Four Pieces of Advice from MBA@UNC Women’s Leadership Forum

MBA@UNC hosted its first Women’s Leadership Forum in December 2015. During the forum, students, faculty and industry leaders discussed how women could best navigate the corporate world of business. The following are four quotes from the forum’s featured speakers who articulated universal truths of being women in the workplace.

“At the end of the day, you can’t do it all yourself,” Tracey Weber, president of Gilt

Weber kicked off the all-day event by delivering a keynote address, during which she vocalized the challenges faced by women in business. According to Weber, having a dependable support system, staying organized, and growing from self-criticism are all hurdles women face in the workplace. To overcome these challenges, Weber suggests finding the best people you can surround yourself with from diverse backgrounds to build a strong, formidable team.

“Make sure you’re solving a pain in the marketplace that actually exists,” Allison Hughes, co-founder and vice president of operations of Emerio Group

During the Entrepreneurs Corner panel discussion, Hughes told attendees to do their research before launching a business. Addressing a problem that needs answers is a reliable, catalyzing way to enter the market. “Have a passion to drive you to success,” she added, so that you can channel enthusiasm into your work.

“People hire people. Cultivate relationships so that you can interview before a job is even available,” Lebbonee Kittredge, associate director of business partnerships at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

This was Kittredge’s advice for anyone trying to work for a Fortune 500 company. While resumes provide a brief overview of your work experience, networking leads to personal connections. People aren’t going to hire a resume. People hire people. Kittredge also emphasized the importance of leveraging yourself through the power of your network. Connections count, but you have to create them.

“Understand your points of leverage and ask for what you want,” Lindsay Chason Tillie, director of merchandising at The Home Depot

When negotiating salaries, it is critical to know your worth and to ask for what you want. You will most likely never get the salary you believe you deserve unless you fight for it. “Harness the power of your network,” Chason Tillie said. “Don’t be afraid to shine.” With the wage gap still in existence in 2016, negotiating a salary is an unspoken part of any job description.

Each speaker had her own unique perspective, but each woman agreed on one overarching sentiment: Women must do a better job of making decisions that help women help each other. By taking genuine, deliberate steps toward success, women can make each other proud to be women.