I’m lucky to have started in the business when I did. Alot of doors were opening for women in the mid-1970s. I benefited from that, and had the good fortune to work for a company and for people who were willing to take some chances on me.
If you’re looking for “success,” personally or professionally, there is no substitute for hard work and good luck. We can’t control the luck part. But it is necessary—first and always—to pay attention to the current task and to do the very best you can. Be selfaware: understand what your strengths are, and what they arenot. Then plunge ahead, and speak up as you go. Speak up to let your managers hear about your accomplishments. Speak up if you see unfairness in promotions or pay. Offer solutions to the problems you see. Stay positive, and be part of the solution.
All of us have influence, whether we’re high or low on the food chain. It’s important to use that influence to make the kinds of changes we believe are right.
In deciding what I want to influence, I think back to what it was like when I was a young reporter and editor. I remember what it felt like to learn that I wasn’t paid as much as my male colleagues. What it felt like to be too timid to speak up in a story meeting. How exciting it felt to get a promotion, or to get an assignment that was a reach. So, those are the points that I try to influence now. I have an opportunity to help make sure our staffers are paid fairly, whatever their gender or race, and I have a responsibility to do that. I have the opportunity to ask everyone’s opinion at a meeting. Ihave the opportunity to encourage managers to take chances by hiring and promoting young and diverse staffers.
My hope is that we, as managers and executives, will create more diverse and equitable workplaces that play to everyone’s strengths—and that, as a result, more women will stay in their chosen careers, take on more responsibilities, and move into the very top positions.
Yours may not be a perfect workplace now, but change can come. That change will be made most wisely and most quickly by those within it.