Talk with Donna Hicks on FRED Week 2021

All about Dignity

On October 8, 2021, Sabine Gromer of MagnoliaTree spoke with Donna Hicks about Dignity as part of FRED Week 2021.

Lines befit the zeitgeist. Donna and Sabine both believe that Dignity holds the answer for much of this illumination. Donna Hicks dedicated her book Leading with dignity to “ all the dignity agents out there who know we could do better”. 

On Friday they had a dialogue about Donna’s findings.

What they talked about

  1. Donna shared her initiation into dignity and told when she first realized its importance.
  2. What does Neuroscience say about dignity? 
  3. The definition of dignity and the difference to respect.
  4. What are the key elements of dignity?
  5. How can we be tempted to violate our own dignity?
  6. The powerful pair: Diversity and Dignity
  7. The path to develop my own dignity consciousness
  8. Generational evolution of dignity

About Donna Hicks

Dr. Hicks was Deputy Director of the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution (PICAR) at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.  She worked extensively on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and as a member of the third party in numerous unofficial diplomatic efforts. In addition to her work in the Middle East, Dr. Hicks founded and co-directed a ten-year project in Sri Lanka. 

She has also worked on the conflicts in Northern Ireland and Colombia and conducted several US/Cuba dialogues. She is the Vice President of Ara Pacis, an Italian non-governmental organization based in Rome.  They are currently involved in a dignity restoration project in Syria and Libya. Dr. Hicks was a consultant to the British Broadcasting Company where she co-facilitated encounters between victims and perpetrators of the Northern Irish conflict with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The encounters were made into 3 television programs, Facing the Truth, which were aired throughout the United Kingdom and on BBC World.

Dr. Hicks has taught courses in conflict resolution at Harvard, Clark, and Columbia Universities and conducts trainings and educational seminars in the US and abroad on the role dignity plays in healing and reconciling relationships in conflict as well as dignity leadership training. She consults to corporations, schools, churches, and non-governmental organization. She is the author of the book, Dignity: It’s Essential Role in Resolving Conflict, published in 2011 by Yale University Press.  Her second book, Leading with Dignity: How to Create a Culture That Brings Out the Best in People, was published by Yale University Press in August 2018.

NEW: The MagnoliaTree Refuge

Soon our coaching sessions can be held in the new MagnoliaTree Refuge in Vienna directly on the Danube in a beautiful cabane.

For quite some time we have been looking for a suitable coaching space that is well located but at the same time in pleasant and inspiring surroundings. The newly built cabanas at the Kuchelauer Hafen, directly on the banks of the Danube, in Vienna’s 19th district on the border to Klosterneuburg, meet exactly these criteria and we can soon call ourselves proud owners and invite you to work with us there. The Kuchelau harbor is a Danube outpost in the north of Vienna. The harbor is just over 1.5 kilometers long and about 50-80 meters wide. It has an excellent water quality and therefore invites you to swim. Vacation feeling directly in front of the door, has a high recreational value for many people. Not only the water offers peace and relaxation, but also numerous hiking and biking trails are in the immediate vicinity; including a “wine hiking trail” that leads to numerous Heurigen.

What is a Cabane?

Cabane is a term used in the eastern part of Austria in the bathing industry, which should not be confused with changing rooms. It was originally used to refer to cabins or rooms in summer pools that were accessible by bathers outside of the pool’s opening hours. The newly built cabanas make use of this original idea, charm and positive association – in fact, however, these are multimodal spaces that satisfy a current office, meeting architecture and creative work environment, but at the same time are suitable as restful places of retreat.

We are very happy to be able to conduct our individual coaching sessions and intensive coaching in this enriching atmosphere.

MagnoliaTree is growing: New member in our team

MagnoliaTree is growing. We have brought a wonderful and above all talented woman into our team and would like to introduce her to you.

???? ????????? has a strong background and substantial experience in Accounting, Finance and Marketing. She holds a Master in Trade, is fluent in German, English, Spanish, French; lived in different countries and is managing 3 teenage children. This is just the right skillset to keep me organized and our Financials in order. She will lead our office management going forward.

Sabine Gromer writes for Sheconomy

Sabine Gromer of MagnoliaTree writes for the Austrian women’s business magazine Sheconomy.

In her first article, she focuses on the topic of STEREOTYPE THREAT. She writes about the three phases that characterize the path of women with career ambitions and why many women give up just before breaking through the glass ceiling and how women nevertheless make it to the top in male-dominated leadership worlds.

As part of the publication, a Clubhouse event was held on 07.04.2021 on the topic “Stereotype Threat – Pigeonhole Traps and Necessities. Where we need pigeonhole thinking and how best to deal with it.” took place.

Read the article from the current issue of Sheconomy now.

(german only)

Sabine Gromer at the Panel discussion at the University of Colorado

Consulting in a virtual environment

On 5th of April 2021 Sabine Gromer talked amongst others at the Panel discussion at the University of Colorado. What are the advantages of consulting in a virtual environment?

