Blaze A Unique Career Path All the Way to the Top

You can’t put her in a neat box. She doesn’t fit any Latina stereotype or female stereotype for that matter. Hers is a unique career path that she blazed one step at a time. Get inspired! Read on!

How often do you meet someone who’s excited about their career and a few minutes later you scratch your head perplexed: How did she get that job? When you look at her resume it’s hard to figure out how she went from one position to the next. It’s obvious to you she followed an unusual career path. She probably broke every rule any recruiter would ever advice you to follow. And yet… she’s wildly successful. Not only because she has a fantastic job but mostly because she loves what she does and it shows. Maybe that has been her secret all along. Pay no attention to the rules, the naysayers, or the box makers. Just define a unique career path that suits your personality, your multiple interests and talents and voila! You got yourself a happy life.

Cosette Gutierrez, an amazing example of unique career path. Get inspired! Read on!

Cosette Gutierrez, an amazing example of unique career path

So who is she? And what does her unique career path look like?

Cosette Gutiérrez, Senior Group Manager, Community Relations at Target (in charge of Target’s Education giving across key markets in the Northeast Region), a Member of the Board of Directors at the Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals, and Chairman Emeritus, National Board of Directors of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs.   That’s for her current occupations.

Here’s what we mean by a different career path. Prior to her current position, Cosette was a Store Team leader at Target, Senior VP at Bank of America, Commodity Manager at Honeywell International, Assistant VP at Citibank, and Product Coordinator at H. Muehlstein and Company. Her education? A BS from MIT and MBA from Indiana University. Yup. A Latina graduate from MIT who went from managing the procurement of Natural Rubber from Indonesia to banking to retail to philanthropy in one sweep lifetime.

Cosette Gutierrez

Cosette Gutierrez

Are unique paths created with a master plan?

How did this happen? Did you have a master plan for your career or did it just turn out to be a unique without you realizing it?

I definitely did not have a master plan for what my career would be like! I have always been flexible and eager to try new things, which led me to many opportunities. I always focus on a very simple formula for achieving success: Performance + Passion = Promotion.   Performance is about working hard, and striving to be the best at every job you have. You will never get to the next great job without being a rock star in the one you have today. Passion is about loving what you do, every day! If you don’t love the job, it is time to find another one. Life is too short to be doing something that you don’t love! When you perform, and you are passionate, it shows, and that’s how you will get that next role, where you’ll begin the formula again…Performance + Passion = Promotion!

What allowed you to think that you could break away from any preconceived notions of what your career should look like?

Believing in myself and my capabilities, and learning to not take “no” for an answer! If there is something that I want to do, but don’t know how, then I focus on learning how to do it. I’ve always been an avid learner, and focused on filling “my toolbox” with all kinds of skills. Some you use often, others not, but you have them there, and you’d be surprised when they are needed! Like public speaking for example. People always compliment me on my ability to speak to any audience, ranging from an intimate gathering around a dinner table, to a large room of thousands.

Cosette Dec 2014 American Latino Influencer Awards Miami

Cosette Dec 2014 American Latino Influencer Awards Miami

They are also surprised when I tell them I was an introvert as a child and hated speaking in public. While in college, I knew this skill would be very valuable, so I took an acting class, where I learned how to think and speak on my feet, as well as memorizing lines, and manage my emotions. At the time, my MIT classmates teased me about my “acting class”. Fast forward to today, I am very grateful for that experience as it allows me to shine in all that I do!

Sometimes being the first person in your family to do something makes it harder to stray away from the known paths and pick a unique career path

Were you the first in your family to go to college? Did that give you more or less freedom to choose a different career?

