Despite advances throughout society, the workplace still is a struggle for career-driven women. There are still roadblocks, including stigma, that make it difficult for many women to advance in their careers the way they imagined they would when growing up. In addition, there is still the idea that women should be family-focused, suggesting that there is something wrong or selfish about women who pursue their career ambitions.
Fortunately, female leaders like Suzanne Clark, throughout both public and private sectors, are people that women can look up to and utilize as mentors and role models. In addition, some women have already fought the stigma and made it past the career roadblocks, so they can enjoy their own success while also helping other women reach new heights. Finding women who model the type of success you wish to attain will help motivate you and provide you with real-life examples to emulate in your career path. Here are four things career-driven women can learn from Clark.
1. Get the education you need.
The type of training and education that you’ll need will depend entirely on the type of career you’re pursuing. For example, Clark is the President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Completing an MBA program doesn’t just speak to your knowledge but also to your initiative and ambition showing that you were able to complete a top MBA program.
When you’re just starting, you may feel intimidated by the whole process. However, your MBA admissions advisors can walk you through the process while providing encouragement and insight. The MBA admissions process involves an application and possibly an interview. These aren’t things to worry about, though. Top business schools like Wharton, Harvard Business School, Stanford, and London Business School are trying to weed out the ones who aren’t serious about their goals. As long as you are dedicated and focused, you’ll gain admission to a top MBA program.
2. Be confident in your approach.
As a woman, you’ll be challenged in ways that men are not. You’ll need to prove yourself more than your male counterparts, and you’ll need to do so without resentment. Being confident in your approach, your interactions, and your presentation will go a long way in establishing yourself as an authority within your career. Having an advanced degree will speak to your knowledge and ability to do your job, but you also need to walk the walk by not letting others talk over you or talk down to you.
When you act with confidence, you show others that you know what you’re doing without proving yourself directly. Gaining career success is never an easy task because it naturally requires hard work, but gaining that success as a woman can be particularly hard when you also have to prove you’re worthy of that success.
3. Ignore the haters and naysayers.
Regardless of the career path you choose, there will be people who doubt you. There will be people who bring negativity and toxicity into your life. It’s critical to ignore all the haters and naysayers. As a founder, entrepreneur, or leader, you’ll encounter people who are not in your corner and never will be. It’s critical to ignore them and continue moving forward. Getting lost in trying to make people happy or trying to make them like and respect you will lead to failure.
4. Stay focused on your personal and professional goals.
Women are often made to feel that they have to choose between personal and professional goals. However, that is not true. When you apply the same focus and determination to your personal goals as you do your professional goals, there is no stopping what you can achieve. You can be at the top of the business world while also being an avid hiker, painter, or piano player. You can be a parent, a volunteer, and on the board of a non-profit while also having a successful career. Your actions will follow your focus.