Share with women who aspire to be tomorrow’s corporate leaders that great success is not easy—but it’s doable. It’s about competence and hard work. It’s making choices and understanding that no one will give success to you. You have to get the education and the credentials. When you have chosen something to do, you have to commit to being good at it, in places where you can make an impact. Professional challenges and diversity of opportunities in life enable you to be a better leader. For me, it’s about knowing yourself, creating your own career, and excelling at it.

As a woman in a male-dominated industry—or any industry for that matter—you have to recognize that you are different. Acting like you’re not is nonsense. You have to be confident, however, that you have something to bring to the game no matter your difference; so make sure you participate and demonstrate your skills and abilities with humility rather than self-aggrandizement. Early on, competence and knowledge are enough, but you have to be even smarter as you move up because workplace and organizational politics are involved. Politics is not necessarily a bad thing; you just have to be aware and develop an ability and agility to work through them.

There may be daunting challenges at times, but it all comes back to competence. If you are good at what you do, competence will prevail. You will then find that once you are at a certain level, people will actually defer to you. This respect will not happen because you may be the only or one of few women in the room. It will happen because demonstration of your competence will make clear you are there because of your experience, skills, and credentials. Iencourage women to always remember that you have something to offer and you aretherefor a reason