Neither of my parents completed high school. My aunts and uncles attended college in our native Dominican Republic, and my great grandfather was a self-taught doctor, so we knew that it was in my genes J. Navigating the U.S. college system was not easy, but I was extremely fortunate to have a mom who believed in me, and always pushed me to achieve more. She knew that education was the key to success in the United States, and I was encouraged to study, many times at the expense of being with friends, and going to parties. I grew up watching my mom work in the bridal business, something which brought her much joy, and she always told me to “do what you love darling”. So, as I began to navigate different career options, her questions were always “Do you like the job? Will it make you happy? Are the people nice?” Of course, she usually followed up with “I hope the pay is good”! As long as I answered yes to her questions, I knew that I’d be okay. Thank goodness, it has turned out better than okay!

Her unique career path took Cosette Gutierrez to her current job at Target. Here, about to get on the Target Jet! Read her story!

Her unique career path took Cosette Gutierrez to her current job at Target. Here, about to get on the Target Jet!

What would you say is the secret to your success? And let’s not chuck it to luck.

I mentioned Performance and Passion before, and will reinforce that Performance is critical to success. Work, work, work, work – successful people work really hard! My experience has been that successful people aren’t hanging around resting on their successes. Once they achieve something they have been pursuing, they move onto the next achievement.   In addition to hard work, having great mentors and listening to them, especially when you do not like what they have to say, is part of the success equation. I have been blessed to have strong mentors in my life, leaders who believed in me, and supported me in some of my craziest adventures. My motto on mentors is simple…if your mentors only tell you that you are awesome, it’s time to find other mentors. Find people who care enough to give you true feedback and push you to take risks that you wouldn’t think of taking.

FInd out how to find corporate mentors and career sponsors.

Cosette Gutierrez Quote on Mentors

Cosette Gutierrez Quote on Mentors

What would you say to women who don’t fit in a box? What’s the best way to go about creating your unique work path even when you have few role models to show you how to do it?

My recommendation is to make your own box! It’s much more fun that way than trying to fit into someone else’s box. I love it when people say to me “you did what?!?” Your life is only yours to live, and you should do so with no regrets. I’m saddened by people who live lives that are less than what they want or what they are capable of. There are too many people in our society who are happy with being average. Don’t settle! Take risks, and don’t be afraid to fail. There are learnings in every failure. The key is to not make the same mistakes twice.  Lastly, do not be afraid of asking others for help. You are probably not the first person to experience the situation that you are in, and for those of us who have been there before, it would be our pleasure (and our responsibility) to help you. You are never alone!

You can follow Cosette Gutiérrez on Twitter: @CosetteNYC

If you want to discover your unique career path, explore the RSM Step Up Program. You’ll be amazed at how fun it can be to start your own discovery journey. It’s You. Amplified!

 

Why are women bosses bitchy? The shocking answer

There has been plenty written about awful women bosses. Time to turn the table and focus on how employees behave with a woman boss!

Type of issues women bosses and men bosses are asked to deal with

R&J is a large consulting firm with two managing partners, John and Leticia, and several hundred associates. Leticia is regularly approached by associates with the following types of situations:

“Rachel and I share the same admin and Rachel is overusing her. So every time I need something, the admin is busy working for Rachel.”

“I’m very angry at Peter having called my client without asking me first. I had to find out from my client! Imagine my embarrassment.”

“Every time I try to reserve the conference room, Margaret or Ernest ‘coincidentally’ need it for the same time. This is unacceptable!”

John is regularly approached by associates with these kinds of situations:

“I’d like to discuss with you a strategy for client X so we can nail that account.”

“Let’s talk about how to deal with the hiring issue that client Y has brought up. I think we can help them with that.”

“I have an idea for a new service we can offer that can take the firm to a whole new level.”

 

The Devil Wears Prada, women bosses quote

The Devil Wears Prada, women bosses quote

 

In other words, Leticia is more often than not consulted on emotional, internal (or external) fights and expected to help employees resolve their personal problems. John, on the other hand, is mostly approached on business-related issues.

The reality experienced by women bosses

This distinction is pretty clear at R&J because there are two managing partners, one of each gender. But this is exactly what many, many women bosses experience in the workplace. They are faced with an expectation to respond like sympathetic mothers when employees, who behave as toddlers, come to them crying foul. Could it be possible that when a woman boss is not willing to put up with the kind of behavior she’s almost expected to tolerate she’s called a bitch?

