and only 17% said they use their strengths every day. So I always say and that’s the beginning of the book, if we were able to bring more employees to be saying, “Yes, I know what my strengths are and I use them every day.” Wow, the exponential growth and potential. So that’s why strength is always the beginning of what I start with.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, and I love that. And I know the audience of folks as CMOs are thinking about that now and assessing their individual teams right now. You can’t help but do it.

I have so many more questions that are specific but just from a broad leadership standpoint, you have your five Ps. Can you just share those I know the first one is purpose and we’ve talked a little bit about that, put a framework on this. We obviously can’t get through all of it but just quickly go through the five P’s.

Dalia Feldheim: Yeah, so when I talk about Dare to Lead Like a Girl it’s a provocation of course, right? It’s based on the Always Like a Girl campaign, but it’s also on based on research that shows that actually, women scored better than men in 17 out of 19 leadership traits and that’s changed over time. That’s because the world has evolved and today in the work from home, work remotely, the need for agility—those soft skills are more important than ever before. So first, the premise for the book is the corporate world is suffering. Okay, one in four experience acute anxiety. 87% are unhappy at work. So the world is suffering, we know what it takes to win. And it’s connecting to these more historically considered feminism. It’s not men versus women. Sorry, there’s no such thing as male versus female brain. We all have inherently both masculine and feminine leadership traits. But we suppress those leadership traits as we grow as we get into corporate. And that’s why it’s not “dare to lead like a woman”, but Dare to Lead Like a Girl, right? So this is about connecting and in one sentence, it’s about leading from your heart. It’s knowing that you need your hands to scale, you need your head, your strategic ability, that goes without saying, but the difference between a manager and a leader is heart. So what does it mean? The five Ps are just a way, coming from marketing, fast and easy to remember. So the first P is, we talked about it, Purpose—aligning to the strengths. The second P is Perspective and this is all about our mental strength, because it’s all between our ears. It’s all this growth mindset. It’s how we learn from failures, etc. The third P is Power. It’s all about energy. We’re seeing that the disease of the 21st century is burnouts. Why? You can’t pour from an empty jug. So what do you do to build energy? If it’s swimming in the ocean or eating healthy food or sleeping properly or what do you do to fill your jug? I always say positive psychology is not about the glass half full. It’s knowing that you have a whole jug of resources that you can use. So what are you doing about filling that jug? So that’s the third P, I call it Power Up. The fourth P is the most important and look around you. Okay, that’s you guys. It’s people, it’s relationship. And I always say there’s no ROI without people. It’s not return on investment, it’s return on interaction. Because we know what drives businesses is relationship. Even as marketers, I talk a lot about empathy. Empathy is a core skill, even for innovation. It’s not only for relationship, think about it for innovation. All of my success was because I was able to put myself in other’s shoes to think of unmet needs, whether you’re B2B or B2C, right? Even if you’re B2B, and you’re selling to a client understanding their needs, how can you uniquely meet them, so that’s in all the people and relationships. And then the last P is around Positivity. And positivity is not about being happy all the time. But about being emotionally, I call it emotionally brave. So giving ourselves the permission to be human. It’s okay not to be okay. And Tal Ben Shahar my mentor often says, “Who doesn’t have negative emotions? Only psychopaths and dead people.” So if you’re sad, that’s great news. But positivity is really about this notion. I jokingly tell the story that my my bully boss used to call me “Miss Kumbaya.” He thought I was too positive. And when I started studying positive psychology, I actually learned that it’s good for business to be Miss Kumbaya. It’s good for business to be positive. Our brain in positive state is 31% more productive. It’s not that success leads to happiness. Okay, Sonja Lyubomirsky amazing research, it’s the opposite. Happiness leads to success. Happier people are more successful in work, in relationship, or healthier. So how do we lead like a girl? It’s from personal purpose, perspective, energy people. But also how do we bring our emotions to the workplace? It’s okay to cry in the workplacem, it’s my way of dealing with frustration. You deal by slamming the door, why is that way of behavior better than others? So now I say, “I’m not embarrassed. This is my way of showing my frustration. Give me a moment. Let’s continue this conversation tomorrow.” And then I would say, “Hey, you triggered me yesterday. This is why, this is really important for me.” Okay, so sometimes I talk about these as talk emotions and emotionally process them, and turn it into a win win. And I always say there’s no challenge with conflict. Conflict means that something is really important for you and really important for me. So how do we turn conflicts into an opportunity for connection through curiosity, right? So hey, that triggered you, what’s going on? This triggered me, this is really important. Let’s find a win win. So that’s the essence.

