2016 Orange County Women in Leadership Symposium Panel Discussion Highlights

Q & A

Q: When you are a go-to person, your own job may not get done or you end up working OT and your family sacrifices.

A: I pride myself on being a go to person. That does not mean I’m the “go do it” person. What I meant by that is, people view me as an information source. I’m very good at connecting people to others; and / or providing or quickly finding information to point them in the right direction. And in the process, I’m building & strengthening relationships that will serve me well, so that when I need something, I have a big network to reach out to. Being the go to person also create constant learning loops for myself. Don’t forget that old saying – “Knowledge is power”.
– Karen A. Clark, City National Bank

Q: What is the rule of thumb ratio of time spending on career and family/recreation?

A: I wish it was as simple as having a rule of thumb for work/personal balance. Unfortunately, there usually isn’t one, at least not an explicit one. Pay attention to what’s going on in your workplace to at least give you an idea of what seems to be expected by your employer. For example, if most people are in the office/working 11-12 hours a day and putting in a lot of face time, chances are that the culture of that workplace is hard-charging. Be mindful that if you choose not to do the same, that fact might be noticed and may not be beneficial for you. The thing is – it’s your choice. Even in a Type A work environment, you might be able to cut your own deal and find a work arrangement that’s suited to you (flex-time? telework?) if you’ve built up sufficient capital with your employer. And of course, the amount of time you devote to personal pursuits depends on your needs and your family’s needs. As was said during the symposium, however, think hard before deciding to sacrifice family for career. No one ever laid on their death bed and lamented that they didn’t work enough.
– Rhonda Bolton, Kia Motors America

Q: What is the balance of voicing opinion and observing/learning?

A: Voicing an opinion is good but it would be wise to remember the following:

  1. Make sure you are not the only one that always has an opinion.
  2. When you speak, make sure it is a well thought out opinion and check your motives. Why do you feel compelled to share? Is it valuable, can others learn from it, or is it about you?
  3. If you do share an opinion, follow it up by asking what others think, this will show you are interested in the thoughts of others.

    – Irene Ortiz-Glass, Leadership Advisory Group

  5. Observation and learning is a necessary precursor to speaking up. No one wants to listen to someone who hasn’t taken the time to listen to others’ input or hasn’t done their homework. So, I’d say listen 100% of the time, and offer an opinion when you have one that will benefit the group.
    -Naomi Werner, Ossur
Q: Once your reputation is low, what is the 1st step to rebuilding it? What if your reputation is negative or what if you don’t like your brand?

Rebuilding your brand can be tough because impressions stick. However, a good first step is to really understand your internal motivations – your motivations drive your behaviors and actions which in turn reflect your brand. You can’t fake it. Think of the people and companies that have changed their brand… it takes effort and time, but it helps if you have respected advocates that will speak on your behalf.

– Naomi Werner, Ossur

Question for Karen In the workplace, an aggressive man is seen as a “take charge; no BS” leader. An aggressive woman is not viewed as positive. Especially women!! What has been your experience?

A: I tend to have a very big personality anyway, which can be a double edged sword in boardroom settings. However, I learned in a training workshop once (Efficacy for Women) that a smile can make all the difference. Perhaps it’s not fair that I have to deliver my messages and dissertations with a smile, but that simple thing it has always worked for me.
– Karen A. Clark, City National Bank

Question for Rhonda What is most important to be an integral and an honest leader?

A: To be an integral part of a team, you have to start with being absolutely the best at what you do in your field. It may take you a bit of time to determine what your niche is, especially if you’re early in your career. But if you’re also able to see and fulfill unmet needs in your organization (and make sure you get recognized for it), that too will help to make you integral to a team. And the honest leadership part takes – honesty. Authenticity and a good EQ are valuable too, for times where being honest requires you to have a difficult conversation or deliver bad news.
– Rhonda Bolton, Kia Motors America

What ways can women seek and capitalize on opportunities in corporate environments that are not always friendly or supportive of women?

