You know those women you see and wonder… how do they do it?
We asked several female executives at Unum, a company recognized for gender diversity in leadership, a series of questions.
What would you tell your younger working self? What advice do you have for other working women? How did you get to where are? Here’s what they had to say.
Liz Ahmed, Executive Vice President, People, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility
Embrace challenges and always be open to taking on new ones, even if you don’t feel you’re completely ready. Surround yourself with people who have different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. Find your own Board of Directors who can advise and challenge you to be your best.
Kimberly Bowen, Vice President, Global Talent Management
Don’t allow the glass ceilings of the world to keep you down. Know that being a woman is like being a superhero whose powers are ever evolving in capability and strength. You can do anything and everything that you put your mind to. Every day is an opportunity to be smarter, give harder and do greater.
Najla Frayha, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer
Working women who are also moms don’t have to choose one role or the other. I learned this at a pivotal point in my career when my son was just 8 mo. old and our childcare fell through. I was overwhelmed and decided to resign. But my SVP, who also was a mom, suggested I take a leave of absence to figure everything out. That was an inflection point in my career. I didn’t know I could take a break without affecting my career, and that I didn’t need to sacrifice one part of my life for the other.
Martha Leiper, Executive Vice President, Chief Investment Officer
It’s important to remember that your career is a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on constantly building your skills by taking courses or adding to experiences to continuously learn. Do everything you can to ready yourself for your next role so that when opportunities arise, you are well positioned to compete for the role/promotion.
Aneta Podyma-Milczarek, CEO of Unum Poland
There are stereotypes about men and women at work. Men are believed to make quick decisions and take risks, while women are perceived to be emotional and cautious. No style is better. Women, use your emotion to your advantage. It’s our natural skill to work with passion and commitment, communicate openly and with empathy, and create a friendly and respectful culture. These are all traits of a good leader.
Want some more great advice? Read this Inc.com article.