A Call to Lead
A Call to Lead
Jennifer Morgan
Laura Dern
29 minutes Posted Jun 3, 2019 at 10:00 am.
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Show notes

Today on A Call to Lead, you'll meet Laura Dern, one of the world's great actors. Laura knows leadership. In films like Jurassic Park and Wildand TV shows like Enlightened and Twin Peaks, she has captured the complexities and vulnerabilities of strong women. In HBO's Big Little Lies, Laura's award-winning performance as Renata Klein is a study of a tech CEO who is also a fierce and frightened mother. Laura and I covered a lot of ground including leadership, parenthood, and gender equity in the workplace. Here are 5 Points that my team and I found most interesting and relevant to what we do to succeed.

  1. To portray tightly wound Renata in Big Little Lies, Laura talked with female CEOs who, she says, worked harder than most men "to even get invited into the room." I asked Laura what surprised her about these women. "I think there is a common theme of....how we work with integrity and protect ourselves and find a tribe in order to do the work we need to do."
  2. Laura believes that news and social media beat the drum too hard about women alone driving a fairer environment for women. "We should be "us-focused," she says. "It's about community. It's about changing things for the better of everyone. And that's a job that men and women have to do together."
  3. On the similarities between leading and parenting: "Great leaders and great parents ask questions constantly, are willing to learn every day, are willing to learn from their child, their followers, their staff—because it's a collaboration."
  4. Laura says we're in an era where anyone can step up to lead. "I think it's time for all of us to say, 'I'm ready to be in the position of power'—power meaning willingness to be vulnerable. And a willingness to lead with the strength of an interesting collaboration and insight into doing it differently than it's ever been done."
  5. Laura says she's learned about a different kind of leadership from her co-stars and colleagues on Big Little Lies. "One aspect to leadership that I never saw growing up was a kind of leader who can be even-toned and respectful while incredibly strong. Respectful and calm while saying 'No, I don't agree, I need something different from you.'"

You can learn more by visiting: www.sap.com/acalltolead. And you can subscribe and listen to episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher. We welcome your feedback on the pod! Tweet me @JenniferBMorgan and use the hashtag #acalltolead or e-mail us at [email protected].

Where to Listen: Subscribe and listen to episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher.


Jennifer Morgan is a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE and President of SAP’s Cloud Business Group.