For women aspiring to corporate leadership, I believe there are three keys to success: choose to work in a company that believes diversity provides a competitive advantage; understand yourself and your talents; learn to work well within a team.
A company’s commitment to and encouragement of diversity increases exponentially your odds of success. When you research a company, visit, or interview, look carefully for visible commitment to diversity. This strongly influenced my decision to join Bausch & Lomb. When the company first approached me, I went to the interview only out of curiosity. I was impressed to learn that there was already a woman on the pharmaceuticals management team, heading sales. Later, during an interview with senior executives, the president and COO not only spoke about the company’s commitment to diversity, he arranged for two female corporate officers to take me to lunch to discuss the opportunity. Later I met the woman who headed one of the largest business units. It was then that I knew the company put into practice its commitment to diversity and that I could be successful here.
By developing a good insight into your unique strengths and capabilities, you can better articulate what you bring to the table and find the best fit for your skills. This not only helps achieve success, it makes for a more satisfying work experience. Offer your skills as a product, with defined features and benefits differentiating you from others. Because business is ever dynamic, continue developing new skills and refining ones you have by actively seeking learning opportunities and being open to ‘teachable moments’.
In business today, teamwork is critical and our success often depends on how well we work with staff, a boss and her or his staff, or a project team to achieve common goals. Bring your uniqueness to the team and encourage others to do so, too. Explore the inventory of strengths and put them to work for the team. Work with and learn from exceptional people so that together your team can deliver exceptional results which, at the end of the day, will determine your success.