April 14, 2024

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Career Advancement Strategies From A Woman CEO

CEO of Total Nutrition Technology, Lourdes McAgy is an industry leader in consumer goods for both multi-million corps & small businesses.

With women in the workforce making up 47% in the U.S. and outnumbering men in college-educated jobs, gender equality remains a hot topic in business, encouraging more women to pursue higher-paying positions. The best advances as a woman in business means implementing essential factors in personal development.

The Bureau of Labor states that women will be slightly less than half of the labor force through 2032. Doors are opening for career opportunities for women in fields once dominated by men, like transportation, warehousing and construction. The glass ceiling still hasn’t cracked entirely, but it’s significantly pushing the corporate ladder to a breakthrough.

As the leader of a proud woman-owned business, I’m focused on elevating women’s opportunities at my company while mentoring others up the chain. A determination to excel coupled with skill, experience and know-how is critical to standing out in a competitive time.

We celebrate Women’s History Month in March, so it’s a great time to explore four career advancement strategies to help pivot women into more roles where they can use their talents to excel.

Seek out mentors and role models.

Finding a mentor for women starting their careers and those who feel a certain level of stagnation should be a priority. We often need to get out of our heads and look to role models in similar industries or, better yet, in diverse fields to expand our outlooks. Their passion can be contagious and influence us more than many other methods for career development.

Women can find mentors by looking in their community, joining local organizations and reaching out on online platforms like LinkedIn to find leaders. For instance, I started a mentorship program at my alma mater, the University of Central Florida, to support mentorship within the University’s women’s organizations.

Fostering a relationship with a mentor is one of the best things women can do for their career goals. The feedback they receive can be priceless and can go a long way in improving their skill set and confidence, knowing they have someone to advise and encourage as needed.

Invest in professional development.

If your present employer has professional development opportunities, then by all means, take advantage of this useful means to better yourself in your career (and an excellent tool for employee retention). If not, it’s an investment you must make alone if your purpose is career advancement.

The payback is measurable by the time and effort you put into your improvement. Whether that’s continuing education, being active in a professional organization or participating in skilled-based training like project management, you never lose by expanding your horizons and meeting new people. A great place for women to start is by looking at local colleges and universities and researching what they have to offer for working professionals.

Take on leadership roles.

Displaying a desire for leadership roles and making your goals known to your employer is important for your satisfaction and the overall success of your organization. Volunteer to oversee a project, for instance, and/or solve a problem plaguing your workforce, like taking it upon yourself to write software for better workflow or automating a time-consuming task. Taking the initiative can have tremendous benefits.

Along the way, asking yourself why you want to take on a leadership role is essential. This can help determine your approach and help you brainstorm avenues available to make this happen. It also uncovers the type of leader a woman wants to be, alerts them to any bias they might unconsciously have and gives them a perspective for achieving their goal. Remember that an ability to listen, be empathetic and be inclusive is needed in today’s corporate world (and always).

By taking on leadership roles, women will be able to create a network that is vital to their advancement.

Know yourself.

My motto is “Know what you know and know what you don’t know. You can then grow from there.” If you asked your colleagues about how they see you in the workplace, what would they say? Are your strengths and values apparent to yourself and others?

These are big questions that often take a bit of reflection and thought. Much has been discussed recently on introvert and extrovert leadership and what that looks like (both can be successful). Knowing your personality type can influence how you approach job performance and leadership opportunities. Building communication skills is imperative if you are in the office or working from home, regardless of your personality type.

Like promoting any product or service, selling yourself means understanding what your moral compass is and what strengths you bring to the table. A diverse workforce is made up of people with different skills and personalities. Be sure to position yourself as able to conquer many tasks while staying true to who you are as a leader.

Bottom Line

Implementing these four strategies for career advancements is a great starting point for women to become an even bigger force in the business world. Set goals, learn from others and be a mentor to the next generation yourself.

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