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Women Play Catch-Up Their Entire Careers

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Wednesday, November 1, 2017

 

Women Play Catch-Up Their Entire Careers

Author: Vivian Blade

 

“Women get less access to the people and opportunities that advance their careers and are disadvantaged in many of their daily interactions.”

 LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, 2016 Women in the Workplace Report


In my coaching practice, I run across a number of female professionals who are frustrated with their career progression. They feel like they are committed to the company, working endless hours and doing what it takes to get the job done. They feel like they’re pushing through this journey on their own.  In fact, it’s not just a feeling.  Studies on the progress of professional women show this to be true for so many.


The 2016 Women in the Workplace study by LeanIn.org and McKinsey also found that, “Women are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to management—so far fewer end up on the path to leadership—and are less likely to be hired into more senior positions. Women also get less access to the people, input, and opportunities that accelerate careers. As a result, the higher you look in companies, the fewer women you see.”


Women Are Missing Critical Relationships

Professional women are missing critical relationships, such as mentors, coaches, advocates and sponsors. These people help to enable success in their careers.  Why has this situation not improved? Companies don't realize or appreciate the importance of these relationships and don't provide a supporting environment for these relationships to occur. Women lack awareness that they need those important relationships, so they fail to seek them out.


Women also make a number of mistakes that suppress their progress. 


Mistake #1: You lack an awareness of the types of relationships that advance careers

Career success takes a team approach because of the complexity of the corporate environment, with formal and informal processes and networks, and an abundance of office politics. You need people in your network to help you navigate this environment. Allies as mentors and Advocates as sponsors are important relationships in your career. Each has a different role, and may come in and out of the career journey at different points in time. 



Mistake #2: You wait for HR or your boss to give you access to the people and opportunities that advance careers. 

A challenge for women is strategically building and leveraging the types of relationships that act as a support system throughout your career.  You wait for permission or wait to see if you’ll be selected for the official ‘mentoring program’. Stop waiting! You don’t need permission. You are accountable for your own career and for being prepared for each successive step you wish to achieve.  Take the initiative to seek and maintain meaningful relationships throughout your career. 


Ally as Mentor

Allies often are great resources as mentors. Work with mentors to understand the types of skills and experiences you’ll need, and to help you grow in those areas.  They also can help you understand how things really work in the office and help you avoid landmines in your career.  A mentor may be within or outside of your employer, and can be at any level – senior to you, a peer, or a subordinate.


Advocate as Sponsor

An Advocate, or sponsor, is an ambassador who can enable progression in your career by speaking up about your track record and the capabilities they see in your potential. You need to promote your value in order to grow awareness of you and your capabilities among decision makers who could be instrumental as sponsors. 


Mistake #3: You don't manage the mentoring relationship and fail to get the outcomes you need. 

A good mentoring experience doesn’t just happen without planning and care throughout the process. There are four stages of a mentoring relationship that define your progress:

 

  • Selecting

  • Engaging

  • Progressing

  • Closing

 

Each stage has its own set of objectives and tasks. 


Mentoring relationships often fail because of the mistakes in the very first stage, Selecting Your Mentor.


Women Select the Wrong Mentor

Selecting the wrong mentor can be a waste of everybody's time, as well as detrimental to your self-confidence and career progression. 


When I worked for Humana in the early stages of my career, I was fortunate enough to be part of the Management Intern Program.  Though that program came with a formal mentoring relationship, being matched with the right mentor was just as important as selecting my own mentors in other stages of my career. I learned that being thoughtful about and carefully outlining my needs was one of the most important first steps to a successful mentoring relationship.


Before selecting a mentor, know your development areas and the skills you need to build for your career path. Seek a mentor who is knowledgeable about the skills you need to enhance or roles you’re considering on your career path. Find someone who has common personal or professional interests and aligns with your expertise.


