Platinum Exchange FAQs

PLATINUM EXCHANGE FAQ

The Program

In 2001, Kerrie Halmi was running Halmi Performance Consulting offering executive coaching and leadership development services. Inspired by the birth of her two daughters, she started realizing that not only were the numbers of women in top positions of organizations low, but she also observed common behaviors amongst her female clients that were holding them back. For example, many bright and talented women were not getting recognized for their leadership skills simply because of their reluctance to speak up in meetings. This led her to do more research. She began writing and speaking about women’s leadership. Soon, she realized that enough women needed advice and guidance on how to succeed in Corporate America that there should be a dedicated training program. In 2006, she created Platinum Exchange. Since that time, over 400 women have graduated from the program.
Our philosophy is “Balancing integration with the need to change the rules”
  • Current corporate structures were designed by males and modeled after the military hierarchies.
  • The majority of large organizations continue to be dominated by males in the executive positions. As a result, there is a dominant male culture.
  • Sometimes, women need to adapt to fit into the male structure. For example, we may need to communicate differently to be heard by men.
  • On the other hand, we need to change the business world and culture so that we can be as authentic and effective as possible.
  • Changing the rules to integrate more perspectives will increase the effectiveness of corporations.
We combine awareness (internal change) with action (external change) in order to meet your goals. Throughout the program—the day-long facilitations, your coaching sessions, meetings with your accountability partner—you will work on making both the internal and external shifts. Our other philosophy is that we don’t “male-bash”. We recognize that the majority of men are supportive of women’s success.
Platinum Exchange is a six-month program. There’s some pre-work, then you meet with your executive coach one-on-one in person before the first full-day class. There are four full-day classes with your entire cohort each month. After each class, you and your coach have a session by phone. The Spring session goes from January-June and the Fall session goes from September-February. During the full-day sessions, we combine minimal lecture, group discussion, small group activities and action-oriented learning.
We have had over 60 companies participate in Platinum Exchange, including Autodesk, Cadence, VMware, SuccessFactors (SAP), eBay, Facebook, PG&E, Kaiser, Bank of America, Delta Dental, Salesforce.com, Texas Instruments, ARM, Upwork, Zynga, Wells Fargo and Schwab. We regularly offer the program on a pro-bono basis to organizations that support girls and women, such as GirlVentures, Girls on the Run and Girls, Inc.
We are continually researching leadership and women’s leadership to keep up to date on current topics. We collect extensive feedback from each session to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all participants. Based on the research and feedback, every year we adjust the curriculum to be even more effective in increasing women’s success
We have a Spring program from January to June and a Fall program from September to February.
Increased confidence in your leadership abilities; achieved goals and an expanded network. Many women receive promotions after attending PE (Platinum Exchange)—at this point we have 5 graduates in a C-suite position in large organizations and close to 30 VPs, with more getting closer each day.
You are learning the same curriculum. The C/Fs (Coach/Facilitators) may be different, although we all cross-train.
If you can’t make a session at your primary location, you can go to another location which will have the same material. We purposely schedule the locations during separate weeks to accommodate this. If you are out for both locations’ sessions of a program, you can make it up in the following program as we start a program every January and September.
Here are the topics—we adjust slightly each year based on feedback and new research, so there will be minor modifications.

