Taking on the Myth of Having it All
Earlier this month, students had the opportunity to dialogue with female executives on their experiences around managing a personal life while growing a professional career through a forum called “The Myth of ‘Having it All’: Lessons in Power, Influence and leadership,” sponsored by Dynamic Weatherhead Women in Business (DWWB).
The forum began with a panel discussion led and moderated by our own Diana Bilimoria, PhD, KeyBank Professor and professor of organizational behavior. The executive guests included Alyson Fieldman, portfolio manager at One North Interactive; Kathleen Buse, adjunct professor and management consultant here at CWRU; Diane Downing, senior vice president and director of corporate affairs at Huntington Bank; and Melonie Vanderhoof, an entrepreneur and the owner of Great Lakes Finishes, LLC.
What follows is an excerpt from the conversation.
Bilimoria: How can you develop leadership skills?
Buse responded excitedly, “Come to Weatherhead!” and continued, “Ask people to do things outside of their comfort zone. They will either succeed or it creates a learning experience that everyone can grow from.” Fieldman said, “Find the areas in your life that are critically important and allocate your time. Don’t guilt yourself on the choices you make with your time.” Vanderhoof added, “Ask for help, don’t make promises you can’t keep, be realistic about what you can really do.”
Bilimoria: What’s your take on leadership lessons and how to prepare for it?
Fieldman offered the advice, “Model the type of actions you want.” Buse responded, “I see it as coaching opportunities. Be ready to take responsibility.” She went on to say, “Everyone needs something different from a leader, and if you figure out what your employees need, it can take you and your company a long way.”
Bilimoria: How do you choose a mentor or sponsor?
Vanderhoof explained that she looks for “a mentor who calls me out and helps me keep my priorities in order.” She elaborated, touching on priorities and personal development. “You can start out wanting to make everyone happy, but you will disappoint yourself and others, so let go. Ask for help! Find what you love and do it, be confident, and believe in yourself.”
DWWB provides career and social development opportunities for all students at CWRU. If you are interested in being involved, please contact Co-president Laurajeanne Cerniglia.
Their next event will be with the Weatherhead Wine Society, where DWWB will take a closer look at the role of female professionals in the food and beverage industry. A 90-minute session will be held December 3 at Taste Restaurant and Lounge, led by principal owner Raj Singh.