The Greater Boston Chamber welcomed Linda Galipeau, CEO of Randstad North America, as the featured speaker for the Women’s Network Breakfast in Boston on October 15. Galipeau’s discussion outlined a troubling picture: While women have come a long way in business, there’s been relatively zero growth over the past 10 years in those sitting in senior-level executive positons.
How can women take an active role in bridging this gap, while advancing their own careers? Galipeau shared five ways:
- Perform: Simply put: You need to do a very good job. Promotions are still based on performance. You won’t get anywhere, or gain the confidence you need, if you don’t perform.
- Learn to network and self-promote: This is the thing women actually have the most difficulty with, while men excel. Unknown is unloved. Do things that make you uncomfortable. Networking isn’t all external; it is critical internally in the workplace. Build a network. Find a sponsor and ask them for help. And make it their job to see you rise in your career.
- Find your voice: Every time you’re sitting in a meeting, you’re in an interview. You’re often exposed in these brief moments to the people who will be making huge decisions about your career at some point. Don’t sit there quietly. Don’t let other people make the point. When you talk, just talk. Forget the lead-in; you don’t have to inoculate the whole room for what you’re about to say. If you sit there quietly, your silence speaks volumes. (and it doesn’t say what you truly want to get across).
- Learn to fail: Women externalize success and internalize failure. When they do well, they try to deflect the accomplishment, or claim it on luck. Men do the opposite. It’s healthy to blame failure on external sources. When you do that, your self-esteem remains intact, no matter how bad you may mess up. If you take every failure personally, you learn not to take the risks you need to take.
- Go for it: If you don’t make the leap, you won’t get the job you apply for; the raise you don’t ask for; or the opportunity that you’re not quite ready for if you wait to be ready for it. This is a practice skill. Sponsors and others will help you. If you don’t go for it, many valuable opportunities are lost.
Women are critical to organizations, and getting women at the top will make the difference between organizations that succeed – and those that don’t. If you take these steps, you can make a true impact.
Looking for more tips for your career? Join us for our next Women’s Network Breakfast, where you’ll learn why self-projection is key for advancing your growth.