Showing Up as a Leader

Ep.2 Mary Jo Jacobi, Reputation, brand & crisis strategist; speaker, lecturer; media commentator; executive mentor; corporate board member

February 26, 2021 WINGS For Growth Season 1 Episode 2
Showing Up as a Leader
Ep.2 Mary Jo Jacobi, Reputation, brand & crisis strategist; speaker, lecturer; media commentator; executive mentor; corporate board member
Show Notes

WINGS for Growth presents "Showing up as a leader" with Mary Jo Jacobi. In this episode Mary Jo talks about her journey from being a switch board operator making min wage, to being an internationally known and acclaimed Crisis management expert. She believes in making her own luck. She says Financial security is foundational to your professional success. 


  • Preparation coinciding with opportunities is how you make your own luck. 
  • If you care about feelings, you will always have hurt feelings; you need to be thinking and doing with feelings 
  • They say to do what you are passionate about, and I say do what you are interested in, and you can develop a passion for it
  • Identify things that we are good at, things we like to do, and package them in a way an employer will consider 
  • There are moments when you can be euphoric and show that euphoria, but you must be objective all the time

Guest Bio:

Mary Jo is an internationally-renowned expert in reputation, brand and crisis management and a trusted advisor on the complex dynamics of international corporate, economic and governmental relationships.  Her expertise was honed in the C suites of some of the world’s largest corporations and among the power brokers of Washington and Westminster.  

Today she leads a strategic business advisory practice and is the Non-executive Director for Employee Engagement at The Weir Group plc.  She is also an executive mentor with GLG and Criticaleye, an associate of International Marketing Partners and a member of the Leadership Council in the UK. 

In addition to devising award-winning global corporate brand strategies for the HSBC Group and Lehman Brothers, Mary Jo originated the often-copied use of airport jetties as vehicles for brand messaging and thought leadership.  She also played a pivotal role in managing the responses to three historic corporate crises:  as Executive Vice President of BP America in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy; during the investigation of Royal Dutch Shell’s mis-categorization of its proved oil and gas reserves and through its corporate restructuring; and throughout the securities fraud investigation of Drexel Burnham Lambert in the 1980s.

In the public sector Mary Jo was appointed to office by two American presidents (George H W Bush as Assistant US Secretary of Commerce and by Ronald Reagan as Special Assistant and later as a member of his Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations); two British prime ministers (David Cameron and Theresa May) as a member of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments); and a reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, as one of Her Majesty’s Civil Service Commissioners).  Early in her career she served on the staff of the US Senate Committee on Commerce.

Mary Jo has been a non-executive director of Tate & Lyle plc and Mulvaney Capital Management and an executive director of Drexel Burnham Lambert, Inc.  She chaired the External Advisory Board of the UK’s Forensic Science Service and was a member of Dana Petroleum’s Advisory Board.  She has the distinction of being the first woman to chair a major professional sports organization, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA, and she also served on the boards of the Ladies European (Golf) Tour and a variety of charitable organizations in the UK and USA.

Formerly a visiting fellow of the University of Oxford’s Centre for Corporate Reputation and the Leeds University Business School, she is a member of the international advisory boards of Spain’s IE University and of Oxford’s Rother mere American Institute.

A dual US-UK national, Mary Jo resides near Washington, DC, with her husband, Patrick Jephson, the former private secretary/chief of staff to the late Diana, Princess of Wales.