Drew Neisser: That’s a great summary. And I think the one big surprises for me was, your book was more—I’m going to describe it as self help on a very broad level. It’s how to live a more fulfilling life is really the where I got it. And there’s one point where you talk and I have to go to here, which is you list all your roles mother, wife, friend, athlete employee, and you describe what it means to be good enough in these areas. And I really appreciated the “good enough” phrase because there’s this other phrase out there, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” And that drives me bonkers because you can’t do everything perfect. If you tried to do everything perfect, you would simply go insane. So can we just talk about the “good enough” factor and really appreciate that in the context of all of the roles that you described you had.

Dalia Feldheim: So I was a gymnast, okay. A gymnast is all about perfection and getting to it. So I’m a perfectionist. I started my career as a perfectionist. And I think many of our kind of alpha go getters, we’re perfectionists. I would stay up all night, but I was also aligned to my purpose so that was an extra kind of energy. And I remember when I was a mom, I really wanted to be the best mom I could be, the best employee I could be. And actually, the lesson came, I think I mentioned this story also in the book, but the lesson came from my eight year old. So he was in a school play, and it was really important for him. My husband was abroad, and he said, “I really want you to come.” He was a small role, I think it was a tree.

Drew Neisser: It was a tree. You said in the book he was a tree.

Dalia Feldheim: So a few weeks before I said to him, “Of course, I’m going to be there”, we were told that the CEO is about to come. And I was chosen to speak to him about the Fem Care business. Oh my god, wow. It’s a kind of important career moment. But I knew I had to be at school. So I went to my president, who was amazing. And I said, “Listen, I’d love to speak to the CEO. But can I be first on the agenda? You know, my kid has a school play. I have to be there. I promised him.” And he’s like, “Sure, no problem. He put me first on the agenda.” And as things always happen, the CEO’s plane got delayed. And he arrived an hour before I had to be at school. And I gave my talk, rushed to school with my hair and my high heels rushed into the hall to see my little tree walk offstage, he just finished his role. I was in tears, I think he could hear me. I missed him. I was crying the whole way home, the guilt was overwhelming. And then when we arrived home, Yun turns to me, and he says, “Mom, you’re not always perfect. But I see you really try.” In that moment, I realized, that we can’t always be perfect, but we can try. And we can choose what’s really important and what really matters. And I always say, “Be there for the moment that counts.” Okay, so I did my best to be there for birthdays and school plays, even if it’s going to be the President. But even more importantly, making the moment you’re there count. Being present. So many of us working parents come home and we’re constantly on the phone or we leave early to take them to the park and then we’re in the park, but we’re swinging and on the phone. So that kind of framed my experience, where good enough is good enough. And there’s a whole system actually, it was my first boss, Jim said, “You can only do five roles right. So choose what are the five most important elements for you.” And maybe it means sports was really important, parenting, my career, friends. My parents were away at that stage, it was kind of talking to them maybe less, or as friends really focusing on the few that I’m going to invest in. Or not being where I would love to be on all these different roles. So I think that’s another important dimension, that we redefine success differently. And I remember my last boss, one time he told me, “You’re the only one when I say it has to be delivered by 10 in the morning, that doesn’t deliver on time.” I come back and I say, “Yeah, it’s not realistic. And I have other things in my life. And work is important for me, but family is too. So here’s what I’m going to do. And it will be at 12. And tell me if it’s absolutely diehard critical.”  It’s just this notion of, I need to understand the logic. And if he tells me it’s absolutely critical, diehard, that I need to submit the report by 10. I will deliver it at 10. But if I don’t understand the rationale, we work together to negotiate and find a solution. So work is important for me. Right? But you know, on your deathbed, you’re not going to say to yourself, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t stay some extra hours at work.” So have perspective of what really matters and redefine success holistically.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, it’s funny as you’re telling that story, I was thinking of at my son’s high school graduation, there was a gentleman who was either on the phone or looking at his phone the entire graduation. Didn’t look up once, even when his kid was at the very top and I just thought, “Oh dude.”

