Find Out How These Leaders in Top Jobs Stay Energized

As we navigate the holidays, America’s top women business leaders share what it takes to manage their energy levels and make it all work—so you can too. Today, we’re sharing their wisdom with you!

The guest list at the gorgeous top floor NOBU Atlanta Hotel Villa on a recent Tuesday night read like a Who’s Who of Atlanta’s top business elite: Current and past Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Presidents Katie Kilpatrick and Hala Moddelmog (now Woodruff Arts CEO); Southern Company Chief Human Resources Officer Sloane Drake; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta CEO Donna Hyland; PNC Chief Communications Officer Amanda Rosseter; Signature Financial CEO Heather Fortner; Aflac Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director Keyla Cabret-Lewis; Blackrock Managing Director Chanel Frazier; The Home Depot’s Southern Division President Kelly Mayhall; The Coca-Cola Company’s Global DE&I Director Tameka Harper and Spelman College President Doctor Helene Gayle to name a few—along with guest of honor, Georgia Power Company Chairman, President, and CEO Kim Greene. PINK set out to connect Kim, seven months into her CEO role as the first woman at the power company’s helm, with other women running the show around town. PINK’s goal with these PopUp dinners is to help the still rare woman leader connect with like-minded women for support and friendship. It was beautiful to see how everyone bonded over sushi, lychee martinis, and stories about their lives.

With Southern Company’s tagline “Energy for a bright future,” the conversation centered on how each maintains and expands her energy despite the high pressure that comes with the top job and many with responsibilities at home too. Sally Williamson, coach and CEO of Sally Williamson & Associates asked everyone to rate their stress level from 1 to 5, 5 being the highest. 

Annette Tirabasso, Founder Tirabasso Group, Just back from an Italian vacation gave herself a 1, down from 5 prior to her getaway. Like Annette, Chanel just back from Jamaica, said her stress level dropped from 5 to 3.6 thanks to the respite. Meredith Leapley, owner of Leapley Construction, one of the nation’s largest woman-owned contractors, set her level at 2.5, with the corporate women offering a higher stress number.

Most of the leaders assembled gave themselves a 3 to 5 stress level. Many accept this as part of the deal. Lindsay Hill, Senior Vice President HR, GA Power, says she’s “a 5.5 today” after her recent promotion. Deloitte Partner Lynn Staner gave herself a 5 “with two young children at home.” Kim Greene said she too is a 3 to 5 on any given day and she’s OK with it. “I manage it really well. Age helps. You keep it in perspective.” 

Sally acknowledged the connection between energy and whether a person is an introvert or an extrovert. Most of the leaders show up as extroverts. Said Kim, “I’m energized by being around people. I love life. I want to go see people!”  

Donna said “I’m an extrovert. To re-energize, I need my girlfriends.” That’s where she learns about “fashion and skin care, everything I don’t have time to learn otherwise.”

Helene too said, “I’ve got to be around people.” She’ll tell her husband she wants to throw a dinner party, “He’ll be thinking two people, but I mean 50.”

One of the rare introverts, Katie Kilpatrick said “I love doing these things but it’s exhausting.” So, she exercises daily, likes audible books, and 1,000-piece puzzles. “That’s the way I recharge myself.” And sometimes she has to say, “Peace out.” 

What builds energy for Hala? “I read and sleep. I used to feel guilty when I slept. Now I’m cool again” as research shows the necessity of a good night’s sleep. 

Chanel, an ambivert, is comfortable in large groups thanks to her big family, “I’m one of 12. I have 57 first cousins.” She says, “I love being out, but I understand when I have sensory overload when I need to retreat. She calls it her “Lagotto time,” a musical term for creating a smooth, steady flow between notes. 

Lynn says four days in the office instead of five, gives her a break from the pressure. “I run in the mornings. That’s my Zen. If I don’t, my husband says, ‘You need to go!’” She adds volunteering at her church helps too.

Southern Company’s Lindsay Hill says her trick is getting to bed “at 9 pm every night.”

Meredith, one of the few introverts and business owners in the group says, “I have to be outward facing, building a company.” To replenish, she goes to the spa and has a massage to reboot. 

Kelly too, an introvert, said she’s had to learn to be an extravert at the office and put herself out there as she runs the Southern Division of The Home Depot, a company with a $151 billion in annual revenue and nearly a half million employees. It’s no small feat! “When I get home, I crash and burn.”

For Amanda sometimes saying, “I can’t have this conversation,” enables her to “recharge her social battery.” Aprio’s Chief Growth Officer Cheri Husney says “I walk my dog” and she loves to bake.

The only time the room felt awkward and too quiet was when Sally said some research recommended 48 hours of silence. The entire room bristled at the idea. “Yeah. I’m not doing that,” said Hala, followed by knowing laughter from the others.

Clearly, all of these leaders recharge by connecting with others. Keyla who drove up for the dinner from her home near Aflac headquarters in Columbus Georgia, says being with family helps her wind down.

Heather Fortner, says she has to be an extravert at work and is surrounded by them at home. “I have extroverted children and a husband who says a lot—a lot of words.” So she created her own escape in a makeshift basement, “a dream room with fairy lights. We painted and I hung up a hammock.” She hangs out in her She-Shack, Girl-Cave with her daughters. “They don’t care how much you earn or what your title is. There is a sweetness.” 

Being all together at beautiful NOBU made a difference too. Hala said, “I was dragging but knew when I saw you guys, I would be so happy.”

“Determination, energy, and courage appear spontaneously when we care deeply about something. We take risks that are unimaginable in any other context.” – Margaret J. Wheatley


 By Cynthia Good


NOTE: PINK would like to thank Southern Company for sponsoring this latest PINK PopUp women’s leadership dinner. Also, thanks to Nobu and General Manager Terry Buchholz and events coordinator Mariah Fermil for making this a delicious and memorable evening.

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