Influence Your Own Access

You’ll continue to be left behind until you step up to take more ownership in gaining access to important relationships and opportunities.  Take a deep breath, and make it a priority to take the first steps of learning more about these relationships and engaging with a mentor who can be instrumental in helping you Fuel Your Career Forward.




About the Author Vivian Blade

A professional speaker, author and talent management expert, Vivian works with the world's top companies to fuel incredible leadership, and with professionals to fuel incredible careers. Vivian is a prolific writer whose articles, featured in professional, industry, and business publications, and published books, “FuelForward”, and "Find Your Fit", a collaboration with the Association for Talent Development, have helped thousands of professionals succeed.


Tags:  Business  Career  leadership  management  MBA Women  Mentorship  NAWMBA  negotiate  women  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA  WomenSupportingWomen 

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Wonder Woman Only Lives In Comic Books: Tips to Maximize Your Not-So Super Human Powers

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Friday, September 22, 2017

 

Wonder Woman Only Lives In Comic Books: Tips to  Maximize Your Not-So Super Human Powers

By Amaris Johnson

 

During a recent conference keynote speaker Amy K Hutchens, made a fleeting joke to make a larger point, stating “Wonder Woman Only Lives In Comic Books”. For me it was an instantaneous “Aha Moment” and articulated a single phrase that encapsulated many of the concepts I have been sharing with mentees and other women over the last few years.

Since making her grand debut in 1941 Wonder Woman has captivated girls across generations. As a young girl, I too was fascinated by the beauty, self-confidence and girl-power she projected. My parents indulged my fascination and I was outfitted with a Wonder Woman lunchbox, Halloween costume and allowed to watch her syndicated shows. In my eight year old eyes, I too was Wonder Woman, fearless, bold, brave and could do anything with the aid of my super-human powers.

Fast forward ten years to the age of 18 and I quickly realized the superpower I longed for was not coming to help balance homework, extracurricular activities, applying for college and the small semblance of a social-calendar. My powers were limited to self-energy without the aid of magic bracelets, boomerang tiaras or the gift of human flight.

The official DC Comic Wonder Woman website describes her as, “The most famous heroine of all time. The full package of beauty, brains, and brawn; a feminist icon since her debut. Her Super Powers are listed as super human strength, speed, invulnerability, flight, combat skills, superhuman agility, healing factor, durability and longevity.

Even the alter ego of Wonder Woman, Diana Prince, which is more resembling of an “everyday” woman perpetuates the concept of I can do it all as demonstrated by her numerous careers including Army nurse, military intelligence officer, businesswoman, astronaut and staff member at the United Nations.

No wonder so many women feel overwhelmed and under accomplished in their daily goals. For many of us the standard is to live up to the unrealistic expectations set forth by the mythical comic book character Wonder Woman.

Like many women, I had become the master of creating elaborate well organized “to-do” list.  At the end of the day no matter how many check marks of completion are on this ever growing list many never escape the feeling of not feeling accomplished. Personally, I would lay in bed at night mentally adding more to the list, questioning how I prioritized my day.

One day while indulging in my favorite past time, college football, the sports commentator made mention of  the Power Five athletic conferences. For those a little less astute in the structure of college football, the Power Five conferences are generally regarded as those with the best teams in the country. After hearing this, I began to ask what are my “personal power-five”. I quickly realized there was connectivity between my uncompleted task, my wonder woman mentality and the concept of the Power Five. The incomplete items on my to do-list that most exposed my inability to live up to my Wonder Woman expectations fell into five broad categories: Faith, Family, Fitness, Finances and Future. These five areas would transform into what I now refer to as my Personal Power Five (PP5).  This keen focus on PP5 would help elevate me to the best me.

I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that my time will forever be limited to 24/7 and not the  27/7 I desire. We typically allocate eight hours per day for career work, eight hours for sleep and the remaining eight hours to accomplish the number of things on our ever-growing to-do list.

