Secrets of success for women in careers

November 3, 2008 11:23:19 AM PST
During this tight and competitive economy, you may find yourself asking - 'What skills or experiences do I need to build for career advancement?' Some say it's a more challenging work-world for women, but that's changing as newer generations' mindsets change and as companies become more forward-thinking. An executive coach and a successful Silicon Valley business woman talked with ABC7 about developing one's career and moving up.

Moving up in your career -- it can be challenging for most, but even more so for women, even in the 21st century.

"About half of all managers in business are women, but only about 2.5-percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women," said Francine Gordon, Ph.D., exec. coach and consultant, Gordon Group.

And those 12 female CEO's of today's Fortune 500 companies likely share similar secrets to success.

"You'll find most of these women do have mentors somewhere along the line -- one or many mentors that they have sought out and used. They've built networks. They've worked extremely hard," said Gordon.

Francine Gordon is a Silicon Valley based executive coach and consultant who helps companies across the country advance the careers of their female employees. Gordon says many of these forward-thinking companies are concerned about a lack of talent in the future.

"With the baby boomers getting ready to retire, although now with the economy it may slow down - a lot of organizations are going to lose a lot of talented people, and the only way they're going to fill those gaps are going to be using all the talent that's out there," said Gordon.

Talent on the rise - like Sheryl Chamberlain, a director of technology alliances at EMC -- a company which stores and manages information assets for global corporations. Chamberlain views being a woman not as a struggle, but as an asset in business.

"There's a lot of things that I can bring to the table in a group of men that provides collaboration and leadership, and leadership in such a way that they still feel comfortable about their position and what they're doing," said Sheryl Chamberlain, EMC Director.

As a consultant, Gordon finds some common trends holding women back, regardless of their field of work.

"Reluctance to self-promote, reluctance to ask for what they need, or to negotiate salary," said Gordon.

"I always know that my ability to ask questions and learn from somebody else will allow me to move forward," said Chamberlain.


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