America's Business Leaders Advise NextGen Women: Valerie Jarrett, Google, MasterCard, Goldman Sachs, J&J, Bridgewater, Chief, More
By: Girls With Impact
The campaign is part of Girls With Impact's efforts to equip the next generation with the skills, tools and confidence to become tomorrow's business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators. The organization is on a mission to train 1 million over the next decade – and asking business leaders and philanthropists to back the effort.
"Corporate America - and especially the women who work there -- have a wealth of advice that could help every young woman succeed personally, professionally and economically,"
"With this campaign, we've asked top leaders the one piece of advice they'd pass on, saving women years of trial and error and helping to speed-up our collective economic success."
Openshaw pointed to the realities for women in leadership including that just 8.1% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women (2 are Black and zero are Latina) and just 2% of the $150 Billion in venture capital awarded in 2020 went to female founders (Pitchbook). Confidence continues to be one big barrier with girls facing a 30% drop during their early teens.
Among key advice shared:
Valerie Jarrett, Board member of Lyft and Ralph Lauren and Board Chair of Civic Nation said that "the thing she wished she had known was the adventure that comes with the swerve." She points out that "so many young people are afraid to take risks…" but "that's not the way life works."
Stephanie Cohen, Global Co-Head, Consumer & Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs, tells women "to celebrate progress over perfection."
Kelly Joscelyne, Chief Talent Officer at MasterCard, says that her one piece of advice "actually entails three important people that I wish I had assembled early on." This "board of directors" should be made up of a coach, a mentor and a sponsor – all of which play different roles.
Kunal Kapoor, CEO of Morningstar, recalls the advice he tells his daughter daily: "To always bring your whole self to everything you're pursuing and to not feel like you can't represent yourself fully. We're all unique."
Arielle Patrick, Chief Communications Officer at Ariel Investments, said the best piece of advice she got from a mentor early on "is that having a plan is a good idea, but it only takes you so far. Remaining nimble, flexible and open is actually the key to success."
Stephanie Redish Hofmann, Managing Director for Google, says that young women need to understand the type of feedback they get – to "distinguish between stylistic feedback and substantive feedback. Stylistic feedback can really be a trap if you're not distinguishing that for something more substantive, like a skill you need to develop."
For women coming into the tech (or any) industry, "Understand and learn to speak the language of your industry. I'm not talking about code but what does the organization value? What type of language do they use to discuss where impact lies in the organization?"
Jennifer Openshaw, CEO, Girls With Impact, said the key is to "know yourself." Young women need to "really know their strengths and weaknesses so they can position themselves for success and move up the career path faster. But that isn't easy."
Andy Serwer, Editor-in-Chief for Yahoo Finance, says his one big piece of advice is "to be assertive." He adds: "That means speaking up at meetings, coming up to your boss after a meeting with ideas and being entrepreneurial."
Melody Rollins, Client Advisor at hedge fund manager Bridgewater Associates, would tell her younger self to "cultivate broad networks, not just deep networks." She shares her own experience of finally learning different aspects of the finance industry and the roles she could hold. "It took me a long time to learn this because I had this very narrow network."
Valerie Rockefeller, Board Chair, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, said "The one thing I wish I knew when I was younger is that you can handle change." She recalls the time she moved and felt challenged academically and "withdrew into myself."
Wendy Zhang, Marketing Transformation Leader at Pepsi, says that to be successful in marketing or any industry is "to be good at storytelling."
Luani Alvarado, Worldwide HR, Johnson & Johnson, tells women to "Dream big, work hard, and enjoy the process. She explains that "there's never an ideal time for anything so be open."
Jana Shea, Board Member of Women Moving Millions and an entrepreneur, says "never start a business without good legal advice", especially if you're going into business with someone. The last thing you want: the same attorney representing both sides.
Gretchen Carlson, Journalist and co-founder of Lift Our Voices, harkens back to something many women were told early on: "You have to always sit in the front row and raise your hand. I know your heart might be beating… but when you take that risk and you raise your hand and are right there to be seen and you accomplish it, you can take on the big step, the next risk."
Also joining in the campaign were leaders from XPO, Eversource Energy, Docebo, Heidrick & Struggles, and Brighthouse Financial.
Girls With Impact is calling on all business leaders and philanthropists to join the effort in training the next generation of women leaders.
About Girls With Impact
Girls With Impact, a national non-profit, is the nation's only live online entrepreneurship program for teen girls, offered after-school, year-round. The 10-week "mini-MBA" moves girls from ideation to a business plan and fundraising pitch, driving improvements in confidence, leadership, college readiness and professional skills for success.