Unlike my childhood hero Wonder Woman, I was not built to be invincible, save the world nor look like a supermodel in my attempt to have it all. With the introduction of my Personal Power Five I now accomplish at least one thing on my to-do list per day in the aforementioned areas. For example a typical PP5 day includes:

  1. Faith:       30 minutes for Prayer, Meditation, Reflection, etc.

  2. Fitness:    30 minutes of exercise

  3. Family:     15 minutes making a personal reconnection

  4. Future:     30 minutes self-improvement that are aligned with future goals

  5. Finances:  15 minutes personal financial education and growth

The implementation of the Personal Power Five has helped subdue the overwhelming feeling of daily underachievement. I now have the balance I was desperately seeking. The remainder of my list could now be organized into what many call crystal ball priorities and bouncy ball priorities. My A –List priorities are crystal balls, if dropped, they can never be restored. In contrast my B-List priorities are bouncy balls, if dropped they live to bounce another day.  While I often play musical chairs on what becomes a crystal ball and bouncy ball, the implementation of the PP5 has helped remedy the tremendous amount of stress and pressure I was placing on myself. I no longer feel like I have to be “Wonder Woman” and make it all happen with my non-super human powers. While I don’t wear red thigh-high boots, I do favor my red stiletto pumps and just like Wonder Woman I plan to walk my path with a tremendous amount of fierceness, self-confidence and kick-azz winning attitude!

So while she will always be my ultimate warrior and  favorite superhero, I no longer try to live up to her mythical prowess. Instead I am throwing my human powers into be an amazingly Wonderful Woman, maximizing my efforts through my Personal Power Five!

 
About the Author:

Amaris L . Johnson is an accomplished business professional with 10+ years of experience working for Fortune 100 companies. She works in the capacity of District Operations Manager with Eaton Corporation. Her responsibilities include leading an experienced team of power and energy engineers that provide life cycle support to our customers power distribution systems. Before joining Eaton in 2015, Amaris spent 10 years with GE in a diversity of roles, including B2B Sales and Business Development. Her account portfolios ranged from $12M to $40M in annual sales. Amaris varied background in sales, business development and operations provided a solid foundation for a role now focused in operations for a $10M portfolio. In 2016, tED Magazine, selected Amaris as one of the Top 30 Under 35 Rising Stars in the Electrical Industry. She is a magna cum laude graduate from Tennessee State University (TSU) B.B.A and earned her MBA from the University of Florida (UF). Amaris holds a Green Belt Certification in Six Sigma Methodology. She serves as a member of the TSU, College of Business Alumni Board of Directors and UF MBA Alumni Board of Directors. Previous Board appointments include the Gadsden County Community and Economic Development Organization from 2009-2014. When asked, about some of her guiding philosophy towards business and managing a team , Amaris reflects on the old African proverb “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” She encourages her teams and peers to refocus their time and energy on what we can control so together we can all go far!

See her in person at our 2017 Conference and Career Fair! Register now!

Tags:  Business  Career  leadership  management  Mentorship  NAWMBA  NAWMBA2017  women  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA  WomenSupportingWomen 

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The Benefit of Focused, Intentional Action

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Monday, August 7, 2017

 

When I made the decision to go back to school to get my master's degree, I thought my life would run the same - and I would just add in school.

 

At the time, I was working as a Federal law enforcement officer for the United States Customs Service on the Outbound Enforcement Team -- and I talked my partner into going back to school with me.

 

I figured having someone to go to classes with and study with would make it a bit easier.

 

We were both working our 8-hour days with at least two nights of mandatory overtime.

 

I didn't give any thought to how I would add in an additional 6 hours of class time in the evening plus 4 hours of writing papers each week to my already full life.

 

Looking back at how silly that seems now, in my business I've discovered that most people run their lives like that.

 

Do you?  


  • When new opportunities come your way do you believe that if you close your eyes and wish hard enough you'll be able to magically add them to your already full schedule without a change of pace?


  • Is the phrase from The Little Engine that Could (I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.) a daily motto to get more done?


