A Seat at the Table

Sitting at a boardroom of 12, perhaps 2 of the seats are filled with women. Men and women executives need the same things to obtain and utilize their seat at that table: developmental programs and a strong network of peers and mentors. A Seat at the Table (ASATT)provides the tools to access  these resources, focusing on women, who are not traditionally afforded the same opportunities as their male executive counterparts. The goal of ASATT is to help women cultivate their Vision, an influential Voice and a strong Community of experts, peers, mentors and sponsors so that they can find and use their  seat at the table, leading with confidence and contributing effectively. Our programs are based on the precept that leadership requires a wide range of qualities, behaviors, skills and attributes, summarized in 2 overarching components:


Leading Yourself: Knowing and leading from one’s strengths, interpretation of contexts and situations, being authentic.

Leading Others: Power from charting vision and strategy, risk-taking, influencing, creating and managing change, negotiating effectively, resolving conflict, and creating a WE-centric culture.

I didn’t want to wait to simply say “thank you” for all you do, for who you are and for sharing your wisdom with all of us these past few months.  You are truly an incredible and inspiring coach. ~ Cynthia Combs 2018


Research shows that most women are dissatisfied with their ability to network and feel excluded from informal networks that provide access to influential clients and colleagues.  The lack of mentoring opportunities is believed to be the leading barrier to women’s advancement.  In order to flourish and thrive, women need new and creative opportunities to expand their base of influence and to gain the confidence and poise needed for success.
Women and the Vision Thing ~ Harvard Business Review
The Qualities That Distinguish Women Leaders ~ Caliper
Connecting Corporate Performance and Gender Diversity ~ Catalyst


Catalyst “Barriers” ~ Canadian but works here too!

Boys Only Boards ~ BusinessWeek 6/23/11


Start with Why ~ Simon Sinek
Lean In ~ Sheryl Sandberg
Unfinished Business ~ Anne-Marie Slaughter

OUR PROGRAMS (2 tracks)

1. A Seat at the Table (and GETTING It) is a five-session leadership development program for women who are high potential middle managers or who have owned their own business for at least five years and wish to Get a seat at the table. This program is facilitated by Cindy Tortorici.

Eligible Women– 5 years of professional experience
– A desire to develop your vision, voice and community
– Possess a wide variety of skills and interests

“Thank you for all the seminars with A Seat at the Table and Getting It.  It has significantly helped me in the following ways:

• It provided me with an awareness of others’ motivators and stressors and my own which helps me approach projects differently
• It has provided me with direction on where I want to focus at work with business development
• It helped guide my decision to stay at the firm to work towards making partner
• It provided me with a great way of thinking through issues using your framework for thinking strategically
• I am much more organized now!  I am down to less than 10 emails in my inbox a day and I have set up OneNote to help me keep track  of everything, which has led to less clutter in my head.
• It has also helped me to get things done that I have been avoiding as I am now accountable to others on these tasks.
• And there is so much more….” 
~ Emily Bradford, CPA, Geffen Mesher

“A Seat at the Table  and Getting It was a great experience and I believe emerging female leaders would benefit from this program. It was very hands on and intensive.  Katie and Cindy provided us with practical insights and useful skills in dealing with the leadership challenges faced by new leaders or managers. I felt the material was crafted well for a middle management audience so felt it was very applicable and useful. Beyond just the skills we learned, Cindy and Katie led us each on personal journey which required a great deal of introspection to understand how and why our leadership style was crafted and what really drives each of us.  I treasure the strong network of women and relationships I have built during the program.” ~Melissa Weisensee, Manager, Financial Planning & Analysis, Kaiser Permanente

2. A Seat at the Table (and USING it) is a nine-session leadership development program for experienced senior level women leaders who wish to be more influential with their seat at the table, Using their seat in the most effective way to the contribute to the strategic agenda.

Eligible Women
– 10 years of professional experience
– A desire to develop your vision, voice and community
– Possess a wide variety of skills and interests

“My business has taken a 180-degree growth spurt, and I attribute that success to A Seat at the Table and Using It and learning the importance of niching oneself and thinking more strategically.”


The Link has assembled a team of experts who are savvy, smart, professional and considered ‘Best in Class’ to conduct the sessions. This diverse brain trust understands the nuances of the business world and is an invaluable resource throughout the nine-session program.


Our ‘Board of Mentors’ is a vastly accomplished group of powerful, successful and generous women. The Portland Board includes:
Joan Tate Allen, Owner, Windermere Real Estate
Sue Hildick, President, Hildick Strategies
Karen Hinsdale, Philanthropist, Owner, The Cellar Door
Michelle Lantow, Retired CAO, New Seasons Market

Suzanne McGrath,  President, Vision Capital Management, Inc
Sarah Mensah, VP/GM Sportswear APLA(Emerging Mkts), Nike Inc.

Linda Pearce, ·CFO, Tillamook County Creamery Assoc.
Patty Ross, Retired, VP Global Operations, Nike Inc.
Karen L. Schartman, VP/CFO, Kaiser Permanente
DJ Wilson, Pres/GM, KGW Media Group Portland