A message about leading – from a woman

Life Lessons

A message about leading – from a woman

Recently, Unum and the nation joined in celebrating Women’s Equality Day. From office and home workspaces, women have been leading the way in our industry for years and Unum is no exception. With 66% of the workforce identifying as female and 40% are senior leaders, the company is making strides to close the gender gap.

Here’s some advice from a few of our female leaders.

Q1: What advice do you have for other working women?

Bethany Ferguson: Colonial Life, Chief of Staff

Never underestimate the role you play in driving our business forward and driving change. Remember that you have a seat at the table for a reason and it’s important that you use your voice while there.

Polly Nichols: Unum Solutions

Live every day with intention and be present where you are; the room you are in is better because you are in it. Also, you will never balance it all. You will make choices. Try to be in charge of those choices and give yourself a lot of grace – Every. Single. Day.

Ericka DeBruce: Inclusion & Diversity

Print out the job description of your dream job and systematically do, accomplish and learn everything that is bulleted on that list.  For me, my dream position was to be a Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at a publicly traded company where the executive leadership demonstrated their commitment to inclusion and diversity. Every job I have taken, book I’ve read, workshop I attended, podcast I’ve listened and all the crazy moves (Philadelphia, Tampa, Boston, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Memphis and now Chattanooga) has been for this role here at Unum.  

Ruchi Kaushik: Talent Acquisition, People and Communications

Every woman should have the opportunity to reach her full potential. Your biggest advocate is yourself. Don’t sell yourself short; raise your hand, educate yourself, champion for yourself and others around you to take hold of those opportunities. Surround yourself with a strong support system that will continue to push and encourage you.

Q2: What would you tell your younger self?

Ashley Shope: Unum, Chief of Staff

I’d tell my younger self the same thing I always tell my team. If it doesn’t make sense to you, it doesn’t make sense. Don’t assume others are smarter than you or magically make better decisions. Find out what the missing piece of information is that you don’t have or push for context until you can follow the logic. Sometimes there isn’t any and it’s just someone else’s confident assertion of a guess.

Michelle LaFond: Regulatory Counsel

Don’t be afraid to make bold career moves. Don’t self-limit because you have not mastered all the requirements of the position. 

Laurie Mitchell: Global Wellbeing & Health, People and Communications

Be confident, speak up, trust your instincts, be persistent, stay curious, and talk to the successful women and men that you admire

Michelle Jackson: Sales Enablement – Solutions

Reach for the stars and do not settle.  Do not allow yourself to be inhibited by social norms or perceived barriers – go through them! Explore every opportunity and find a resource to vet things with – someone familiar with your skills and abilities. 

Marcia Leander: Talent Acquisition, Unum Group

Become comfortable promoting your skills and results on the job and asking for regular feedback. Don’t have review time be the only time you document your accomplishments and request feedback. 

Jen Gugliotti: Corporate Brand & Reputation Management

Stress less and enjoy time with friends and family more. What seems so important now will seem very unimportant down the road.

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