I had the honor of celebrating my Five-Year Heart Health Anniversary and early Birthday last Tuesday, at the NASDAQ in Times Square, with some of my closest girlfriends, who represent New York’s diverse professional women leaders. I had such an amazing time, and I am so blessed to have been in the presence of such amazing women. There’s nothing more empowering than a room of nearly 50 diverse professional sisters, celebrating workplace diversity and inclusion, and sharing their wisdom.
Diverse women leaders sound off! Here are some of the evening’s featured insights:
Q: What is the biggest challenge in the workplace that professional women face today?
“… it’s the lack of representation of women, not at the middle layer within an organization, but at the most senior levels… I think we’re making strides as it pertains to women in general, but I really would like to see more women of color at the top of the house.” –Michelle Gadsden Williams, Former Chief Diversity Officer at Credit Suisse; Owner of Ceiling Breakers LLC
“I think sometimes there are cultural barriers that are based off of gender, depending on specific industry groups. I’ve found in the past that it can be very challenging for women that are in science, technology and engineering to play at the same level based off the quality of their work in that environment, because it’s so male dominated…” –Labriah Lee, Northeast Regional Outreach Director AIPAC
Q: As a leader, what do you feel is the biggest advantage of gender diversity in the workplace?
“I think the biggest advantage is all the differences in ideas and opinions that people have, which just make the world a better place. If everyone had the same position about everything, it would be boring. So even if there’s conflict, there’s an opinion.” –Kristin Malaspina, Vice President of Partnership Marketing at Time Warner Cable
Q: What’s your number one tip for aspiring women leaders looking to climb the corporate or entrepreneurial ladder, especially in a male-dominated industry?
“Aim for the stars. Nothing is impossible.” –Felicia Taylor, CNN
“Be smart. Know your game. You have to be as smart as the man next to you, if not smarter.” –Pamela Johananoff, Corcoran
Q: What steps can corporations take to increase gender diversity in the workplace?
“For every open executive position, make sure they have a diverse pool, and that there are women in the pool being considered for the position. Whether it’s a technical position, science based, numbers based; it doesn’t matter.” –Lisa Davis, Partner at Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Sales
“I’m in media, and in my field, so much of it is digital and can be done from home or with flex hours. I think that if more companies are up to that… if they set targets that were quantifiable and are more open to flexible schedules, I think that would go a long way to increasing diversity…” –Keija Minor, Editor-In-Chief at Bridal magazine
Here’s to diversity, heart health and success!
What do you think is the biggest challenge women face in the workplace? What do you think is the biggest advantage of gender diversity in the workplace? Share your comments below.