I have mentored, and I have been mentored a lot during my career. Both activities are of value and deepen your knowledge and skills of leadership. The women who are successful today have worked within the power structure of corporations to evolve the organization through policy changes and decision-making. Their work has resulted in globally competitive companies that fully use the talents of women. Those same successful women have taken calculated risks in their careers, pushed the status quo and stepped out of their comfort zone to move the organization to higher performance. The tangible benefits to the organization have been enhanced skills in change management, product and service innovation, and organic growth.
Each generation of women entering the corporate world will benefit from the hard work of the prior generation. And each group will bring its own unique brand of experiences and expectations. Enter armed with academic credentials and a love of lifelong learning. Be generous with your time and provide mentoring. Seek out mentors who can assist in your personal and professional growth. Keep your moral compass “on” at all times. There are many decisions that must be made in the absence of law, regulation or ROI calculation. Get help if you are stuck. Sometimes that help is outside your company or outside your industry.
To all those women who aspire to be corporate leaders and wives and mothers, too, marry the right man. I am a much better corporate leader because of my husband and children. They provide me with a safe haven at home for nurturing, stress relief and fun.
Work for companies that share your values. If you find yourself in an untenable situation and are unable to change it from within, then get out. Your time is valuable and there are so many great companies you can work for. Never allow yourself to be trapped. If you find yourself dealing with a change in management or job loss, know that almost everybody in the workplace will encounter this several times in their careers. Don’t let fear in. Find strength in the network you have developed with mentors, family and friends. Know that another opportunity is waiting for you. You just have to go out and find it. And with that career change, you will become more valuable to the next corporation. Your career is an asset that will appreciate over time if you manage it well.