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July 28, 2015

Women in Leadership: Breaking Barriers (Part 2)

by wictseblog

by Aminah Dawkins-Jordan

In our last blog post we saw how Stephany Van Alstyne successfully navigated her way to be a Sr. Director of Marketing at Comcast.

So you may ask, did she experience any gender discrimination or obstacles within her career? Stephany said “I did not experience gender discrimination, however, the biggest obstacle that I experienced is overcoming the stereotype that all women are emotionally driven. Women have been responsible for creating the perception of ‘wearing their heart on their sleeve.” But, how can this change? It can be done by first starting with inspiring women to seek their highest level of personal and professional growth.  At WICT we do this by presenting women with role models, varying perspectives, and strategies for development.

Female leaders bring their whole selves to their careers and there is nothing wrong with that. Yet these women still find balance. Dig deep and find what are you passionate about, what drives you to want to get to the corner office. Stephany says, “I am results-driven, I love to see change/improvement, I strive for roles of purpose and meaning.”

Stephany never gave up, she continued to strive for the corner office and she landed it! She broke the statistic barrier, she made sure to not become a part of the discouraging numbers of women in the workplace and definitely defied the odds of woman holding leadership titles.

Many women become discouraged in their careers and want to make a difference, but how can you start your path to leadership, how can we continue to increase the number of women in the corner offices year over year.

To continue to break these barriers; women must keep in mind the following:

  • It’s time to embrace and harness the skills and strengths that are unique to women and use them as valuable assets we can bring to work. Don’t view these assets as feminine flaws or fraility – that frame of mind needs to be left at the door.
  • Women’s leadership shouldn’t be about gender, it’s about being yourself and not seeing your emotions as a weakness and an asset that can’t be shared. Authenticity and inclusivity set leaders apart. With the many challenges we face, we can’t afford to leave any page unturned.
  • Support of men is still critical in attaining gender equality, which I am hoping will move from leadership gender equity to a conversation of general leadership.
  • Women breaking barriers means that we are no longer satisfied with just sitting at the table, but that we are bringing unique and diverse perspectives to the table.
  • Women supporting other women and elevating one another is a two way learning experience.
  • Be true to yourself! Women’s leadership in the world of millenials rides on the success wheels of authenticity and communicating the vision and values in a way that shout ‘I care.’ Blending those values with your unique goals, ambition, and qualities like empathy can be very motivating.

This is not the beginning, but this conversation is far from being over. My hope is that the coming years will shatter the glass ceiling for women to grab accolades and leadership roles that women deserve.

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