If you expect me to solve your personal squabbles rather than lead, you can call me a bitch. Quote.

Employees approach men and women bosses differently. Could this be the reason women are often called names?

The topic of awful women bosses and the appellatives they are called, from “a bitch” to “too bossy,” has been in the media for many years. Movies such as Working Girl and The Devil Wears Prada have contributed to etching the stereotype in our collective unconscious, making it even harder to eradicate.

I admit that there are some women bosses who could use a good dose of self-examination and modulation of their leadership styles. Just as there are plenty of men bosses who could benefit from the same. Yet I notice that we seldom, if ever, take a look at how differently employees behave with men and women bosses and what their expectations are of each gender.

Evaluating your behavior towards women bosses

I know it’s hard to admit that you are misbehaving at work. But, if we are to move away from stereotyping women bosses as bitchy, may I suggest that we start by exploring employees’ behavior at work? You can start by taking a thorough look at your own behavior towards your men and women bosses. Ask yourself the following:

  •  Do you approach men and women bosses with the same kind of issues?
  • Do you expect your women bosses to be more empathetic towards you?
  • Do you use the same type of emotional intensity when you approach men and women bosses?
  • Do you use similar language to express your concerns, ideas, problems?

    Before you criticize a woman giver her the benefit of the doubt, Women Bosses quote

    We frequently don’t give women bosses the benefit of the doubt.

Next time, before you call your boss a bitch or you jump at the opportunity to call any woman boss or leader names, take a deep breath and give her the benefit of the doubt. Could it be that she’s not accepting the unwritten expectation that she should be empathetic all the time? Could it be that she expects to be treated with the same deference that male leaders are treated in the organization?

The Top 10 Qualities of a Good Leader

Discover the top 10 qualities of a good leader for the 21st century! Do you have them? Or would you benefit from leadership training and development? We believe you can teach many of these qualities at effective leadership development programs.

Discover the top 10 qualities of a good leader

There is a wide range of opinions regarding the top qualities of a good leader. What is clear is that, among the many identifiable characteristics shared by leaders, some are more innate than others. Which means that there are certain basic traits individuals are born with and others you can help them develop via leadership training. For our list, we chose key characteristics for leaders of the 21st century to remain relevant.

Oprah Winfrey, inspirational leader | Discover the top 10 qualities of a good leader!

Oprah Winfrey, inspirational leader

The top 10 qualities of a good leader

10 Ability to Connect and Communicate- Leaders are master connectors and communicators, a skill that, despite being largely innate, can be taught. They must have the ability to: Connect with employees, clients, vendors, partners, the media, and others and connect their ideas with the needs of the market. And also the ability to communicate their ideas and their vision, the effectiveness of which depends on their communication styles. Go ahead and read Communication Styles That Won’t Carry You Up the Ladder and see if you may be making these mistakes!

9 Ability to inspire- One of the qualities of a good leader most often recognized in iconic figures such as Oprah or Steve Jobs is the ability to inspire others. Although some individuals’ inspire others with their natural charisma, it is possible to teach the mechanics of inspiration. A mark of a true 21st century leader is the ability to inspire others to be leaders themselves

8 Commitment- Only when a leader is committed to their organization’s goals, principles and values can they inspire others to be committed. That commitment needs to be felt in their willingness to work hard and to be measured by the same standards as everyone else. In other words, when employees see leaders making sacrifices, they are more willing to make them themselves. Commitment is a hard (if not impossible) to teach quality. Leadership training is not really effective here.

The top 10 qualities of a Good leader | Leadership development

The top 10 qualities of a good leader

7 Focus- A laser focus on the organization’s goals is necessary to move it forward. The most effective leaders are those able to keep their focus on the long-term mission even when dealing with short-term challenges. This is one of the qualities of a good leader for which leadership development can be effective.