Three broad topic areas where discussed

1. What are the advantages of consulting in a virtual environment?

  • There is something liberating in a virtual environment
  • The screen allows us a form of interaction that in-person doesn’t allow
  • Advantages
    • What you notice that is obvious on a screen that may be less obvious in person
    • Have found that virtual work is more effective
    • Clients can be more vulnerable with me 1:1 into a camera in their home with no one around
    • After the pandemic is over, not sure I’m going to change it up much – laser skills around coaching
    • The virtual environment can be a magnifier – for better or for worse (background)

2. What are the challenges of consulting in a virtual environment?

  • How did we have to change to make this work. (Example of manager workshop delivered live vs. virtual – changed the way I saw it)
  • Collaborating in a group is harder
  • People get confused about their role in a virtual group
  • People may script themselves more
  • I draw energy from the room and may not be able to do that in a virtual setting

3. What types of changes have you seen since you first started doing this today?

  • I have to contract for and prepare differently for a virtual meeting
  • I find I have to spend a lot of time thinking through the details of activities for my class
  • Can’t be as spontaneous as I might be in a classroom

Sabine Gromer talked on the 5 principles by Edgar H. Schein

1.           Always try to be helpful. And do so in inner freedom! 

2.           Always stay in touch with the current reality. Name what is!

3.           Access your ignorance. And find the power in it – as the right questions at the right time.

4.           Everything you do is an intervention.

5.           It is the client who owns the problem and the solution. – Energy check.

Sabine Gromer at the Bayer International Women’s Day event

Every day is World Women’s Day as long as structural inequalities exist. These inequalities must be solved together – by women and men, business, politics and society. Bayer, together with its CEO Lieven Hentschel and the three guest speakers Britta Bürger, Sabine Gromer and Heidrun Kopp, highlighted the topic of equal opportunities on International Women’s Day.

Bayer has set itself clear inclusion and diversity targets and aims to raise the average gender ratio across all combined management levels in the Group, including lower and middle management, to 50/50 by 2025. At Bayer Austria, the proportion of women in management is already balanced at 69 percent.

In three parallel virtual rooms, the speakers gave impulses. Heidrun Kopp, founder of the Institute for Sustainable Finance, addressed the topic of Women & Finance, Sabine Gromer, founder of the management consultancy MagnoliaTree, spoke about Stereotypes, Role Models & Beliefs, and Britta Bürger, Medical Advisor and Medical Information Officer at Bayer Austria and formerly a gynecologist, addressed Women’s Cycles in the Workplace.

We need pigeonholing

Because it saves us an incredible amount of energy. Studies show that we are on autopilot for 80 percent of our day. However, we must be aware that our behavior is always a combination of our personality AND the environment in which we live. The more bias there is in the environment, the more our behavior is influenced by it. And this not only clouds our view of others, but our own performance can suffer as well. This Stereotype Threat is made up of unconscious and systemic biases. And it can have devastating consequences. Sabine Gromer explains the Stereotype Threat using the example of women in the world of work: Young women try to assimilate themselves into the world of work in phase 1 “Defense” by imitating male behavior. In phase 2 “discouragement”, women become aware that they are constantly exposed to prejudice. As a result, they often make their self-worth independent of professional success, orient themselves outside the company in the form of family or hobbies, but also internalize their frustration and anger. In phase 3 of “resilience,” it is particularly important for women to focus on their femininity. Often, a break with the company occurs here; women start their own business, for example. What can be done to counteract Stereotype Threat? Point 1: Examine your own beliefs and track down possible unconscious and/or systemic biases. Click here for Harvard and Bayer’s self-tests. Also helpful and entertaining: the Pixar Purl video on You Tube. Point 2: Create an environment where female leadership is accepted. How to do that? Explain the dynamics of stereotype threat to young employees and explicitly state that tasks can be done equally well by all.

“The Happiness Advantage” featuring Sabine Gromer

pwc Austria event for the International Women’s Day

March 8 was International Women’s Day. The Women Network of PwC Austria took this as an opportunity to organize a virtual event on the topic of “The Happiness Advantage”. The happier we are, the better every aspect of our lives is, and the special thing is that we can influence happiness ourselves.

Sabine Gromer of MagnoliaTree did her part and talked about the Happiness Advantage.

It was an incredible pleasure for her to create and design this event together with three such inspiring and competent change leaders. The lively and interactive exchange with so many participants despite the virtual circumstances gave us a sense of community. And community and the strength of our social ties is the basis of a content life. What really anyone can do to bring themselves to a more positive state:

For the next 21 days: 

Podcast: Get off the Couch with Sabine Gromer

Increasing the quality of being through dignity in change

Sabine Gromer in the PODCAST „Raus aus der Couch“ (engl. “Get off the Couch”) of Doris Schulz

In twenty-minute conversations with women who are making their way in a new era, Doris Schulz talks to them about personal development, professional competence, mindfulness, their mindset, new opportunities and their ideas for the future. Every episode a different interview partner and professional tips – new every second Friday! Click here to listen to her Podcast (This Podcast is available in German only.)

In the 20th episode of the podcast series, Doris Schulz spoke with the founder of MagnoliaTree, Sabine Gromer, about increasing the quality of being through dignity in change.


“In Conversation with Change Architect Sabine Gromer” from Quality Enhancement of Being through Dignity in Change by Media Woman Doris Schulz. Published: 2020. 20 track. Genre: Business.