  • Do you believe that getting more done will happen if you worked harder or gave more effort?


Living your priorities is not about muscling through tasks.

 

Often, the deadlines you impose on getting something done are ones you created yourself.

 

Here are three tips to ensure that you remain focused and not frazzled as you live out your big mission and claim being a leader worth following.

 

  1. Create space. When you allow for spaciousness to exist in your life, you acknowledge that life is constantly changing. This openness makes it easy to be flexible and give attention to what may not work out according to your plan. (Believe it or not, there will be things that don't work out the way you envision.... )
     

  2. Choose to be perfectly imperfect. Several years ago when I was hosting my annual Design Your Destiny Live (www.DesignYourDestinyLive.com) leadership event, my dear friend Peter Michael whisked me off stage and took me to the green room to rest in between segments. I shared with him that I was concerned about the sound and how it was affecting the audience and their experience. Peter looked me in the eye and said, "Rather than choosing to have a perfect event, choose to have a great one instead. No one has any idea that what you planned is different than what has been delivered." His first sentence had me pause and breathe in his message. And, in a moment, I fully understood what he meant. Perfectionism is a dream stealer. It was my responsibility to deliver excellence, and not to be perfect. I recognized that I'm perfect in my imperfections - and I had a fabulous event. Today, I claim this truth and it’s made my life a lot easier.
     

  3. Stop playing the comparison game. One of my favorite lines to capture this truth is from Max Ehrmann's poem the Desiderata. ".....If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself…." You are a one-of-a-kind treasure. No one in this world who has come before you or will come after you will be quite like you. No one has had your upbringing, experiences, challenges, and opportunities. Revel in the wonder of who you are. The world needs you and your brilliance.


And, a bonus on leading with intention would be to engage in self-care.

 

Do something just for you.

 

While I am always in-action, my action is focused and intentional.

 

Yet, I create enough space in my calendar so that I'm well cared for which is what enables me to give my best to my clients, colleagues, friends, and family.

 

You can't give the best of who you are to those you love when your own tank is empty.

 

I invite you to choose one of these three items to work on this week.


Whether you choose to create space, be perfectly imperfect, or stop playing the comparison game, comfort doesn’t change the world.


The world needs you and your brilliance.


Lisa Marie Platske is an award-winning leadership expert and #1 international best-selling author, she creates high-performing, leaders, coaching women in business around the
globe. She uses her law enforcement journey to demonstrate what exceptional leaders do differently, sharing how vulnerability in leadership is critical to being a leader worth
following. The founder of Design Your Destiny Live, she lives in Alexandria, VA with her loving and supportive husband, Jim and their two pet foxes.

She is one of our esteemed speakers at the 2017 Annual Conference and Career Fair. Register now to see her and meet her in person! 

Tags:  Business  leadership  management  NAWMBA  NAWMBA2017  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA  WomenSupportingWomen 

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Be The Driver of Your Career

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Wednesday, August 2, 2017
 
Business has an ever-changing face in the light of downsizing, an economy in flux, and technology that is constantly rewriting the way we interact with the world. Our board member, Lisa Jammer, has worked in an array of industries ranging from aviation to academia to the #1 job site. See her interview below for advice on the importance of adaptability and finding and sticking to your course in the workplace.

Create a Roadmap

One thing that people will notice on Lisa’s online profile is that she worked in aviation for 8 years. “That’s the career where I learned how to handle a high level of responsibility very early in my career,” she said. “I started young and did a lot of accounting administration work. I was extremely effective in this function and promoted several times in a short period but knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to do long term. So I became proactive and sought out someone to help me explore other internal job opportunities. I always tell MBA students to leverage career services and to have exploratory interviews. I connected with an HR Manager and told her, ‘I am interested in a career change. I’ve evaluated my motivators combined with interests and I’d like a career in HR.’ She advised that if I wanted to do a career shift, that I was going to have to “own” and be the driver of my career. I realized that I had to embrace it from a holistic standpoint. I had to get out connected to the HR community and be involved in organizations that nurtured, educated, and supported my professional goals. I quickly created a long-term action plan, got involved with local organizations to increase my knowledge and landed an HR role about 18 months later. I moved from a supporting recruiter function and later began global recruiting with travels from Amsterdam to Mumbai.”

