Phoebe A. Wood, the newest addition to PPL’s diverse Board of Directors, has honed her leadership style during an impressive career spanning more than three decades.
She has been successful in many different roles – from financial management to business development – and has sharpened her skills in positions in California, England and even Alaska. She has negotiated agreements in Indonesia and Venezuela, and lived just outside of London for five years.
Wood has a long track record of leading diverse, high-performing teams. She attributes this success to strong ethics and a deep respect for others that was instilled in her from an early age.
“The most important characteristic of a leader is their ability to set a vision for the team or company,” said Wood. “It doesn’t matter if you are coaching a little league team, working with a nonprofit or a large corporation, a leader must understand what the group needs to accomplish and then have the ability to get others to work together toward a common goal.”
Wood’s approach to success centers on teamwork, communication and a clear understanding of the problem that needs to be solved. Talking with her team at every stage – from analyzing the problem, proposing solutions, testing them, and readjusting – is integral.
“You cannot be successful by yourself. It isn’t the visionary leader alone. It isn’t the analyst alone. It isn’t the communicator alone,” she said. “Success comes from getting all team members rowing in the same direction, and knowing where they are going.”
In the past 10 years, Wood has put her business skills to the test by advising and investing in early stage companies. A venture that started out when a friend enlisted her help to develop the financing plan for a new start-up, led to the formation of her current business, CompaniesWood.
When evaluating a start-up company’s potential, Wood looks to leadership as a primary indicator of their early success.
“The most important thing I look for is the quality of the leader because, in a start-up, it is paramount,” said Wood. “It’s critical that the leader be tenacious while still remaining flexible to adjust to the inevitable ups and down of a new company.”
For Wood, business is her passion and she is using it to ignite that passion in others – especially young women. As a member of the Committee of 200 (C200), an organization of women business leaders committed to advancing the role of women in business, she is encouraging and advocating for young women to get involved in business.
“I love being in business. I have had the opportunity to work with great people and engage in solving real issues all over the world,” said Wood. “So, as a group, C200 is mentoring and advocating for women business leaders. We are talking about all of the great opportunities for women in business, using our own experiences as proof.”
For all those aspiring to business success, Wood offers the same career advice. “Develop excellent skills and then go out and practice them. Always seek feedback to improve. Don’t sit back – step up, engage and get involved. Seek ways to solve company problems and contribute meaningfully. Develop and encourage good people to come along with you.”
As a newcomer to PPL, Wood is excited to heed her own advice.
“Working on PPL’s Board of Directors is an opportunity to learn about a critical part of the economy and our role in it,” said Wood. “What we are doing is so important, and as a representative of the shareholders, it’s important that we do it well. I am really looking forward to meeting the current and future leaders and learning how I can contribute to ensuring the long-term success of PPL.”