Session 1
  • Introduction to Program/Self-introductions
  • PE Framework
  • Statistics
  • Managing your Energy/Bringing your Best Self
  • Accountability Partners
  • Introduction to Reflected Best Self
  • Strategic Networking
  • Mentors & Sponsors
Session 2
  • Session 1 Debrief (includes energy management and networking)
  • Executive Communication
  • Unconscious Bias
  • Focus on your Strengths
  • Establishing your Credibility/Personal Marketing Statement
Session 3
  • Session 2 Debrief (includes Amy Cuddy video discussion)
  • Increase Your Risk Taking Ability
  • Find your Corporate Voice
  • Panel Prep
  • Leadership Panel
  • Personal Marketing Statement Revisited
Session 4
  • Session 3 Debrief (includes Corporate Voice reflections)
  • Political Savvy
  • Managing Unhealthy Competition
  • Results from Reflected Best Self
  • Applying the Learning/Reflections on Changes/Authentic Leadership
The time commitment is for 4 full-days of facilitation (9:00am-4:30pm PT) with a group of around 20 women and 5 one-hour coaching sessions. There is minimal work required outside of the program—about 1 hour maximum per month. Most of the work comes in applying what you’re learned to your actual day-to-day work.
Fairly minimal—no more than 4-6 hours total. There is the pre-work, a few assessments and a few videos we ask you to watch. There are also action items, but those are things that you would naturally do in the course of your life and work. (For example, through the Energy Project, you may commit to exercising more; through the mentoring assignment, you will meet with a mentor, etc.)
Yes, they complement each other. In both, you will focus on the goals you set for yourself. One option in coaching is to dive deeper into any of the aspects of the material which you’d like to.
We realized that women can be more open and supportive when it is a women’s-only setting. While a lot of the topics apply to men as well, there are aspects that have been proven to be more difficult for women, so we focus on those. Men are involved in that many supportive men regularly send women from their organizations. Periodically, we have panels of men featuring those that support women.
This is a peer relationship that you can use to hold each other accountable for your goals, bounce ideas off of each other and gain the perspective of another smart woman. You are assigned your Accountability Partner from outside of your organization in Session One. We strive to make the best matches possible, using factors including location and years of experience.
Graduating over 400 women and helping them not only succeed themselves in Corporate America, but also to help other women succeed.
Platinum Exchange is a unique program that is a complement to other general leadership training or company-specific leadership training. It focuses on what is unique in the current environment for women.
  • The main differentiator is the executive coaching. While some programs have assigned mentors, they have varying degrees of involvement and commitment. We have a structure with well-trained coach/facilitators who get to know the program and the women well.
  • Given our smaller size, we can change quickly. We keep up-to-date on the latest research. For example, when more studies were done on energy at work, we include that. We continually elicit feedback from participants and make changes based on that.
  • We stay in tune with men, which is essential because men are still the dominant people and culture in Corporate America. If we were just to focus on women, we would lose touch with the reality of the workplace. All coach/facilitators have their own businesses and therefore work with me as well as women.
  • We have 2 locations in the Bay Area which means participants can go to one or the other if they need to travel during a session.
  • We have been in existence since 2006, with a proven history of success.
  • We combine participants from many companies and industries, so that you can learn from others.
We have an option for continued coaching that gives you a greatly reduced cost, an active LinkedIn private group and on-going networking events in March and November every year after session 2 in San Francisco and San Jose. Send your colleagues or direct reports to attend the program so that you share learnings within the organization. In addition, we invite alums to attend the panel discussion, invite their colleagues to be on it and/or become a panelist yourself once you make it to VP.
Yes, we provide a light breakfast and a full group lunch, plus snacks.
Dress however you feel most comfortable. Most participants wear what they would wear to work.

Participants

Participants are high-potential individuals with ten or more years of experience who are selected by their managers or Human Resources departments. Often, women learn about PE from other participants and get approval from their managers.
Absolutely. However, our sessions are not recorded or webcast. We generally have at least a few non Bay Area residents in each cohort. They just need to be here once a month for the all-day classes. They can work with their coach on when it’s most convenient to have the in-person coaching. And the remaining coaching sessions are phone sessions for all participants regardless of their location.
Yes, besides the structured networking events and LinkedIn groups, many cohorts take the initiative to get together afterward. We have one pair of Accountability Partners who went through the program in 2011 and still meeting regularly.
We attract many engineers who get a lot of value out of the program. The cross-functional aspect is an advantage in that leaders need to communicate with people from all functions. The course does not cover technical information in terms of Engineering, but focuses on how all women across functions can become more effective leaders.
We have found that it’s not as important what company the women come from. While cultures can vary greatly between the represented companies (i.e. technology, healthcare, science, etc.) the learnings are similar and valuable across cultures, industries, company sizes and types.
Yes! We have had many participants report back that it has changed their lives in terms of increased confidence, believing in themselves and owning their leadership. Not to mention, promotions and better-suited positions.
We recommend that women have between 10 to 20 years of experience, are considered high-potential and already have leadership responsibility in their organizations. Exceptions are made and considered case-by-case. The titles vary by company, but the most popular one tends to be Directors and Senior Managers.
Avoid thinking that it is a passive program—the more you put in, the more you’ll gain.
Come in with an open and positive attitude, ready to learn from the C/Fs and other participants. We also offer guidelines and suggestions, which you will receive at the first session for getting the most from your individual coaching sessions.
Yes, we do. As of July 2017, 58% of our participants have received promotions. At some companies, it is as high as 70%.
If you still have your results and have taken it in the last year, you don’t need to take it again.
Our goal is to have 20 women in each cohort, representing a variety of organizations in the Bay Area.
Yes, we ask that everyone choose a primary location. However, the two locations (San Francisco and San Jose) teach the same material about a week apart. Therefore, if you have to miss a Session due to travel or illness, you can make it up at the other location.
Once your registration is confirmed, you will receive a list of pre-work for the first session which includes the following:
  • Complete the Participant Information form, which will help your coach and facilitators get to know you better.
  • Schedule an introductory phone call with Kerrie Halmi (the founder) to answer any questions you may have prior to the first session.
  • Schedule an in-person meeting with your assigned executive coach to happen prior to the first class.
  • Join the Platinum Exchange LinkedIn group.
  • Clear your calendar for the entire day and be prepared to learn!
We have an extensive additional resources list that you will receive at your first session. You may also request suggestions based on your specific needs from your coach or Kerrie during the introductory phone call.

