As a group, women have advanced significantly in the workforce. I believe several factors are foundational for continued success.
In part, it’s a numbers game. As we track the number of women entering the workforce with college and advanced degrees, we see that women are competing for and filling leadership positions. As women assume leadership positions, gender becomes less of a distinction.
Lifelong dedication to career matters—time out of the workplace limits career. Set your goals and ensure your family and employer support those goals. If you are struggling with work/home balance, seek advice from others. Here are some approaches that have helped me:
Strive for excellence, not perfection. If perfection is your standard, you will unnecessarily limit yourself.
We have 24 hours in our day; choose deliberately. I prioritize my time to do the things most important to me.
Family can and should be your strongest ally. I talk regularly to my husband about career demands and balance with family time. We support each other’s careers and try to teach our children that hard work is good and valuable for us as individuals, as a family, and for our country.
Choose a career that accommodates your family goals. Select an employer who believes employees are critical to success. Decide how much time you are willing to give your career and reconcile professional and personal goals.
It is more than the degree and GPA—the degree opens the door. Without it, your opportunities will be limited. But a rich career requires much more than the degree and hard work—it also takes collaboration and leadership skills. I encourage our daughters to participate in and lead team activities at young ages and throughout school. Team sports, club leadership, and community service teach skills that are relevant to professional success. Embrace lifelong learning, especially about leadership; seek ways to contribute more; and have fun at work.
Think about style and audience. Every communication counts. Just the other day someone suggested to me that women are not heard in meetings. Certain styles may be ineffective. Speak up, and with confidence. Listen and engage others.