Because women make up just 10-13% of CEOs and presidents, Women Leaders Los Angeles held a career mentoring event for women aspiring to grow their leadership potential. On June 20, these four local executives shared their wisdom and advice:
- Stacy Stubblefield, CoFounder, Telesign
- Julie Eckert, President, International Plastic Cards
- Laurie Porter, CEO, Smog City Brewing
- Elizabeth (Liz) Leung, Marketing Executive, Epson America
The panel was moderated by Emerald Archer, Director, Center for Women’s Advancement, Mount Saint Mary’s University. Ms. Archer brought a rich perspective from her career focused on women leaders. The panelists represented successful corporate executives, entrepreneurs and leaders of family-owned businesses. This event, open to all aspiring career and entrepreneurial women in LA, built on and expanded the work done by the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women (TCPW), which has been leading local events to encourage young women’s careers for more than fifteen years.
As the 40 women leader participants arrived, they entered into structured speed networking. Women leaders who attended came from a great mix of organizations and industries, including AECOM Hunt, Denison Yacht Sales, Anthem, Raytheon, EY, Space X and many more. Four experienced women leaders also engaged as table captains, including Denise Winner of Winner Squared, Karen Henry of Orange County Human Resources, Stella Latscha of SpaceX, and Sophia Tian of New Orange Consulting. Table captains encourage career focused dialog at each speed networking group.
Event sponsors were Vistage Worldwide, PCT Towers, the City of Torrance and the City of El Segundo.
Top Questions in Women’s Leadership
Panel discussion topics focused on some of the most important questions women need to answer as they grow in their careers. The panelists gave their perspectives on these issues:
- How do you define leadership? How does your definition manifest in your leadership style?
- How has your leadership style needed to change over your career?
- Have you benefitted from a mentor or coach? Have you taken on this role for more junior women in your workplace?
- How do you manage work/life balance?
- What advice would you offer to other women who are looking to lead in their workplaces or start a company?
Women Leaders Share Secrets to Success
Each panelist shared incredible and valuable advice for aspiring women leaders. If I’m challenged to share just one secret to success from each woman, these are my picks.
One panelist encourages women to start being leaders from the very start of their careers:
“Even if you don’t have direct reports, you can still be a leader in your peer group. Take a leadership role and volunteer.”
Another advises how to start leading, when you aren’t given a mandate:
“Mobilize people around you and resources to make things happen. Scan the environment, and decide what needs to happen right now and what can you do to make those important things happen. Convey the attitude of ‘I am here to help’ vs. ‘I am here to take over/be in charge.’”
A third panelist emphasizes mentorship and challenging yourself:
“Find someone who can explain the world in ways different than you. My mentor always encouraged me to step over the line, and see things in a different way. When mentoring, do it on a regular basis, ideally daily.”
Another shared a revelation about work/life balance that resonates with many women:
“I have a nine year old. It took me seven years to realize my time was as valuable as my husband’s. Two years ago, I realized I was spending all of my time with my kid and my work. Reflection on how we are as women and mothers. It’s a shared responsibility with our partner in the modern world. This was a stigma I had to get through as a woman.”
Women Leaders Los Angeles offers its next career panel on January 23, 2020, with South Bay women presidents and CEOs. Join the Meetup group for news and updates.