I was asked by a brilliant marketing guru to write an article advising young aspiring female CEO’s and future business leaders. “After all,” he said, "being a female business executive is a tough grind with extra roadblocks to get past to build your reputation in this space."
I thought long and hard about this. I asked myself, "Isn't it different today?"
I started out decades ago in business stuffed into a little grey flannel suit with a blouse with a giant bow on it, denying my feelings and intuition on my mentors' commands. Always it seemed I was the only woman at the board room table. It was tough.
But isn't being a female running a growing business less difficult now? I see more young women in business in all fields. As I have the advantages of both age and business success; what can I tell my younger peers about my personal journey (or those I have observed) that would be genuinely helpful?
One thing I can say is that I know my own largest barrier is within myself, not in the environments that I work within. Almost every woman I know carries two selves into business, her "persona" that she shares with others (this takes extra effort to hold up), then her "true self" that typically has more emotions, intuition, is more imaginative and day-dreamy. Let's be honest in my case; is more tearful and dramatic. Can these two selves come together to work seamlessly in a successful business? Absolutely they can!
One gift I give to other businesswomen, whenever I can, is to share my true self, complete with insecurities and foibles. The implicit message is, "If the very imperfect me can do this, then so can you!" I have learned that young women who want to captain growing companies, need to develop safe spaces through mentorship relationships with successful people who are home-run hitters themselves. A space where they can share honestly, feel supported to work through their true feelings, intuitions and game plans. Through the extra confidence gained by these mentorships, there are no barriers to great success.
About the Author – Coralie J Banks
Coralie J Banks FCMC is a serial entrepreneur, and the CEO Global of Braum Consulting. Braum Consulting focuses on strategy and strategic initiative execution for growing companies that want funding and to increase their sales.
A version of this post was first published here.