The 2015 AWESOME Symposium featured special sessions to facilitate interaction between senior level leaders and emerging leaders. The emerging leaders who attended, as a result of being recommended by a senior leader, first took part in a collaborative conversation with a panel of senior executives. Later, a panel of emerging leaders spoke to the Symposium audience at large.
The senior leader panel stressed that as an individual advances, she needs to take ownership of her own career and build the skills she’ll need for the leadership roles she wants to assume in the future. One panelist quoted noted hockey star Reggie Leach who said, “Success is not a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”
They encouraged women to have a plan and talk about that plan with supervisors and others who can help open opportunities to move toward specific goals. Along the way, leaders may need to consider lateral moves that build a new skill or develop a new network, so flexibility about a career plan becomes a strength.
Panelists encouraged emerging leaders to develop a personal brand and be an advocate for themselves, especially in larger organizations.
Leaders participating on the panel included Mary Long, VP, Logistics & Network Planning
Domino’s Pizza; Meghan Murray, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers; and Carolyn Woznicki, VP, Global Sourcing, Illinois Tool Works. Moderator was Ginny Clarke, Senior Partner, Executive Search, Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions.
The emerging leader panel spoke about barriers and challenges they have faced and how their companies and others have helped them move forward. They agreed that some barriers are “self-created.”
Pre-conceived notions about women integrating work and family still exist, although the panelists felt they were being given abundant opportunities by their companies. What they need most, they agreed was flexibility – some of it as a result of technology and also relying on an attitude from their superiors that focuses on meeting objectives and being productive rather than adhering to a rigid schedule in the office.
Sponsors and mentors also have played a major role in their professional advancement. Having a person they can trust to discuss possible moves or career developments seems to be the main purpose, but they also felt they have had sponsors who have actively sought new ways to expose them to relevant experiences and projects.
Emerging leaders on the panel included Jennifer Nix, Senior Director, DSC Logistics; Donna Palumbo, Senior Manager, Sourcing & Procurement, The Walt Disney Company; Andrea Poulopoulos, Sourcing Manager, Danaher Corporation; and Marinelba Rosado, Director, Value Stream Management, Johnson & Johnson. Ginny Clarke moderated this discussion as well as the earlier collaborative conversation.
Read Words of Wisdom from these sessions