Female leaders at Carnegie Learning share perspectives and advice for Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month is a time for reflection and celebration—and passing on tips from women in leadership to future women in leadership.
It’s important to listen to women’s stories of resilience, as we support future generations of female leaders. With this in mind, Women’s History Month is the perfect opportunity to amplify the rich perspectives of women in leadership!
The following ladies in leadership at Carnegie Learning shared their experiences with overcoming challenges in their careers. Check out these eight tips for female leaders in any industry to advance their careers.
1. Remember your worth and motivation
Tarin Barrow, Director of Professional Learning, shared her personal history with adversity and belonging.
“One of the recurring challenges I face is proving I belong in a space. I am asked, ‘Why are you here?’ I have to prove my value every time I interact with someone new. I have to remind myself of my worth constantly.”
What’s her advice for female leaders to remember their worth?
“Consider why you want to lead if you aspire to become a leader. Do you want to lead because you want to be in charge, or do you want to lead because you want to make a difference?”
2. Be a part of the solution
Vice President of Design and UX Lesley Chard has noticed a lack of representation in the industry and has taken a solutions-based approach to her work as a result.
“When it comes to staying positive when the odds seem stacked against you, I believe in the power of being a part of the solution,” she explains. “Ever since entering the industry, I have been volunteering with causes that promote more diversity in the technology sector and have taken every opportunity to be an advocate for those who are underrepresented in the field. From teaching digital skills classes, public speaking, and most recently starting my own local non-profit, it has kept me motivated during some of the darkest moments in my career.”
Digital Waves, Lesley’s grassroots non-profit, is dedicated to closing the gender gap in tech by supporting women and gender-diverse youth. The organization helps underrepresented youth develop new skills and break barriers to entering the tech industry.
3. Set ambitious goals
For Vice President of Product (CL Next) Jamie Sterling, balancing motherhood with work was a constant challenge.
“I was a young mom and have had to balance a relatively high-stress career with young children for most of my 20s and 30s. I can’t say that it has been easy, so that has certainly been one of my biggest challenges for the past two decades,” she recounts.
Despite this obstacle, Jamie has held herself to high standards and met many ambitious goals.
“I decided I wanted to be a vice president by age 30 and I didn’t actually think it was possible, but I worked towards that goal, and was very excited when I actually achieved that goal in my own timeline, which I don’t think I would have if I hadn’t set it a decade earlier!” Jamie shares. “Women often have a higher number of life goals than men, but they don’t typically set goals related to attaining higher-level positions. There are a lot of reasons for this, including the challenge of balancing a family with a high-stress role, but I still think it’s critical that we set goals for ourselves that seem lofty.”
4. Be as versatile as water
According to Ilia Molina, Executive Director of Product Management (Math K-12), expectations for women serve as a challenge.
She cites how women must constantly adapt in order to thrive in the workplace: “Women must be like water. They need to form into a solid when needed to provide stability and strength but must also transform into a liquid to embrace, surround, and float those around us.”
She continues, “The ultimate goal is to become like vapor, embodying one's unique traits and encompassing all those who come into contact with her.”
Acting like vapor in this way has allowed Ilia to overcome expectations, showing strength and resiliency while maintaining flexibility in her work.
5. Believe and take action
Eden Bloss, Vice President of Communications, emphasizes having confidence and working hard.
“Aspiring leaders, believe in yourself and your abilities. Do not let anything hold you back. Hard work and luck are great partners.”
Eden also shares some concrete tips.
“Find mentors, take leadership courses, ask for new assignments, and seek out opportunities to show your talent,” she advises. “Most importantly, make time for you every day. I wake up at the crack of dawn to run and meditate. Set your intention to beat yesterday. And remember kindness gets you far.”
6. Give your all
Chief Services Officer Kasey Bratcher encourages future leaders to do their best.
“Give your ALL every day in the job you already have! The best way to build trust with those around you is to show them you’re willing to put in the effort required to excel at the work already in your care,” she suggests. “Take pride in the details. Meet deadlines. Solicit feedback and get better. Why? Because the work you’re doing now is always an active interview for the job you’ll have later.”
Kasey asserts that leadership can be attainable for anyone with the right mindset.
“Leadership isn’t awarded with the acclimation of a title or position,” she explains. “Leadership is earned by trust and influence.”
7. Be a builder
JiLL Swissa, Vice President of Service Operations, stresses the importance of being constructive as a woman in the workplace.
“Be a fierce builder in whatever role you are in. Build others up instead of tearing them down. Build collaborative relationships instead of trying to do it all on your own. And build solutions instead of blaming others.”
8. Stay true to yourself
Lastly, here’s advice for fellow women leaders from Courtney Lewis, Vice President of Tutoring Services.
“Stay true to yourself. You are enough! Seek opportunities that motivate you and feed your passions while also finding ways to empower others to reach their career and personal goals.”
These eight leaders are just a few of the accomplished women guiding our work at Carnegie Learning—which we’re proud to share has a 73% female workforce, with women taking on 80 out of 134 total leadership roles. Cheers to all the women who inspire us every day!
Danielle Donnelly is an Associate Communications Manager with Carnegie Learning. With a well-rounded background in marketing, she has a passion for education, innovation, and lifelong learning. Her work is motivated by her aspiration to empower students and teachers across the globe.Explore more related to this author