Women in Business Advise on How to Succeed in Corporations

This month the Paradigm for Parity® coalition has celebrated the many contributions of women in business. And while there have been so many amazing women leading the way, it is important to address the next generation of women trying to reach their full potential and become leaders. Paradigm for Parity® is committed to creating a future where women have equal power and opportunity as men — and as part of that mission we are committed to helping empower women. As Women’s History Month comes to a close, some of the women leaders from Paradigm for Parity® coalition companies share their advice for the next generation of women.

An executive at Newmont Mining Corporation shares her advice:

“Believe in yourself — you are the ultimate expert — and one of life’s great pleasures is doing things that other people think you cannot do.” — Susan Keefe, Vice President of Strategic Relations

An executive at Cargill gives her thoughts on dreaming big:

“Dream big. Reach higher than you ever imagined. How high should you reach? Commit to being a curious, lifelong learner and read everything you can from many different sources. Your world will expand in so many ways. When the door opens up, you will be ready and willing to go!”— LeighAnne Baker, Senior Corporate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Executives at Linkage share their advice for women:

“Find a sponsor early in your career, not an advocate, not a mentor. A sponsor: someone who speaks highly and honestly about you behind your back, who knows your talent and dreams, sees your potential that you may not see, and positions you for opportunities of which you may not know.” — Reed Parker, SVP of Business Development

“The only way you can add value to a conversation is by actively engaging in it. Inevitably, you will find yourself in a room of people who are all senior to you and it will be tempting to keep quiet out of a fear of saying the wrong thing or looking foolish…but remember: you have a unique perspective that no one else has– and you do a disservice to the conversation to keep that perspective to yourself.” — Briana Goldman, Senior Consultant

“I urge any young women to learn and practice negotiating early and often: negotiate flexibility, negotiate being added to a project that is not in your normal work silo, negotiate for a new technology or process. Show your value, work hard, and ask for things that you believe you have earned and deserve.” — Ashley Brown, Salesforce Administrator

“The answer may not always be ‘yes’, but making the ask will get easier with time and also showcase your engagement and commitment. Stay closely connected with colleagues who already know your value, take their feedback to heart, and don’t be afraid to fail — be resilient and it will pay off.” — Ashley Niven, Manager of Operations

“Think creatively and be fearless about talking with, connecting with and networking with people inside and outside your organization. Your visibility will help you when opportunities arise that you may not always be aware of.” — Dana Yonchak, SVP of Marketing

“It’s tempting to only focus on those senior leaders you aspire to impress; however you must always remember the impact you have on those who look up to you. Authenticity will always prevent any disconnect.” — Kerry Seitz, Women in Leadership Program Director

“The more perceptive of a person you are, the harder it will be for you to realize that, in the working world, you are likely invisible until you announce yourself. Find role models who know how to articulate and demonstrate their own value.” — Jill Maver Ihsanullah, SVP of Consulting

About the Paradigm for Parity® Movement

The Paradigm for Parity® coalition is composed of CEOs, senior executives, founders, board members and business academics who are committed to achieving a new norm in corporate leadership: one in which women and men have equal power, status, and opportunity.

The coalition created the Paradigm for Parity® 5-Point Action Plan for corporations to accelerate the pace of gender equity in senior executive roles. This unique agenda defines bold and specific actions that, taken together and simultaneously implemented as a package, will catalyze change and enable today’s business executives to secure the best leaders of tomorrow. Visit www.paradigm4parity.com or follow us on Twitter using @p4parity to learn more about this exciting initiative.