For many women, there are moments in your career where you feel like you can’t advance further. Perhaps you’ve hit a roadblock or, worse, a ceiling. It’s critical that businesses improve representation within companies and create cultures where women are supported.
But there are also things that women can do individually to create better opportunities and advocate for themselves. Taking intentional steps to realize your goals and create opportunities has an impact on the path to becoming an authentic leader.
At the AnitaB.org Male Allies Summit and Hopperx1 New York City events in November, several women took the stage and provided attendees with advice on how to leverage their power and influence to make a difference for women in the workforce. These speakers have not only overcome roadblocks many women face today in the workforce, but have thrived.
While they identified some key issues, they also provided tangible advice on the steps women need to take to not only advance their careers, but become leaders and support others within the workplace.
Here are six career-advancing tips from women leaders.
Find yourself a sponsor.
Sponsors go beyond mentorship; they encourage individuals to get ahead. They boost resilience, help navigate interpersonal relationships, and they raise the important issues of inequity around things like pay and opportunity. A sponsor helps women get ahead on an individual level but through this work, they advocate for broader systems and programs that better support women in the workplace, promote understanding of unconscious bias, and lead others to become advocates.Netta Jenkins, Diversity and Inclusion Expert
Women can stand their ground in the workplace by managing expectations and learning how to properly and effectively say no.Fran Hauser, Investor and Advisor
Share your goals and aspirations.
Projects have a start and an end, aspirations don’t – set aspirations and share them with your managers and sponsors. Dreams and goals are always evolving and pivoting as women gain new knowledge through the projects they are involved in and manage. Set and meet your bold aspirations.Natasha Green, Senior Community Manager, AnitaB.org
Be comfortable being uncomfortable.
Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is a key leadership quality. Listen to and hold conversations that challenge all forms of inequity in the workplace. Understand the factors that impact bringing your full self to work, as well as others within your company. Don’t be afraid to have conversations around diversity and inclusion everyday – gender, race, cultural factors, identifiable factors etc.Jennifer Brown of Jennifer Brown Consulting
The best piece of advice I received as I developed my career as a black female in tech was “Do you, Brenda.” Bring your authentic self and perspective into the conversation, especially if it is different. The best thing you can do for a project or team is to help ensure all bases are covered.Brenda Darden Wilkerson, CEO at AnitaB.org