Dalia Feldheim: Kids remember that.

Drew Neisser: Oh yeah, they do. So unique challenges that women face in the corporate world, particularly marketing leadership role, and how you see them navigating these challenges.

Dalia Feldheim: The premise of the book is a provocation, right? And Rassie Sata, my friend, together with Nilima bat talk about the model. We have positive feminine traits, empathy, intuition, teamwork. We have positive masculine traits, logic and direction. A good leader has to have both. If I’m only in empathy, I need to float like a butterfly sting like a bee. Sometimes I need to step into my assertive. So a good leader has to have both elements equally. Now, the issue with the business world is that it’s collapsed into what Raj calls, “wounded masculinity”, where it’s power over people versus power with people, competition versus collaboration. So these are some of the challenges. Paul Polman, who many of you know as the CEO of Unilever, and one of my first bosses at P&G, he actually was speaking and he said, “Instead of trying to fix women, let’s try and learn from them.” And the business world says, “Oh, there’s so many hurdles.” And we say the issue is with the woman. And yes, there are elements there. There’s a confidence challenge. Okay, we were raised to please, to be good with other people. So when we behave out of character, the same behavior is categorized as he’s the boss, he’s assertive, or bossy and bitchy for women. Same behavior with pride. Boys were raised on pride. We were raised to not. So when we self promote, “Oh, she’s a self promoting.” Exactly same behavior. So there are these biases out there, many of them. If anyone thinks he doesn’t have a bias, do the implicit test, you will see we all have bias out there. My favorite one is, McKinsey just did this amazing research they do every year on the states of women. And there’s so many biases, even that women talk more than men. When research shows they talk exactly the same amount of words. And so women are caught mid sentence two times more often than men. That is kind of crazy, right? And today, when I work with companies, I have them sign a pledge at the end, if you’re seeing someone being cut mid sentence, that’s when you intervene and say, “Hey, you were cut before? What did you want to share?” Right, making the space. So there’s these biases. Impostor syndrome is more associated with women, but men experience as well, 50% is the likelihood than men and 70% was women. Imposter syndrome is this belief that success is external and failures are internal. So yes, there’s work we need to do internally, but the issue is the corporate world and why we don’t have more women is not sitting with the women, it’s sitting with the environment. The environment is what needs to change. Because we’re seeing our current way of leadership, this wounded masculinity is not working. We’re seeing one in four experience acute anxiety. And with COVID, the great resignation, the great breakup, which was seen women leaving in brackets, or the silent resignation, where you’re staying there, but you’re leaving your heart at the doorway. So the current way of working is not working, the current kind of environment is not working. So the book is about reshifting. It’s a provocation for all men and women to connect to those softer skills and data because it takes courage to shift the environment. So my mission, if you like, is humanizing the workplace because those are the skills of the 21st century. And I’ll just share as an anecdote, I’m really optimistic. And when the TED came out, I had 1000s of women that were inspired to take action. I had one guy called me and told me his favorite employees started crying in the office the next day, and usually he would be really embarrassed but now he had a textbook. He said to her, “Wow, I see you’re really passionate. How can I help?” But the craziest call was from this guy in Australia who called me up and he said, “Dahlia, I realized I’m an asshole. What can I do?” So the environment needs to change. It’s in a dire state. We’re in a leadership crisis like never before. The Y generation, the “Zoomers”, the younger generation will not put up with some of the sorry language that we accepted if we’re not connecting them to the purpose. If we’re not bringing empathy to the workplace, you’re not a leader if you don’t have followers. So if you’re not leading from the heart today, my good news for you is that all of it is teachable. All of it is coachable. It’s just your mindset and your decision to say, “Hey, people before profits, because when I take care of my people, the profit takes care of itself.” So that’s kind of the notion. It’s the 21st century. We’re not production line anymore. It’s all about productivity. It’s all about when I talk with CEOs, and I tell them I teach happiness, and they’re like, “Dalia, what fluffy businesses is that?” That’s when I bring in the research. $7 trillion is what it’s costing us today, stress at the workplace, absenteeism, silent resignation, etc. So it all goes down to the bottom line. It’s all about productivity, but it’s how you deliver productivity to the hearts of your people. So put the hearts of your people in the heart of what you do.

