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10 Timeless Tips From Women At The Top

This week, The New York Times published a "corner office" interview with four successful female executives. What follows is just a sampling of their wisdom.
  • Dress with intent. "Presentation matters."
  • Make your boundaries clear. "There is a line that people need to understand."
  • Give yourself a break. "You're expected to be everything to everybody....and all the while, you’re not given support."
- Dara Richardson-Heron, Chief Executive of the Y.W.C.A. USA
  • Be articulate about your accomplishments. "Humility is a really good trait, but I also think that owning who you are and owning it big are important.”
  • Talk positive, not negative. "What I realized with a group of men is that they always stated things very positively....a sort of we-can-do-this attitude."
- Sharon Napier, Chief Executive, Partners + Napier
  • Focusing on gender is largely a waste of time. "Let’s stipulate that women are apples and men are pears. You still have to find a way to succeed in the world."
  • The higher you go, the more vicious the competition. "The air is thin at the top....People will use whatever tools they have to try to prevail over you."
  • Focus on your abilities not just your credentials. "Women are much less likely to view themselves, and to be viewed by others, as being capable of a stretch job." (This point was echoed by Jenny Ming, Chief Executive, Charlotte Russe.)
- Jody Greenstone Miller, Chief Executive, the Business Talent Group
  • Women's ability to make business decisions is often underestimated. "I think most people underestimate that women can do that....I actually find a lot of men have a hard time making tough decisions. They’ll say to someone else, 'You do it.'"
  • Success in a meeting does not necessarily mean talking. "You have to balance listening and speaking." (Dara Richardson-Heron made a similar point, that your value as a speaker comes from your track record of accomplishment.)
- Jenny Ming, Chief Executive, Charlotte Russe
Dannielle Blumenthal is a seasoned communications professional with nearly two decades of progressive, varied experience in the public sector, private sector, and academia as well as her own independent, freelance sole proprietorship. This blog is written in her personal capacity and does not reflect the views of her employer or the U.S. government as a whole. Photo credit: Wendy Longo via Flickr

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