Find Balance
 
You can’t drive a car that’s unbalanced, so how are you supposed to drive your career that way? Driving your own career is about utilizing your resources, setting goals, but not getting lost in the day to day monotony of being in school or business demands. When Lisa ran a career program, she noticed that students would get lost in their classes and often forget about networking until it was time to graduate. Her advice is to remain focused and action orientated while managing your many life roles. Balancing your personal life with school, developing community and professional networks, and everyday life is difficult but it’s necessary to drive your career forward. One value-add that Lisa utilized was identifying and securing multiple mentoring relationships. “I looked for mentors with backgrounds that I’d love to be in and prepared for each discussion by identifying discussion goals, following up on action items and arriving to each meeting early. Always be on time and prepared.”

Self Promotion


Women tend to downplay or have a difficult time talking about their accomplishments. But you will have to discuss yourself in an effective way in both MBA programs, interviews, and at work. Lisa’s advice is, “You can promote yourself without overselling yourself.”


Tips for sharing your accomplishments:


  1. Be authentic. Find what you are authentically good at so that you can talk about that with a sense of accomplished pride. Instead of thinking of it as bragging, think about it as, “what can I do to help this person/organization?”

  2. Embrace and promote those around you. It tends to be easier for women to promote their passions if they are fighting for a cause or promoting others is part of that. The process of embracing others means reaching out and connecting with others. You might find who are dealing has similar issues. It’s about finding a similar cause and a stronger voice in cooperation with others. What gives Lisa the confidence? “ We are building something larger than ourselves.” 

  3. Stick to your values and what motivates you. “ I was attracted to my current job at Indeed because it’s all about helping people get jobs. When I was a kid, my dream job was to lead a non-profit or teaching elementary school because those were very service-based jobs. My values are very service-oriented, and it’s always been about helping others for me. It's one of the things that attracted me to Indeed where our mission is to help people with getting jobs."
 


Stay Focused While Switching Lanes


Lisa has worked in a variety of careers and has developed a diverse toolkit that allows her to stay true to her passions. “You can’t walk away from your value system. In business, a lot of people forsake their values for financial gain or notoriety. Be true to yourself because your values and motivators can’t be compromised. Developing transferable skills centered around those passions is so much more important than a job title. For example, I may not be physically teaching in a classroom but I’m providing guidance in other ways such as through NAWMBA’s mentorship program. Developing my passions inside and outside of work and being adaptable has made me a better professional because I bring a variety of ideas and perspectives to a rapidly changing environment.”


Welcome Challenging Roads Ahead


Be fearless in the roles that you pursue. Your functions will change and you will need to change with them in order to stay relevant in the job market. Lisa worked in aviation during 9/11 and experienced extensive changes in a short period of time. Airlines did mass cuts across the industry. All of a sudden, her role and workload expanded. She welcomed this challenge and quickly looked for opportunities to develop professionally to better manage her responsibilities. “It’s important to have that ‘yes, I can get it done without expecting immediate rewards,’ attitude in the right career situation.” If the opportunities exist go for it, even if that means that you might have to take a lateral move and sometimes decrease in your compensation package. “I left a corporate job and went into the education field where there are loads of opportunity but lower compensation for an opportunity to follow my passion and develop my skillset was. When I decided to leave education and go back to a corporate position to fill both passion and family needs, I had the opportunity because I had kept my eye on the bigger picture. Because of this, I’ve been able to drive my own career in an extremely rewarding manner and every day I get to contribute to helping people get jobs.”

Tags:  Business  Indeed  NAWMBA  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA  WomenSupportingWomen 

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