6 Intelligence- It may go without saying that in order to lead an organization you need to have a certain amount of intelligence. You don’t need to have the highest IQ in the room as you could compensate with street smarts, preparation and choosing the right team, but you do need to be moderately smart.

5 Multicultural sensitivity- We live in an increasingly diverse world where the ability to connect with people from different backgrounds is critical to the success of any organization. Leaders who are conversant in cultural sensitivity have a big advantage over their peers who remain in the ivory tower. Leadership development focused on cultural diversity training can be useful here.

One of the good qualities of a leader is passion.  - Albert Einstein talent quote

One of the good qualities of a leader is passion.

4 Passion- At the center of what characterizes a leader is their passion. Passion is the energy that makes things happen, that makes people attractive to others. This is a very hard quality to instill via leadership training in people who are not passionate about anything. You can try, however, to help individuals who are passionate about a variety of things to focus on something specific.

3 Positive Attitude- Leaders must always have a positive, can-do attitude. It’s the only way to face difficulties and overcome crises. Although you can teach how to see things in a positive light and keep up a positive attitude, we tend to think that, to a large extent, people are born with a tendency to see the glass half-full or half-empty. Leadership development may have a limited effect on this trait.

2 Vision- This is what distinguishes leaders from followers. It’s the dream. Their vision of what can be created that doesn’t yet exist, of how far the organization and its products or services can go, what dream can be achieved. Another one of the very intrinsic characteristics of a leader that is hard to teach.

And the number one quality of a good leader is!!!

1 Willingness to make mistakes- Every leader worth their salt is a risk taker and embraces mistakes as part of the journey. They know mistakes will happen along the way. But a true 21st Century leader also:

  • Encourages their team to make mistakes
  • Doesn’t punish people for making mistakes as a result of risk-taking
  • Uses mistakes as learning opportunities

 

Richard Branson, one of the top inspirational leaders | Leadership training

Leaders are dreamers focused on their vision!

Leadership training is it effective for leadership development?

It depends on the kind of leadership training. Some leadership training programs are particularly good at eliciting employees’ most important leadership skills. When you combine these programs with leadership development in the areas where the particular employee is weak (perhaps communications or focus) and you can easily see a leader emerge. There are other leadership training programs, however, that would have you believe that you could make a leader out of someone who lacks some of the very basic qualities of a good leader such as intelligence, passion and vision.

Not everyone is a natural born leader and not everyone is even interested in being a leader. The challenge is to look beyond your own stereotypes to find diamonds in the rough and to offer them the right leadership development opportunities so they can flourish.

21 Famous and Funny Communication Quotes. Share Away!

We all love communication quotes. Heck! We all love quotes, period. We share with you how to pick the right one to make light of a mishap or to help improve the flow of communication in the workplace, and 21 fabulous communication quotes!!!

After the success of our communication skills quiz, and the self-esteem quotes and women supporting women quotes, we felt it was time to bring you the best communication quotes. To inspire you, we selected the ones that zero- in on good and bad communication skills.

Because things can easily be misunderstood, you must carefully craft your messages #communication skills | 21 famous and funny communication quotes

Because things can easily be misunderstood, you must carefully craft your messages

The power of famous and funny communication quotes

Famous and funny communication quotes offer certain universal truths we could all live by. Just as a poem can capture an idea that can often be hard to put into regular words, communication quotes can be a wonderful vehicle to get a message across. They could be useful to cheer you and your colleagues up but also to shed light into what causes miscommunication in the workplace. Sometimes, by bringing the point of view of a beloved author, scientist, or comedian it’s easier to lighten the mood and get people to laugh together, a good first step to better communication in the workplace.

How to use communication quotes to your advantage

Sharing communication quotes via social media is a subtle way to contribute to the improvement of communication skills of a specific person or a group. Without openly alluding to a specific situation, you can get the idea across and even get friends and colleagues to have a conversation about the topic.

It's easy to fall under the illusion that your message was understood. So always verify if that's so! | Communication Skills

It’s easy to fall under the illusion that your message was understood. So always verify if that’s so!

