Women in Leadership: Champions and Mentors for the Next Generation

Women in Leadership: Champions and Mentors for the Next Generation

Read Time: 6 Minutes

Women’s History Month means celebrating the accomplishments of women and the roles they play in our society. GLG is proud of the diverse voices across our Network Membership, which includes women who have broken barriers from the C-suite to the tractor seat. We honor their contributions to the business world in our day-to-day operations, and today we’d like to honor their work driving change in their industries and championing women in the workplace.

Hear directly from them about the progress they’ve seen and how to build on that momentum, including providing executive mentorship through GLG Institute.

Annalisa Jenkins

GLG Institute Advisor and Board Member at FasterCures, a Center of the Milken Institute and Former CEO, Dimension Therapeutics

What advice would you give to women just beginning in your industry?

“For those that so much has been given, much is expected in return”—this is the guiding light that I have endeavored to follow during my career, specifically to be a role model to the new generation of women who aspire to be leaders in our industry.

It is critical that young women across geopolitical boundaries are inspired and energized by women who have broken down barriers, cracked the glass ceilings, and made a difference.

The greatest contribution that I can make today is to mentor, sponsor, inspire, and energize the new generation because the discoveries of the future rest upon their shoulders. And the translation of ideas into products that will impact human health and happiness across the globe lies in the hands of those who do not yet understand the remarkable journey that lies ahead of them.

Pamela Stoyanoff, MBA, CPA, FACHE

GLG Network Member and President — COO of Methodist Health System

How can others in your industry champion women on their journey to becoming “experts” in your field? 

There are several ways:

  • Offer to serve as a mentor to women who are “up and coming” to share your knowledge, stories, experiences, advice, and counsel.
  • Speak at events where you can help women hear from you directly, ask questions, collectively learn, and grow.
  • And be open to hiring women! Oftentimes, women are our own worst critics. We need to change that and give each other a chance.

Why should experts in your industry help mentor other women in your field? 

Once you have reached a point in your career where you have personally “broken the glass ceiling,” I believe it is your responsibility to give back and help others as they move forward on their own journey. We need to take the time to pass down what we have learned, help others avoid the mistakes we’ve made, and challenge new women leaders to be assertive.

What advice would you give to women just beginning in your industry?

Find someone who can be your mentor, who will give you candid advice and support. Also, network. Join industry groups, attend events, meet folks. Be involved, be assertive, let your boss know you want to grow. Accept new assignments, don’t complain, work hard.

Samantha Jones

GLG Network Member and CEO of nu-in.com, former Global Design Executive at Pepkor, and former International Head of Design at C&A

How can others in your industry champion women on their journey to becoming “experts” in your field?

Mentoring should be part of the KPIs of all corporate leadership objectives.

Why should experts in your industry help mentor other women in your field?

Mentoring isn’t promoted enough, especially in the retail space. Nothing is suddenly created in retail or trading. It’s an evolution. For example, the online marketplace is an advancement of the physical market stall selling and trading. This is a skill learned by following others’ examples. A great mentor listens, shows humility, and is open to guidance and live examples so they can adapt their knowledge to be relevant to the current market.

Dara Richardson-Heron, MD

GLG Institute Advisor and former Chief Patient Officer at Pfizer and former Chief Engagement Officer and Scientific Executive — All of Us Research Program at National Institutes of Health, and Former CEO at YWCA USA

How can others in your industry champion women on their journey to becoming “experts” in your field?

  1. Create and execute fair and equitable, transparent, recruiting, hiring, compensation, and promotion practices from the outset. It is very important to have diverse individuals involved at every stage of the design, development, and implementation process.
  2. Hire and/or promote the many highly educated, highly qualified diverse women who are already excelling in their current roles.
  3. Make sure that roles, responsibilities, and key performance indicators are clearly defined and attainable.
  4. Provide the human and financial capital needed for execution and delivery.
  5. Enlighten, empower, and inspire women through mentorship, sponsorship, educational, career development, and advancement opportunities.
  6. Treat women with the respect and dignity they have earned and deserve.
  7. Advocate, block, and tackle for women when leaders and colleagues treat them inequitably or unethically.
  8. Celebrate their success and achievements, and watch them soar!

Why should experts in your industry help mentor other women in your field?

Among many other invaluable benefits, mentors encourage personal and professional growth; provide field-specific insights and knowledge to those new to the field; help mentees set realistic, measurable, and impactful personal and professional goals; maintain accountability for the goals set; help those new to the field to build their professional network; and, very importantly, offer encouragement and support along the way.

In an ideal mentoring relationship, the mentee should feel that her mentor is a trusted ally with whom to discuss both challenges and opportunities without fear of judgment or reprisal. This trusted relationship creates a safe space where honest feedback and constructive feedback can be shared bi-directionally.

Throughout my life and career, I have had the honor and good fortune of partnering with, watching, and learning from many mentors, some of whom were in my field and some of whom were not, and I have learned a great deal from each of them.

For me, it has always been a mentor’s actions rather than their words that have had the most influence on me as a leader. That’s why, in my current role as a leader and executive mentor, I always do my best to make sure that my actions match my words. For me, that authenticity is vitally important.

What advice would you give to women just beginning in your industry?

Be open to nontraditional career opportunities and experiences. As someone who has done it, I encourage everyone to consider taking at least one “stretch role” — a role outside of your comfort zone or chosen area of focus, a role that allows you to see and explore issues from many different perspectives. During a women’s conference I recently attended, when asked about their career paths, the outstanding female executive panelists summed it up very nicely, saying that their career paths were more like a “career jungle gym” versus a career path or ladder — by design. Each of them had a winding path, and none of them had any regrets.

Over the years, I’ve come to see my career as a prism, one that changes depending on how the light hits it. And so it is with any field. Certainly, my nontraditional career “jungle gym” as a physician has been extremely rewarding and impactful, and I am still at it today, pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities where I can add value.

And here’s the good news: As one of the very few bright lights from the pandemic, the diverse opportunities for career growth and advancement have never been greater, so don’t be afraid to go out and explore.

Tiffany Olson

GLG Network Member and former President, Nuclear and Precision Health Solutions at Cardinal Health and former Head of Diagnostics at Eli LIlly

How can others in your industry champion women on their journey to becoming “experts” in your field?

Championing women to become experts starts with your first job. I remember my first job selling pharmaceuticals. I had a boss who believed in me. He told me,”You got something, kid“ (I really was a kid then), and he told me, “Just keep working and asking questions.” That kept me going for a long time. When I became president of a healthcare company, it was important for me to give back. I championed women by giving them projects that would stretch their knowledge and skill set and always keeping my door open for questions.

Why should experts in your industry help mentor other women in your field?

Mentoring is about growing in a safe environment. A mentor will give you honest, sometimes even tough feedback, but always has your back. This all becomes part of your development and growth. The importance of mentoring women in my field is endless because there are not a lot of women there yet. I see my role now as one to encourage women to take chances, own their strengths and not be afraid of making mistakes.

What advice would you give for women just beginning in your industry?

I had a mentor early on who asked me, “Who else will carry your torch?” Meaning, who will tell your story, who will continue to help you to lead, who will mention your name in a room for career opportunities and advocate on your behalf? If you’re just beginning, find out if your company has a formal mentoring program and enroll.  If no formal program exists, don’t worry, you can create your own program.  Here’s how to do it. Find someone you admire and ask them for coffee. People love to be asked for their advice or recommendations, take advantage of this.  Then keep the relationship going. You’ll be surprised at the opportunities that will come your way.

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