Home > Leadership Reimagined > Episode 19: Eileen McDonnell

Episode 19: Eileen McDonnell


Janice Ellig, CEO and founder of Ellig Group, sits down with real leaders in this series of game-changing conversations, bespoke to fellow champions of change. Heralded by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of “The World’s Most Influential Headhunters,” Janice is often consulted for her expertise and her commitment to gender parity, equity, inclusion, and diversity.

We are honored to speak with Eileen McDonnell, the Chair and CEO of Penn Mutual. Eileen joined Penn Mutual in 2008 as Chief Marketing Officer and throughout her 12 years of leadership at Penn Mutual, has received multiple distinctions for her honorable dedication to the region’s business and academic communities. Prior to her tenure with Penn Mutual, Eileen served as President of New England Financial; Senior Vice President of the Guardian Life Insurance Company; and was a former member of the Master of Science in Management faculty at The American College.

Join us as we discuss Eileen’s impassioned leadership for furthering an inclusive work environment and her longtime commitment to advancing the financial well-being of women.

Episode 19: “Cheerleader-In-Chief”

Dubbed Cheerleader-In-Chief and Chief Morale Officer, Eileen is steadfast in the belief that how you conduct yourself is equally important to what you accomplish, as she says “there is no right way to do a wrong thing.”

In this episode of Leadership Reimagined, Eileen explores how transformative leadership begins with the behaviors modeled every day. Culture is made up of the values you live daily — strong values are the bedrock that Eileen grew up with and what she continues to instill in the Penn Mutual culture every day.

Eileen McDonnell - Leadership Reimagined Podcast

“I believe you will always get the most out of people when you allow them the freedom to navigate the balance of their work and personal priorities. In doing so, create an environment that allows for the discussions of those priorities and when someone is struggling, offer some guidance. I think by allowing your employees to live authentically, you will have greater loyalty, commitment, and outcomes.”

It is with great privilege we present to you this episode of Leadership Reimagined “Cheerleader-In-Chief,” a conversation about the importance of transparent leadership with Eileen McDonnell.

Leadership Reimagined is available on the following popular podcast stations:

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Janice Reals Ellig

Chief Executive Officer

As the head of the Ellig Group, Janice is dedicated to increasing the placement of women and diverse candidates on corporate boards and in C-suites by 2025. Janice joined the legacy firm in 2000 and became Co-Chief Executive Officer in its transition to Chadick Ellig in 2007; she assumed sole ownership of the company as the Ellig Group in 2017 with a new focus on Reimagining Search. Prior to her career in executive search, Janice spent 20 years in corporate America at Pfizer, Citi and Ambac Financial Group, an IPO from Citibank, where she was responsible for Marketing, Human Resources, and Administration.

Heralded by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of “The World’s Most Influential Headhunters,” Janice is often consulted for her expertise and her commitment to gender parity, inclusion, and diversity. She frequently appears at speaking engagements and as a media guest, and she has penned multiple articles for outlets such as Directors & Boards, Directorship, Corporate Director, The Huffington Post, and Forbes.com. Janice also co-authored two books: Driving The Career Highway and What Every Successful Woman Knows, acknowledged by Bloomberg Businessweek as “the best of its genre.”

A tirelessly active member of the industry and champion of her causes, Janice is Founder of the Women’s Forum of New York’s Corporate Board Initiative and its signature event, Breakfast of Corporate Champions. Since 2011, Janice continues to spearhead this event to honor companies committed to board diversity and to encourage CEOs to sponsor board-ready women for the Women’s Forum database. (LINK: www.womensforumny.org).

Janice is personally committed to several NFP organizations: Board Director of the National YMCA and Past Chair of the YMCA Board of Greater New York; Trustee of the Actors Fund and Committee For Economic Development (CED); Incoming Chair, University of Iowa Foundation; Women’s Forum of New York Past President and Chair of the Corporate Board Initiative; member of the Steering Committee, US 30% Club and The Economic Club of New York.

In recognition for her many philanthropic activities, Janice received the University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011 and the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) Eleanor Raynolds Award for Volunteerism in 2008. Named one of the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by Women’s eNews, she was also a recipient of the Channel 21 Award In Excellence for her contribution to “Excellence in the Economic Development for Women.”

“Listening to our clients’ needs, learning their business and understanding their culture is how we present the best talent and provide  a competitive advantage. We place candidates with the character, competencies, commitment, (intellectual) curiosity and courage to make a difference. Our goal is always to go beyond the expected and deliver valuable advice, measurable results and great talent!”

– Janice Reals Ellig

  • Champion of gender parity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Industry expert, speaker, and author
  • Founder of the Women’s Forum of New York’s Corporate Board Initiative
  • Committed board and committee member and philanthropist

T: (212) 688-8671 ext. 226
E: Janice@ElligGroup.com