You could also use communication quotes as icebreakers either during presentations or small department meetings. Their universal appeal and insightfulness are perfect to help people relax with each other.

Good grammar is key for excellent communication to take place | Photo Credit: EileenLonergan.Com

Good grammar is key for excellent communication to take place
Photo Credit: EileenLonergan.Com

If you are in a leadership position, you may want to invite company associates to submit their own quotes related to communication in the workplace. You can then post the best ones on bulletin boards, in the company’s newsletter, or even share them via your company’s social media platform. It’s a playful way to generate engagement while underscoring good communication in the workplace.

Control freak funny communication quote | Photo Credit: Pnfirefastmovement.blogspot.com

Control freak funny communication quote | Photo Credit: Pnfirefastmovement.blogspot.com

Lastly, you could use communication quotes in communication skills workshops. In this case, you’d use them to trigger a discussion of specific communication skills, namely, listening, speaking or writing.

Communication skills - Lily Tomlin famous and funny communication quotes

How specific are you in your communications? Can people tell exactly what you want?

And here’s our challenge: Send us your communication quotes and we will feature the best ones in a future post!

Don't you text me in that tone of voice!

Can you really tell people’s tone via text message? When in doubt, pick up the phone.

 

Super funny communication quotes

Use humorous quotes as icebreakers and to lighten the mood.
Photo Credit: play.google.com

 

Sometimes is better to stick to one or two key messages so people remember them! | Communication in the workplace

Sometimes is better to stick to one or two key messages so people remember them!

Prioritizing is a critical component of communications. Don't let urgent things get always in the way of discussing what's important. Thank you Quino for Mafalda! | 21 famous and funny communication quotes

Prioritizing is a critical component of communications. Don’t let urgent things get always in the way of discussing what’s important.
Thank you Quino for Mafalda!

 

Editing is even more important than writing. Great communication skills call for reviewing all your communication before it goes out. | Ernest Hemingway | 21 famous and funny communication skills quotes

Editing is even more important than writing. Great communication skills call for reviewing all your communication before it goes out.

 

This one is plain funny | 21 famous and funny communication quotes | Improving your grammar and spelling are ways to improve communication in the workplace Photo Credit: ShoeBoxBlog.com

Improving your grammar and spelling are ways to improve communication in the workplace Photo Credit: ShoeBoxBlog.com

 

Don't raise your voice improve your argument | 21 famous and funny communication quotes

Sharpen your message so people understand exactly what you mean.

 

Being able to question yourself is a healthy way to live your life!  | Oscar Wilde | 21 famous and funny communication quotes

Being able to question yourself is a healthy way to live your life!

 

LOL | 21 famous and funny communication quotes | Credit: Funnsmeh.com

Using funny communication quotes as icebreakers is a great way to lighten the mood and help people relax
Credit: Funnsmeh.com

 

Using humor smartly is a good way to flaunt good communication skills in the workplace

Using humor smartly is a good way to flaunt good communication skills in the workplace

By all means, meet in person when there's any chance of a misunderstanding! Photo Credit: SomeECards | | 21 famous and funny communication quotes

By all means, meet in person when there’s any chance of a misunderstanding! Photo Credit: SomeECards

Some wise communication rules: avoid spreading rumors, eavesdropping, and spying on people. | See no evil | 21 famous and funny communication quotes

Some wise communication rules: avoid spreading rumors, eavesdropping, and spying on people.

 

Expressing your emotions is okay. Only make sure you do so in a way that your audience understands the message. | Margaret Thatcher quote

Expressing your emotions is okay. Only make sure you do so in a way that your audience understands the message.

 

Too funny | 21 famous and funny communication quotes | Photo Credit: GInavalley.com

Are you really communicating?
Photo Credit: GInavalley.com

Grammar, spelling, it usually comes down to that! Photo Credit: blog.ivman.com

Grammar, spelling, it usually comes down to that!
Photo Credit: blog.ivman.com

We love Anne Morrow Lindbergh's comparison, don't you?

