By María Fernanda Manzano
“Executive Presence: Overcoming the stigma that women don’t have it” was one of the most popular topics of the evening attended by women from a wide range of professional levels.
These are some of the highlights of what was discussed.
Can you define Executive Presence?
Lissa Bourjolly – People who take initiative and have the self-esteem needed to speak up. A leader generates ideas.
Is there an executive presence stigma for women?
Kimberly Silvera – Sometimes women take a lot of time to speak up and to make a decision, and when they do decide, it’s too late.
How can you overcome the stigma that women don’t have executive presence?
Ruth Gaviria – Perception is reality. Be self-aware of what you contribute and don’t see men as enemies, instead; enroll them to help & mentor you. It’s important for women to ask for feedback and guidance when setting goals.
Jenny Chimbo – You need to be a go-getter. Building a board of directors, (a group of people who can help you) will take you very far. At times women tend to have problems asking for help and question themselves as to who to reach out to.
Ruth Gaviria – Initiate a conversation as to what you can do for the other person. You want to introduce yourself as an asset and offer your services rather than introducing yourself as wanting someone’s help only, whether it is a job, internship, networking event, etc.
Lily Benjamin – It all starts within, recognizing that we’re different than men, developing self confidence.
Alina Flores- Exposure, public speaking, answering questions at a high level will make women overcome the stigma.
Susan Landon- How you view yourself is how others will perceive you.
What qualities do women with executive presence have?
• No fear to speak up
• High self-esteem
• Decision making abilities
• They take initiative
Steps of how to reach an executive position
• Be professional, confident
• Learn about the company’s culture
• Be self aware
• What are your priorities & your goals (Where do you want to go)
• Learn the language
• Have a board of directors, mentors, sponsors
• Enroll others
Additional conclusions on the executive presence stigma:
Keep in mind that perception is reality therefore perception is key.
• What others think of you
• What you think of yourself
• Changing your “bad” qualities to “good” ones
• Aggressive vs. Assertive