By Rachel Goldberg, Assistant Vice President, Client Services | Valuation & Advisory
Last week I was afforded the opportunity to attend the 2016 MA Conference for Women with about 20 of my CBRE/New England colleagues. Overall, the experience was empowering and energizing, but most of all, reassuring. Being a woman in a male-dominated industry isn’t always easy. One of the break-out sessions that stuck with me the most was called How to Lead…When You’re Not in Charge. We learned about two different mindsets: Fixed and Growth. Leaders maintain a growth mindset. The qualities of a growth mindset are as follows:
- Has a passion for learning.
- More willing to take risks/confront challenges and work through them.
- Failure doesn’t define them.
- Open to accurate information about their current abilities.
- Resilient in the face of setbacks.
- Thrives on challenge.
- Values where they are going regardless of outcome.
- Believes success is earned.
Leaders also demonstrate credible performance by meeting and exceeding standards, communicating intent and expectations, holding others accountable for their performance; seeking responsibility before beginning to place blame; and valuing everyone and serving people in ways that matter.
Another lesson learned in this session was to lead with confidence. Confidence is built by:
- Experiencing success and recognizing and internalizing one’s own achievements.
- Surrounding yourself with positive role models who have your best interest at heart.
- Creating positive self-appraisals/positive self-narrative.
- Managing other key emotions: the more dramatic you are, the less you’ll be able to access confidence.
Millennials have an impactful contribution to the leadership at our company. We may not have leadership designations, but we bond emotionally with one another and empower one another. We demonstrate the growth mindset every day, and we learn from one another.
The next session I attended was Gender Partnership: Engaging Men As Advocates to Pioneer Pay Equity. I was shocked to learn from the thought leader (Catherine Corley, Senior Vice President, Global Operations, Catalyst) and speaker (Beth Carlson, Vice President, Global Talent Development & Organizational Effectiveness, Raytheon Company) that less than half of men believe that gender-stereotyping is an issue, while 76% of women believe it to be. One of the speakers began with a brilliant point: women are over-mentored and under-sponsored. We do not have enough male (or female) sponsors who speak highly of us and our achievements to others. Part of the reason is because women are afraid to request it. It is harder for women to talk about their aspirations than it is for men; therefore, women’s careers plateau while men continue ascending.
The group learned that progress is halted by a lack of male allies. If we are able to engage with men so that they understand and believe that gender-stereotyping exists (and that nobody wins from it), progress would occur more rapidly. According to the session leader, change has plateaued, which is unfortunate, because if it slows, women are not projected to reach pay equity until 2152. Men are afraid to help women for a variety of reasons, which include fear of making mistakes and fear of other men’s disapproval. Women can help to engage men by discussing our experiences of being outside of male privilege in a non-accusatory way. The pace of societal change is dependent on male allies, and alienation slows the pace.
When we broke for lunch and regrouped with our peers my heart swelled with love from the energy in that room. Hearing about the other sessions my colleagues attended was inspiring. The keynote speaker at lunch was Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX, Inc. Her personal story of achievement exhibited so much strength of character, resolve and self-actualization. I was absolutely beaming listening to her, hoping that the other women in the room knew that they are all capable of the same capacity for self-love and conviction.