We love Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s comparison, don’t you?

 

Women in male-dominated professions and industries

More women in male-dominated professions and industries means multiple points of view, approaches to solutions & less mistakes. Everyone benefits. In recent years there’s been a push for more women in male-dominated professions. Is it worth the effort it takes to break into these fields? Read on!

According to Catalyst, male-dominated industries are those with less than 25% women, and they tend to be the toughest fields for women’s career advancement. Why? Well, Catalyst’s research confirmed something many experts have long suspected—Given that, in male-dominated industries, the senior leadership tends to be made up of men, they set the tone for masculine stereotypes that creep into HR strategies and tools.

Imagination, GE's ad campaign: GE has been encouraging more girls to study engineering, a traditionally male-dominated profession.

GE has been encouraging more girls to study engineering, a traditionally male-dominated profession.

The million dollar question remains: Why do we need more women in male-dominated professions to start with?

You could say that, just as there are male dominated industries, there are also female-dominated industries. On the surface there’s nothing wrong with the fact that one gender gravitates towards one field in much larger numbers than the other gender. For example, engineering, technology and finance have been fields heavily populated by men for the longest time, whereas women have dominated fields such as education and health care.

I say “on the surface” because men and women have complementary behaviors, attitudes, and leadership styles that, when brought together, add new perspectives to the job.

A multiplicity of points of view brings new ways of doing things, approaching problems and finding solutions, which in the end benefit everyone.

This is true of all occupations.

Bad things can happen when an industry is dominated by one gender

We had a good example of the potentially negative consequences of one gender dominating an industry with the financial collapse of 2008. One of the most male-dominated industries, the financial sector, didn’t have the advantage of a diversity of view points that more women could have offered. The level of risk taking characteristic of male leaders encountered no counterbalance by the more moderate approach females tend to have.

Terri List-Stoll, CFO Kraft Foods Group, a position few women hold in a Fortune 500 Company. Women in male-dominated professions and industries

Terri List-Stoll, CFO Kraft Foods Group, a position few women hold in a Fortune 500 Company

Career growth opportunities for women in male-dominated professions

There are very interesting opportunities for career growth for women in male dominated professions. With technological advances leading the charge in the global economy, and no country graduating enough professionals in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to fulfill the global demand, there are many available positions that pay well and have a future of low unemployment. You can review the list of the most promising fields in the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Federal Government.

Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve | Career growth opportunities for women in male-dominated professions

Janet Yellen is the first woman Chair of the Federal Reserve.

Challenges faced by women in male-dominated industries

Granted, succeeding in male-dominated industries is not easy. (If it’s any consolation, the same is true for men trying to enter women-dominated professions.) Many of the executives we’ve interviewed for the Red Shoe Movement are women in male-dominated professions. They have shared with us obstacles they had to overcome and challenges they continue to face. We could all learn a lot from their collective wisdom.

Carla Dodds, VP Senior Business Leader at Mastercard, speaking about how to succeed in corporate America gave these suggestions when asked what women who work in male-dominated professions can do to grow and prosper

“1.  Know your opponents. 2. Understand they are not your opponents

This idea is key to better understand those around you.  Understand their drivers, their personal lives as much as possible because this will help you understand how they respond better. This knowledge will help you navigate the workplace more effectively in order to achieve positive outcomes and ultimately succeed in corporate America (or anywhere else you work.)  Understand men’s weaknesses and strengths so you can seek to “complement” not “face-off” with them.  (…) Instead, think strategically.  Keep cool and calm.  Breathe and take yourself to a happy place while the other person vents. Apply your abilities of “seeking to understand” instead of “seeking to judge.” (…) Accept others for whom and what they are and seek to co-exist in a productive way rather than going toe to toe.”

