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Artemis Connection

Christy Johnson, CEO of Artemis Connection

CEO Christy Johnson is no stranger to tough conversations. As the founder of Seattle-based strategy firm, Artemis Connection, Christy regularly advises her clients on the complicated and nuanced challenges their businesses face. Together with her global team, she builds people-centric strategies that help her clients grow their organizations, expand into new markets, and optimize their productivity and ability to innovate. Most importantly, she helps them create employee-focused workplace cultures that inspire and motivate their teams to do their best work.

As an occasional collaborator of Christy’s, I’ve seen the impact of her data-driven approach to this work. When I wanted to know more about how the #metoo and #TimesUp movements were impacting corporate cultures, I sought out her expertise.

(This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

Laura Youngkin: You’ve helped several companies develop leadership and talent strategies over the years. In the age of #metoo, have you noticed any changes in your client’s needs?

Christy Johnson: Definitely. Our clients have come to us with a variety of questions, and it’s been interesting to see the different responses from male and female leaders. Our male clients are surprised and concerned, often asking us how they can make sure their organizations aren’t harboring a culture of harassment or discrimination. Many of them have expressed a lack of awareness and understanding about what #metoo really means, and we’re glad they are asking us. The female leaders we’ve spoken with are relieved to finally have this conversation out in the open, and they’re determined to see change. Across the board, the smartest leaders are all pursuing in-depth internal reviews of their organizations and looking for custom strategic solutions. They all want to build inclusive cultures and safe workplaces, and they are realizing there’s no one-size-fits all solution.

Youngkin: Do you think it’s possible to activate the Time’s Up mission in high tech, private equity, healthcare, and the other industries you consult in?

Johnson: Absolutely, as long as leaders are intentional about taking action, and not just talking about taking action. I feel especially hopeful about the private equity and healthcare spaces. Private equity is very results driven, and one of our most successful clients has seen huge returns by investing in people and culture first. Healthcare leaders are compelled to focus on the impact harassment and toxic workplace cultures have on employees because of the affect on people’s health. I’m very happy to see the increased discussion on the social determinants of people’s physical and mental health. The implications for people’s health is significantly worse for frontline and hourly employees, and I’m encouraged by the intersectional approach of the Time’s Up mission – they are very focused on the huge contingent of women who work in those positions. We spend a third of our lives at work, it’s about time we addressed the impact these issues have on public health.

Youngkin: What about policy? Can legislators make a difference?

Johnson: Of course they can, and our Canadian neighbors are leading the way. The Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs &amp; Business Leaders just released their first report, and Prime Minister Trudeau is making admirable advances in support of their findings. We could learn a lot from the action he’s taking on parental leave policies, support of women-owned businesses, and gender parity in his administration.

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Artemis Connection

Christy Johnson, CEO of Artemis Connection

CEO Christy Johnson is no stranger to tough conversations. As the founder of Seattle-based strategy firm, Artemis Connection, Christy regularly advises her clients on the complicated and nuanced challenges their businesses face. Together with her global team, she builds people-centric strategies that help her clients grow their organizations, expand into new markets, and optimize their productivity and ability to innovate. Most importantly, she helps them create employee-focused workplace cultures that inspire and motivate their teams to do their best work.

As an occasional collaborator of Christy’s, I’ve seen the impact of her data-driven approach to this work. When I wanted to know more about how the #metoo and #TimesUp movements were impacting corporate cultures, I sought out her expertise.

(This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

Laura Youngkin: You’ve helped several companies develop leadership and talent strategies over the years. In the age of #metoo, have you noticed any changes in your client’s needs?

Christy Johnson: Definitely. Our clients have come to us with a variety of questions, and it’s been interesting to see the different responses from male and female leaders. Our male clients are surprised and concerned, often asking us how they can make sure their organizations aren’t harboring a culture of harassment or discrimination. Many of them have expressed a lack of awareness and understanding about what #metoo really means, and we’re glad they are asking us. The female leaders we’ve spoken with are relieved to finally have this conversation out in the open, and they’re determined to see change. Across the board, the smartest leaders are all pursuing in-depth internal reviews of their organizations and looking for custom strategic solutions. They all want to build inclusive cultures and safe workplaces, and they are realizing there’s no one-size-fits all solution.

Youngkin: Do you think it’s possible to activate the Time’s Up mission in high tech, private equity, healthcare, and the other industries you consult in?

Johnson: Absolutely, as long as leaders are intentional about taking action, and not just talking about taking action. I feel especially hopeful about the private equity and healthcare spaces. Private equity is very results driven, and one of our most successful clients has seen huge returns by investing in people and culture first. Healthcare leaders are compelled to focus on the impact harassment and toxic workplace cultures have on employees because of the affect on people’s health. I’m very happy to see the increased discussion on the social determinants of people’s physical and mental health. The implications for people’s health is significantly worse for frontline and hourly employees, and I’m encouraged by the intersectional approach of the Time’s Up mission – they are very focused on the huge contingent of women who work in those positions. We spend a third of our lives at work, it’s about time we addressed the impact these issues have on public health.

Youngkin: What about policy? Can legislators make a difference?

Johnson: Of course they can, and our Canadian neighbors are leading the way. The Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs & Business Leaders just released their first report, and Prime Minister Trudeau is making admirable advances in support of their findings. We could learn a lot from the action he’s taking on parental leave policies, support of women-owned businesses, and gender parity in his administration.

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