Drew Neisser: Wow. Well, that’s an amazing summary. And perfect timing in connecting productivity to happiness is the billboard here for me. If you talk to your employees and in fact, there’s going to be this direct correlation between how do they feel the purpose of the organization? Do they feel empowered? And once they’re feeling a connection to you, in that sense, your productivity numbers will soar, which I appreciate.

So talk a little bit about your latest venture and Uppiness and what you’re doing there.

Dalia Feldheim: So I started to turn the university course into a corporate course Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Meta, it’s a six month long course. I call it Manager to Leader. I either do it co-ed, or women only, I was looking for a fun way to bring it all together. So after we learn all these positive psychology interventions, how can we make it tangible? Because I’m a coach, it’s all about tangible. And that’s when, together with my partner Apple and Tal Ben Shahar, I brought him in, we created Uppiness. Uppiness is an online game. Why game? Because from the knowledge retention pyramid, we know the best way to learn is to teach and the second best way is to play and we don’t play enough in the corporate world. So it is a game, an online hybrid game, where you can solve real problems. We code it into the game, we look at the ES of that specific team and we choose 10 challenges, that team is dealing with, culture challenges. We call them into the game and then you pick up a card, it could be yours, it could be other persons. And the other people get cards with solutions from the world of positive psychology and they need to pitch their solution to you, you need to reflect on your strengths and choose it. So what we’re seeing is employees love talking real issues, it could be bullying in the workplace, but it’s hidden behind the game, right? And then they get all this advice from me and they learn to ask for advice to get different perspective, etc. So it’s a way of graduating the course. But also we have over 100 trainers around the world that are ready to train from Mexico to China in many languages. Because as I told you, I am on a mission to humanize the world of business. And it takes all of us together. But there is hope and it takes courage. And the interesting element there is courage is actually, and Paul Polman told me, it’s the most misunderstood word. It’s not about making decisions that others don’t, it actually comes from the French word “Cour”, which means heart. Courageous leaders are those who lead from the heart. So that’s what Uppiness and Dare to Lead Like a Girl are all about.

Drew Neisser: I love it. Perfect. Well, Dalia Feldheim, thank you so much for joining us today, we’ve included a link to the Uppiness game, folks can obviously find you on LinkedIn, and really appreciate your thoughts today.

Dalia Feldheim: Thank you so much. Lovely. Thanks, Amy, for all the kind words and do feel free to connect on LinkedIn. And if I could be of value to you or your team, let me know. Thank you so much.

Drew Neisser: Thank you.

If you’re a B2B CMO, and you want to hear more conversations like this one, find out if you qualify to join our community of sharing, caring and daring CMOs at

Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me! This show is produced by Melissa Caffrey, Laura Parkyn, and our B2B podcast partners Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and the intro Voice Over is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about B2B branding, CMO Huddles, or my CMO coaching service, check out I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade thinking caps on and strong!