Friday, March 31, 2017

Marist College to Honor Hannah Storm of ESPN 4/20


Join friends, colleagues, and celebrity guests 
from the worlds of media and sports in honoring
as she is presented with the

Thursday April 20, 2017
The Edison Ballroom
New York, NY

The Lifetime Excellence in Sports Communication Award will honor Hannah and raise funds for the Marist College Center for Sports Communication endowment.

Please call (845) 575-3283 for further information.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gilda Interviewed on Westchester Talk Radio

Here is the link to my interview on Westchester Talk Radio, recorded at the Westfair Communication Family-Owned Business Awards, at which I was a sponsor.  

My interview is the first segment of the podcast recording. Interviewer and talk show host Bob Marrone asked about my business, how I help clients and how I got started as a speaker, trainer and coach.

Glda Bonanno LLC

Friday, March 24, 2017

Gilda on the faculty for Half the Sky Leadership Program for Women

I am proud to be on the faculty for the Half the Sky Leadership Program for Women, offered in both Philadelphia and Atlanta.

The Half The Sky leadership program is geared for women in leadership roles as professional individual contributors or middle managers who want to strengthen their leadership skills, business acumen and executive presence.

The program consists of six in-classroom sessions, interim connections and ongoing leadership development through alumnae forums. The program focuses on topics that build competencies on results, relationships, reputation and resilience.  I teach Executive Presentation Skills as part of Session 2. 

Half the Sky: A Program for Emerging Women Leaders
Register today for Fall Philadelphia! Session starts August 22nd.

Half The Sky participants learn essential competencies to significantly enhance how they function and grow as leaders, and they emerge with strategies and confidence to immediately impact the organizations for which they work in their current roles.

For more information or to register, visit

Monday, March 20, 2017

PayPal CLO to speak at 3/27 ATD Meeting in Norwalk CT


Monday, March 27th, 2017
The Case for Continuous Learning
Enablers and Mindsets
With Guest Speaker:
 Derek Hann
PayPal Chief Learning Office

PayPal is an American company operating a worldwide online payments system that supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like checks and money orders. PayPal was spun off from eBay in 2015.  PayPal Chairman and CEO, Dan Schulman, is striving to make PayPal a customer champion.  He envisions a company that focuses on various segments of the market and solves real problems for customers.
So, in 2015, Schulman hired Derek Hann as Chief Learning Officer to help him create a customer-focused culture.  We are privileged to hear directly from Derek how he and his team are doing this through the use of Continuous Learning.

According to a recent article written by Bersin by Deloitte, 1% of a typical workweek is all that employees have to focus on training and development.  Continuous Learning provides the opportunity to learn 24/7, whenever an employee has the time. It is a cornerstone to the transformation taking place in many organizations.

Derek manages his team as a Product Organization (being customer-focused and reacting quickly), aligning closely to the business’s priorities, expanding on the needs addressed, and using learning technologies more effectively.  Join this session to learn from Derek how he and his team utilize Continuous Learning to create:
  • A Learning function that behaves as a Product Organization.
  • Learning that attends to all learners’ needs.
  • Learning technologies that are built to purpose and scale.
  • Learning that focuses on enabling the business roadmap and priorities.
  • Learning that produces products and services that earn the trust and confidence of the business leadership.
About the Speaker:
As Chief Learning Officer for PayPal, Derek Hann is the global leader of Learning architecture, content, technology, and strategy.  Partnering with the Executive People Leadership Team, Derek serves as subject-matter expert for aligning PayPal's business priorities with the development of its people. Harnessing the full complement of past experience, including demonstrated business acumen and analytics, leading-edge technological sophistication, a proven mastery of learning theory, and a performance consulting and scientific inquiry orientation, Derek passionately pursues world-class Learning for the entire PayPal family.  