A: First and foremost, learn as much as you can from that job! In this way, you are looking out for yourself even if you have a sense that others are not. To stay sane, try to build relationships with women – and men – who understand what the environment is like but are also focused on their own professional development. Very candidly, it’s difficult to say whether you should advocate for change within the organization: if it seems that the environment is the result of the attitudes of a handful of leaders but there are other leaders who would be receptive to discussion and acting on ways to make the environment more inclusive, perhaps you and other like-minded colleagues could try. Trust your gut on that question though; if you get the “queasies” at the thought of being involved in that type of advocacy, you should probably heed what your stomach is trying to tell you.
– Rhonda Bolton, Kia Motors America

A: My personality plays a big part in how I “stand out”. I’m extroverted, and I have been on and off stages most of my life (theatre / music) so I use my personality traits, and entertainment experiences to my advantage. I’m not shy, so can easily meet people and engage them. But at the same time I am a good (not great, but working on it) listener. So once I engage someone I try and get them to talk about their self; and through that, gain a greater understanding of who they are, and what makes them tick. Once you have that info, it’s easier to build a bond. If you are introverted, you will have to work harder to stand out. Join a speaking club; seek out other introverted people who are successful, and line up a mentor to help you.

Love hate relationships – I find opportunities to show that person the value that I can add; or have already added to their professional / corporate life. Eventually, those relationships turn around.

Resiliency – take time for yourself to rejuvenate often. For me, the gym does it; and occasionally I take a mental health day (I’m rarely sick so I have tons of unused sick days). Don’t deny yourself vacations. Write down your accomplishments at least semi-annually. That exercise will remind you of how much you have accomplished, and will empower you to keep pushing.
– Karen A. Clark, City National Bank

Becoming a Person of Influence

  • Must have influence to advance
  • Model characters of a leader
  • Be known for something
  • Know what the organization values
  • You’ll know you have influence when people start seeking you out


Positioning Yourself for the Next Big Opportunity

  • Think big; don’t limit yourself
  • Advanced your education; be a learner
  • Learn about your organization and industry
  • Be a go-to person
  • Build your network
  • The next big opportunity might not be up ~ it may be around you
  • Have an opinion
  • Have the courage to let others know what you want to do


Becoming Visible & the Importance of Self

  • Be authentic; find the best parts of you
  • Know and leverage your own personal brand
  • Ask 10 people what your reputation is to learn your brand ~ what am I known for
  • Your brand should be by your design, not by default


Developing Political Savvy: Hard work & Talent Are Not Good Enough

  • Political savvy is demonstrated through nuances
  • Traits (5 Cs)
    • Collaboration
    • Communication
    • Credibility
    • Charismatic (like-able)
    • Culturally astute
  • Volunteer for projects
  • Doesn’t matter your level start developing political savvy now
  • Office politics = how we get things done around here
  • Look for the win for everyone
  • Give credit to others


The Courage to Lead: Inner Dimensions of Leadership

  • Resiliency; dealing with an overcoming difficulties
  • Be a life-long learner
  • EQ; self regulation
  • Know how the organization makes money
  • Confidence
  • Seek new and different; seek opportunity
  • Hire people smarter than you


Opening Doors for Women

  • www.AAUW.org for
  • Start Smart and Work Smart Salary Negotiation Workshop information;
  • Report: Graduating to a Pay Gap;
  • Report: The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap;
  • Report: Solving the Equation ( Corporate Guide for Women in Computing and Engineering);
  • Report: Why so Few? (Women in STEM);
  • Report: Barriers and Bias, the Status of Women in Leadership, to be launched on March 30, 2016, invitation to Webinar Launch with Cokie Roberts is available.
  • Invitation and Registration for the University of Phoenix Women in Leadership Forum, April 9, 2016, in La Palma (Including hands-on Start Smart workshop): http://www.eventbrite.com/e/la-palma-womens-leadership-forum-2016-tickets-20298566559
  • Women in the Workplace 2015 by Leanin.com and McKinsey&Company (Available online)
  • Biases
    • Lika-ability bias
    • Performance evaluation bias
    • Performance attribution bias
    • Maternal bias
  • We have to help each other advance
  • Sometimes we don’t support each other ~ we have to turn that around
  • Challenge the policies that hold us back


Books our panel recommends

  • Who Moved My Cheese?
  • The First 90 Days
  • What Women Want from Work
  • Lean Out
  • All In

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