In the last 11 years as a member of the Castle team, I’ve developed in my career in numerous ways. This past year I had a new and exciting opportunity: the chance to amplify that growth through the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Leadership Program. This select educational experience, held in collaboration with Simmons School of Management, convened a group of 119 women for a year-long curriculum developed to enhance our professional and personal success.
Through a series of interactive seminars, discussions and lectures, I engaged with some of the region’s most powerful women and truly got to know other women, who, like me, have been identified by their companies as Boston’s next generation of leaders. This was a profoundly diverse group of women, spanning multiple industries, facing all sorts of challenges (from work/life balance to gender equality) as they climb their personal ladders of success. The program drew to a close in June and I’m left with an enhanced appreciation for women in all of the traditional senses and an added respect for why women are such effective leaders,
While many people claim to have “secrets to success,” the reality is that there is no formula for advancement other than to work hard, embrace your skills—and challenges—and believe in yourself. I found that most of the group shared this drive, along with a number of characteristics that are not learned through experience but inherent to us as women. The Forbes article, “The Most Undervalued Leadership Traits of Women,” exemplifies what I observed of my WLP colleagues. The following summarizes these traits and why they make women such successful leaders.
1. Opportunity Driven: When confronted with challenges, women look for the opportunity within. They see the glass as half full rather than half empty. They push the boundaries and, when faced with adverse circumstances, learn all they can from the situation. Optimism is their mindset because they see opportunity in everything.
2. Strategic: Oftentimes, women see what others don’t. They enjoy stretching their perspective to broaden their observations. Many women are not hesitant to peel back the onion in order to get to the root of the matter. Successful women leaders know how to play the game when they have to—and can anticipate the unexpected.
3. Passionate: Not “emotional,” but passionate in their pursuit of excellence—successful women are not satisfied with the status quo. Many women have learned not to depend upon others for their advancement and may have a tendency to be too independent. A woman’s independent nature is her way of finding her focus and dialing up her pursuits.
4. Entrepreneurial: Many women leaders find excitement and motivation by being creative and resourceful when completing tasks and other duties and responsibilities. They avoid falling too far behind on projects, knowing that doing so will disrupt their focus and momentum. Women like to have control, not necessarily to be in charge, but to maintain the rhythm or momentum they need to accomplish their goals.
5. Purposeful and Meaningful: Many women leaders enjoy inspiring others to achieve. They know what it’s like to be the underdog and work hard not to disappoint themselves and others. Women leaders with a nurturing nature are good listeners and excellent networkers/connecters. They enjoy creating ecosystems and support a collaborative leadership style that melds the thinking and ideas of others.
6. Traditions and Family Oriented: Whether at home or at work, women are often the glue that keeps things together and that is why they represent great leadership for America’s future. They provide the leadership within the home and in the workplace, ensuring that legacies remain strong by being “fed” the right nutrients and ingredients.
Here at Castle, we are celebrating our 20th Anniversary—an exciting milestone and monument to the passion/hard work of two incredible women. Their achievements are inspirational and I believe it is their ability to embrace these (undervalued) traits that makes Castle unique. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to participate in the WLP, both for the overall experience and the reminder to help inspire the next generation of leaders to push the boundaries to achieve their goals—and to not be afraid to Amplify the traits that make us women.