1) How have you developed as a leader from your previous management positions at different companies to being President of WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.?
I would like to say that I had a clear plan from the onset of my career, but that would be untrue. My undergraduate education did not prepare me for a corporate career but my summer employment provided me a path. I worked as a temp for a large corporation in their Human Resources Department. I was fortunate that I was asked to do several projects that gave me some insight into a potential path. I also had a personal point of view that my role in any company I was employed, was to help them make money/be successful. As my career path became clear (lead HR functions), I approached my role and looked to find ways I could support business goals and objectives. My curiosity and point of view was noticed by leaders along the way as I was given opportunities to step into leadership roles.
Along the way, I benefited from generous leaders who mentored and guided my development. Often sharing feedback that was hard to hear but important to understand as it could have derailed my career.
2) What are the highlights and challenges of being the president of WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.?
I truly love running a business. The variety of issues, the changing business landscape continue to excite me. WOMEN Unlimited’ s mission, to help companies change their corporate landscape to include women, is a catalyst that keeps me moving forward and seeking new ways to support our partners.
Challenges are understanding the changing views of organizations around the strategy of developing and advancing women. Additionally, this strategy is difficult for companies to “get their arms around” as there is not a singular solution. The complexity of the issue and that each organization’s culture is unique makes progress slow. We are fortunate to have corporate partners who understand this a long term strategy and value our insight and perspective.
3) How does the mission of Powers Education speak to you and why do you think it is important for Powers Education to exist?
Powers Education is such an important resource to young women studying in STEM fields. We know that STEM is an area where women are significantly underrepresented. While many women many begin their academic career in these fields, only a small percentage actually complete their studies. Powers Education will have a positive impact on this challenge.
4) Which female leaders do you admire and why?
There are many leaders I admire, male and female, who value the development of diverse individuals as they provide them opportunities to learn and grow. I have the privilege of working many great female leaders through the work we do.
5) To follow that, what advice can you offer women who want a career in a Fortune 1000 company?
Understand that technical merit/knowledge is not enough. Develop relationships that help you understand how your skills help your company succeed AND give you insight /feedback on how you need to continue to develop as you grow your career.
6) What do you want WOMEN Unlimited, Inc. to achieve in 2017?
To continue to work with companies and leaders to change the corporate landscape.