Northeast Area Update | March 28

Upper East Side, Columbia – If you missed yesterday’s Business at Sunrise, here’s what you missed:

Lean In Columbia hosted. They’re a new women’s advocacy organization focused on working women, women in leadership roles, and women developing career paths. See more about what Lean In Columbia is doing by visiting their Facebook page or joining their LinkedIn group.

The title of Thursday’s panel discussion was: Advancing Women in the Workplace and some of the questions answered were:

What specific behaviors do you see as contributing to or derailing women’s efforts to advance into leadership roles?

Sarah Martin, of BlueCross BlueShield said “emotion.” In her response, she said she often found herself looking at situations from a man’s point of view and trying to remove the immediate emotional response from her vocabulary.

Rebecca Vance, City Manager of Cayce, agreed. She said learning to control emotions and be patient when responding to crises are key factors for having a successful career.

What has changed since you entered the workforce?

Terry Peace, from BlueCross BlueShield, said when she started out almost all of the upper ranks were fill with male leaders. Now, she said, a lot more females occupy the C Suite.

Rebecca Vance agreed that the public sector demographics have changed as well. She was one of only a few female city managers when she got started, and now can count several dozen in the ranks.

How can senior women help their junior colleagues to excel?

Sarah Martin suggested finding opportunities for direct reports to excel. Noticing where their strengths are and giving them a chance to demonstrate them is key. She also suggested helping junior colleagues to become experts in some area of the business. Encourage them to study, practice, and accept projects that will grow their industry knowledge.

Additional remarks included the importance of finding the right partner to help with domestic responsibilities and to encourage women to achieve. Some discussion centered around the importance of having a life outside of work such as causes and communities to which women could contribute. The consensus was that feeding one’s soul was as important as focusing on one’s career.

Overall, Business at Sunrise had a great turnout, more than 75 professionals on hand to listen to the experiences and advice of three top-performing ladies.

The Northeast Area Council thanks Lean In Columbia for hosting the event and inviting the panelists and all the new faces we saw on Thursday. Thanks, also, to Cory Lorick, Council President, who delivered the best quote of the session:

“If your wife is awesome, don’t hide that away. Share her awesomeness with others so they’ll know how good you have it.”

Thanks, Cory. Well said.

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