Diversity Woman Magazine

SPR 2018

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/955125

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d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m S p r i n g 2 0 1 8 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 27 path, which in the past decade has taken her from working at the White House as chief financial officer for the Execu- tive Office of the President of the United States during the Obama Administration to her current position as executive direc- tor of the Burlington Housing Authority in Vermont. "I don't have any agenda," Laackman says, "other than having the biggest impact." Low maintenance, high visibility Gail Golden, PhD, a management psycholo- gist and the founder of Gail Golden Con- sulting, proposes a framework to illustrate how people operate at work: low visibil- ity, low maintenance; high visibility, high maintenance; low visibility, high mainte- nance; and high visibility, low maintenance. Many women, she says, tend to fall into the low-visibility, low-maintenance quadrant—worker bee types who don't cause problems but whose contributions don't get noticed by their supervisors. For women to put themselves in the best position for advancement, it helps to adopt a mentality of low maintenance and high visibility, in which the value you bring is obvious, and you're also seen as easy to work with and affable. "Women tend to believe that the key to success is doing a really good job," says Golden. "ey don't recognize that there's this other piece. Oftentimes, women will refer to it as politics and put a negative spin on it. "Part of your job is to bring the most value to your company, and that means do your job well and also help the people in charge see all you have to offer, so they can deploy you in a way that's most use- ful to your company. at's putting your- self ahead, and that's not at the expense of somebody." O'Grady, who once served as chief of staff to former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, says, "You do have to be an ad- vocate for yourself, and you do have to use your voice to let others know what your goals are. Obviously, that all needs to be done in a thoughtful way. But you do need to own it—otherwise you risk others defining you and making assump- tions in what you want." Sirmara Campbell, who started as an office assistant at LaSalle Network, a recruiting and staffing company, and is now in its C-suite as the chief human re- sources officer, says from the beginning she nurtured a curiosity about how the company functioned. "I would ask [founder and CEO] Tom [Gimbel], 'What are you doing? Payroll? Can I do it? You're sending invoices? Can I learn how to do that?'" she says. "My mentality has always been to go for it." Having a boss who could envision her ad- vancement proved central to her leadership development. For Campbell, her jump from support to management came when Gim- bel asked her to create a human resources arm. When she felt unsure, he pointed out she had already been steeped in it. "Tom is a driving force in my career and in my life," she says. "I don't know where I'd be without him." Lead on the outside When Emilia DiMenco worked at Har- ris Bank, now BMO Harris Bank—where she rose from management trainee to the first female board-approved executive vice president at the company's corpo- rate and commercial bank—the corpora- tion paid for her MBA and developed her leadership skills by offering media train- ing and courses in public speaking. At LaSalle, Campbell points to an in- ternal training department, a tuition- reimbursement program, and the recom- mendation of employees to conferences, seminars, and workshops. ese are all opportunities women should take, but DiMenco, now the presi- dent and CEO of the Women's Business Development Center in Chicago, also says that women can grow their leadership ca- pabilities through nonprofit organizations. "ere are hundreds and hundreds of nonprofit organizations that need com- mittee members, who need chairs of ga- las," she says. "You've got to take leader- ship in committees, you've got to go for the board, you've got to do fund-raising, you've got to work at galas. You have to pay the price, in time and effort, to speak, to lead." DW Erin Chan Ding is a freelance journal- ist based in Chicago. She has written for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Fit Pregnancy, and Midwest Living. We Mean Business > Practical ways to innovate • Hire a career coach or life coach. This is especially useful if you're at a transition point. As in all relation- ships, when looking for a coach, look for chemistry. • Take a coding class. In our tech- nology-saturated society, learning how to program not only increases your marketability but also teaches you to problem solve. You can take online tutorials at sites like codeacademy.com. • Increase your quantitative skills. This may mean getting an MBA, especially if your company provides tuition reimbursement, or raising your hand to handle budgeting duties for your company or a local nonprofit organization. • Work on public speaking. Toast- masters International has been around for more than a century to help people conquer their fear of public speaking. Find your local club at Toastmasters.org. • Develop your emotional intelli- gence. Building self-awareness and relational capacity through books and exercises will help in any job role. • Expand your digital network. Hop on LinkedIn to connect with people in your career field or in your pas- sion areas.

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