Deborah Martin, CEO of DM Milan Group, representative of celebrity soccer player Clarence Seedorf, speaking of what it is like for women in male-dominated professions said:

“Challenging. My work in football (soccer) is more about “the business of football” than expert knowledge of it. Despite the successes and contributions I’ve made together with Seedorf in football, some always refer to the fact that I am not a football expert, though many of them are not either, they are just extreme fans. I find that there’s often an attempt to ignore or not adhere to my observations or decisions.”

Advantages for women in male dominated professions

We believe there are certain characteristics that women in male-dominated professions can leverage to their advantage. So over the last two years we also asked interviewees to share these advantages with us. You’d be surprised at some of the answers!

STEM fields offer great competitive opportunities for women. Read what women who have done it have as good advice to us! Photo credit: www.topuniversities

STEM fields offer great competitive opportunities for women
Photo credit: www.topuniversities

Deborah Martin shared:

“My greatest advantage as a woman in the sports industry (as opposed to entertainment, where my clients have included Beyonce, Britney Spears, Cameron Diaz and many, many other A-listers) is my distance from it. I really like and appreciate football, but I am not a die-hard fan. I approach all my deals from the business point of view, so I’m more practical, less idealistic. It has been said that there’s a freshness in my opinions that is much needed for the health of football and the clubs. (…)

“As you can well imagine, initially the men who I must deal with are not expecting “me.” I look like, dress like and behave like what I am – a woman. This seems to come as a big surprise, but is guaranteed to get their attention. The key is that once you’ve got the attention you’d better keep it with innovative thoughts, know-how and excellent contributions.

I do not try to be one of the boys. Why should I want to be what I am not or like everyone else? As a woman who grew up in the South, I command and enjoy the respect that I was raised to expect from men. When I enter or leave a room, they stand, they pull my chair, open doors and give me a bit of preferential treatment as a woman and I gladly accept it.”

 

Ana Beatriz (Bia) FIgueiredo. One of the very few women in male dominated industries such as race car driving

Ana Beatriz (Bia) FIgueiredo. One of the very few women in male dominated industries such as race car driving

Ana Beatriz (Bia) Figueiredo, race car driver and the fastest Latina on the planet, shared this when we asked her what were her advantages as a woman in one of the most male-dominated industries there is: car racing!

“A friend once told me something that I feel really applies to my career:  ‘You are running in a straight line between Fantastic and Ridiculous. If you do well, it’s fantastic, but if you fail it’s ridiculous.’ By reaching a top series like IndyCar and becoming the first Brazilian woman to do such a thing, I have some media and sponsorship advantages. By the same note, I tend to get more recognition by being one of the only females in the field.

“Becoming a ‘feminine’ female driver helped me get more attention from the media, sponsors and new opportunities that are targeting women.  This has positioned me to gain interest from cosmetic companies which do not traditionally enter the racing industry.  Being a woman driver has even helped me acquire Ipiranga as a my main sponsor, given that my gender helps their brand reach women and kids—something difficult for a Gasoline brand that has traditionally targeted men.

“Yet, inside the track gender is irrelevant, and I don’t feel any different from a male driver. We are all aggressive and share the same goal of winning the race. However, outside of the track I have leveraged my femininity to overcome bad situations using traditional women skills of tact and diplomacy while maintaining a firm versus aggressive stand.”

Should you enter or try to advance in male-dominated industries? Engineering and related professions are still male-dominated

Engineering and related professions are still male-dominated
Photo Credit: www.topuniversities.com

Should you enter or try to advance in male-dominated industries?

The answer is yes, of course. There are amazing, untapped opportunities for women who enter these fields. But here are a few caveats you may want to remember: Be aware of what you’re getting into and have a plan and a strategy. Expect some level of pushback and some rough times. Use your femininity to your benefit; use it to stand out in a relevant, positive and powerful way. Identify early on who’s got your back and build alliances. Make the men on your team look good; let them know they can count on you. Let them know you’ve got their backs too.

It’s past time for us to see more women in male-dominated professions, so we are here to support you. Leave us your comment, story, or question so we can help you conquer that next stage of your career.