Derek has held HR and Learning leadership roles with Phillips, GE, Pitney Bowes, Alcoa, Heineken, and Citi and has served on The Conference Board Leadership Development Council, the American Management Association National Training Council, and the Corporate Executive Board’s Learning and Development Roundtable. A Six Sigma Black Belt and featured speaker at both ATD and SHRM conferences, Derek holds degrees from Providence College and Sacred Heart University.
Date:  Monday, March 27, 2017
Time: 5:45 PM Networking/Registration; 
6:15 PM Dinner and Program
Early Bird Registrations through Friday, 3/24, midnight:  $37 Chapter Members; $50 Guests;       $25 Members In-Transition; $20 Students
Regular Registrations and Walk-ins:  Member $45; Members In-Transition $35; Non-member $60
Reservation Deadline: Friday, March 24th, 2017
No refunds can be granted within 48 hours of event.
Meeting Location: Norwalk Inn and Conference Center, 99 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Gilda to Present Personal Branding 3/23 at Danbury Chamber

Don't miss my Personal Branding Lunch & Learn Workshop at the Danbury Chamber of Commerce on March 23

Offered by The Women's Business Development Council (WBDC) in partnership with the Small Business Administration and the Danbury Chamber of Commerce

Gain insights that will help you move your business forward and knowledge that will help you secure a bright future. Enjoy your lunch while meeting others.  This is a great opportunity to expand your current business network.

The value of your brand should not be underestimated. Understand the principles that make can make a measurable business difference.
For entrepreneurs and small business owners, your personal brand is your corporate brand. The key to success is building a brand that positively impacts your business.

For more information or to register, visit 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

4 Ways NOT to Start Your Pitch Presentation

by Gilda Bonanno LLC
The first few minutes of your pitch presentation are some of the most important – when you have the opportunity to make a good first impression and capture the investors’ attention.  In those crucial few minutes, the audience will decide whether what you have to say is worth listening to, which will greatly impact their decision whether or not to invest in your business.

Here are 4 ways NOT to start your pitch presentation:

1.     With Ums, Ahs and a Whimper
 “Um, thanks for having me here at this, uh, pitch meeting.  It’s, uh, a great, um, opportunity for my, uh, business, which is, ah, called, Acme Widgets.  And, uh, I guess I, um, will just start by, uh, telling you a little bit, um, about the, uh, business….”

Don’t waste precious time at the start of your presentation meandering into your topic and over- using ums, ahs and pause words.  You’ll bore the investors and come across as less than confident.  Instead, jump right into your content with a strong, enthusiastic, attention-getting opening that engages the audience immediately.  Practice delivering it with confidence and a minimum of distracting pause words. 

2.     Doing a Sound Check
“Can you hear me in the back?”
While it’s crucial to ensure the investors can hear you, the start of your presentation is not the time to do it.  If you’re truly concerned about voice volume, practice in the room before your presentation and have someone stand at the back of the room to determine if they can hear you. If you know you speak softly, then request a microphone and if one is not available, make a point of speaking louder. 

If you’re still worried about your volume, have someone stand behind the investors or at the back of the room and give you a signal at the start of your presentation to let you know if you can be heard easily.  (And by the way, logically, if people can’t hear you, they also can’t hear you ask, “can you hear me?”)

3.     Admitting You’re Unprepared
“I didn’t get a chance to finish preparing this presentation…”
Prepare your presentation ahead of time.  Don’t insult your audience by showing up with a half-baked presentation that you threw together that morning.  It hardly inspires the type of confidence in you that will encourage them to pull out their check books and invest in your business. 

And even if for some unexpected reason, you didn’t have time to finish preparing the presentation, don’t advertise your lack of preparation or start or with a list of excuses about being too busy to prepare. 

4.     Boring the Audience
“I know this is not as exciting as some other businesses, so I’ll try my best not to put you to sleep.”
Even if you don’t come right out and make this statement, your lackluster body language, monotone voice and lack of eye contact will broadcast it loud and clear to the investors.  If you can’t muster up enough enthusiasm about your business to start on a positive and energetic note, there’s no hope that the investors will be interested enough to want to hear more about it.  It’s your responsibility to explain why your product or service is important and interesting, however complex or simple it is to understand. 

Remember, the pitch presentation is not just a chance for investors to learn about the nuts and bolts of your business, it’s also an opportunity for them to meet you.  Prepare and practice a captivating and energetic opening to make a good first impression and draw the investors into the story of your business.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Perfect combination of professionalism and humor

"Gilda did an incredible job engaging our alumni with the perfect combination of professionalism and humor. Our group found her to be refreshing and energetic. I walked away with useful tips that I applied in my working environment the very next day, and will continue to keep her advice in mind in future professional interactions. The alumni office at Marist College is looking forward to continuing our relationship with Gilda with additional events in the future." 
Lisa Lombardo, Associate Director, Alumni and Donor Programs

To bring Gilda to your organization to speak, please visit