Earlier this month, BisNow hosted Where Do Women Stand XI – The Future of Media in Washington, DC. The event piqued our interest as it was sponsored by the Women’s Leadership Development Initiative at Arent Fox. Infinitive has also recently started a women’s networking group and we are excited about opportunities to network with other women leaders.
Our team came back to our office inspired by what we heard from the very accomplished women, including moderator Barbara Wahl, Partner, Arent Fox and the speakers:
- Linda Douglas, VP Strategic Communications, Atlantic Media Company
- Ann Compton, White House Correspondent, ABC News
- Laureen Ong, President, Travel Channel
Here are a few tidbits from the event and thoughts these women shared on how they got to where they are in their career, how they balance work and family, and how they made it in a “man’s world.”
Regarding women in leadership roles, they shared the following: It is a more level playing field, look around you and you see women leaders where there were no women before — in journalism, government, management, media, sports, war zones. In government, people are no longer questioning if women are smart and capable enough like they once did. Regardless of their politics, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Michele Bachmann have each paved the way for many future politicians and leaders, who just happen to be female.
In taking on or going after leadership roles, they advised: “It’s scary but you do it. You practice, you prepare and you confront your fear.” In addition they talked about how it is helpful to find someone to provide a role model. Find someone who is doing what you want to be doing and model your behavior on theirs, including the way they dress and conduct themselves.
On leadership qualities: women are natural problem solvers, they are good at collaborating and can be good listeners — but you have to make sure you get credit for your efforts; we are not as good at that as we should be.
On having a successful career and achieving levels of leadership: Make sure you are passionate enough about what you do to warrant spending 80% of your day doing it, because that is what it will take.
And a few other tips…
- Seek help from mentors and other higher ranking people.
- Don’t step on minefields – be mindful that women are still often held to a higher standard
- Use common sense
- Challenge things that are not right
- Always find the best in others – it eases the way for future interactions.
- Ask for help
- Don’t be afraid to speak up, especially when taking on a new challenge
- Don’t be afraid to show that you are human – especially in a leadership role.
These women are role models who have blazed the trail for the rest of us – and for that we owe them a debt of gratitude. It clearly wasn’t easy for any of them, but it sounds as if they worked hard and found that they were having fun along the way because they were doing what they love.