Participant Goals

That’s something that you could work on with your coach—a lot of women don’t have one coming in.
Yes, work with your coach on that.
It’s important that the goals are SMART---specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound. Specific examples include:
  • Find my voice and confidence in articulating what I want in my career, and speaking up confidently in professional situations where I am not 100% prepared
  • Be seen as a leader in the organization
  • To communicate in a way that builds relationship and has influence
  • To shift black and white thinking, develop a biofeedback loop & keep an open mind to navigate current work challenges skillfully
  •  Ask for what I want and need
  • Develop Executive Presence
  • Continue to develop my strong leadership skills, by practicing influence and strategic skills
  • To behave as a leader vs. a manager. Offer ownership for projects; operate with trust, encouragement, and support
  • Be able to clearly articulate the value I bring and what I want going forward. Do both with greater confidence and ease
  • Clearly identify what it is I want to do, workwise, in this next phase of life, build greater confidence toward achieving that, and take the necessary steps to properly pursue a new role that will be more fulfilling in my day-to-day work
  • Improve mental focus
  • Explore career opportunities while increasing my confidence, building and marketing my professional image.
  • Explore career growth opportunities while developing my communications and networking skills.
  • Become a courageous risk-taker in a way that supports my level of influence and innovation
  • Develop leadership/executive presence and expand my network
  •  I want to learn a skill to influence people without hierarchical authority, so that I can feel my opinion, performance, hard work matters regardless of my ranking in a social/professional environment.
  • To develop more poise by creating bandwidth and using the additional energy for seeking out industry and company growth opportunities

Coaching

At the start of the program, you be assigned a specific coach/facilitator who will remain with you throughout the six months. Our C/F’s meet with you one-on-one for 60 minutes a total of 5 times. In addition, they may be facilitating your class. You are also encouraged to extend coaching with them after the program for a significantly reduced fee
Yes, all coaches are from the Bay Area and are familiar with the companies here.
Yes, we offer highly reduced coaching rates after you’ve attended Platinum Exchange. Ask your coach or Kerrie Halmi for details.
We provide a Coaching Session Prep Form to complete before each session. Send it to your coach in advance to get the most out of your session.
All our C/Fs go through a rigorous selection process. They all have coaching certifications, experience in Corporate America and a passion for increasing women’s success in business.
They are assigned by location (San Francisco or San Jose) and by company—that way, they can follow your company closely. The information you share with your coach is confidential and will be shared only with the other coaches. You have the advantage of all the coaches’ experience and knowledge. We have monthly calls in which we discuss best practices and brainstorm coaching situations.
Coaching! We try to get all of the logistics out of the way so that you can start being coached. There are three general buckets for coaching:
  • The goal you set for Platinum Exchange. Your coach will help you identify obstacles to overcome and action steps to take in order to reach your goal.
  • Deeper dive into any topic
  •  “Just-in-time” coaching—when you have a situation in which you immediately need input or advice on, you can discuss that with your coach.
That’s not a problem. Our program is unique enough that the coaching complements other executive coaching that you may be receiving.

Registration

Once you have gained the approval of your organization, go to www.PlatinumExchange.com and click on the “Register” button. You will be contacted by someone at Platinum Exchange who will send you a “Welcome Agreement” to sign and more information. Once the Welcome Agreement is signed, you’re in the program officially. If there is an emergency and you can’t participate, you can get a qualified woman from your organization to take your spot. We will work with you on payment, either through your company’s invoicing system or by a personal check that is reimbursed by your company. In order to keep our costs low, we don’t accept credit cards.


Statistics for Women in Corporate America (www.Catalyst.org, 2017)

While we have seen great growth with our participants, there is much opportunity to get to equality in Corporate America.

The percentage of women in each level of S&P 500 Companies:

  • Total employees = 44.3%
  • First/mid-level officials and managers = 36.4%
  • Executive/senior-level officials and managers = 25.1%
  • Board seats = 19.9%
  • Top earners = 9.5%
  • CEOs = 5.6%