April 17, 2018
Women in Leadership Recap: Real Life Stories from Executive Women
What was so empowering about last Friday's Women in Leadership meeting? We had a room full of executive women sharing stories about their career paths and how they have gotten to where they are today. A big thank you to Jacki Hartman, CBS Global IT Lead at Cargill, and Robin Brown, CIO, Protein Group at Cargill for sharing their experiences on the topic Real Life Stories from Executive Women and sparking a great discussion amongst the group!
Not all take the same path or have the same experiences, but it was a fascinating discussion as Jackie and Robin outlined a few key insights they have learned throughout their executive journey. They hit on three main points throughout the discussion; leadership awareness, cultural accountability, and advocacy.
One of the most important things that Jackie and Robin pointed out is the importance of having a leadership philosophy. The definition of a leadership philosophy is a mental map that guides and directs the way you go about leading and your career. Not all leadership philosophies are the same, nor should they be. Always remember to stay true to yourself, and your values. Jackie shared a powerful statement with the group, "If you don't define yourself, someone will define you."
The second key point Jackie and Robin pointed out was the emphasis of cultural accountability. In order to be culturally accountable, you need to make sure your values align with your organization. We talked about the cultural iceberg and how it's easy to see what's on the surface. However, it may take time to truly understand your organizations values and get to the bottom of the iceberg. Once you understand how your values align with your organization, it's important to be aware of the role you play in driving culture changes.
Mentorship & Advocacy
The word mentorship can deem as intimidating and powerful. As a group, we concluded that advocacy or trusted advisor may be a better description of what you should be looking for within others that are along on your career path. A mentor does not need to be someone of higher rank, your mentor could even be a peer. Your mentor must be able to give you honest feedback and help build your confidence. Maintaining those mentorships is extremely important as Robin shared, you never know when catching up with a friend could turn into your next job opportunity.
Sharing stories and experiences is what the Women in Leadership group is all about. As we move forward, we continue to push for more women in the I.T. industry and more women are taking on executive level roles. Because of this transformation, it is crucial now more than ever to have powerful women supporting other powerful women.
What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
You can find the slides from Friday's WIL meeting here.