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CultureNov 18, 2021

Credera Women’s Network Presents the 2021 Executive Women’s Leadership Panel

Allie Buckmaster

The Credera Women’s Network (CWN) hosted our annual Executive Women’s Leadership Panel on October 21. The event was an opportunity to learn from external leaders as they shared their expertise, insights, and perspectives on how women can hone their leadership skills, regardless of tenure. It’s the latest effort by CWN to share resources and opportunities along the theme of “Building Your Leadership Toolkit.” CWN exists to build and promote a community within Credera focused on recruiting, educating, developing, supporting, and connecting the women of Credera.

We had one primary goal for the event: Teach our Credera audience (men and women) something new about leadership, whether it was an “aha moment,” a new book or resource to utilize, or a new way of thinking about leadership. Subsequently, we also asked attendees to share what they learned with someone in their network. 

The panelists came from diverse backgrounds, but all had one thing in common: They had been leading for quite some time and had wisdom to share.

Panelists:

  • Rashim Mogha – General Manager, Leadership and Business Solutions, Skillsoft

  • Devin O'Loughlin – Global Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and Communications Officer, RAPP Worldwide

  • Jeni Golomb – Vice President Product and Marketing Strategy, Sodexo

  • Sherin Nicole – Chief Creative Officer/Chief Marketing Officer, Idobi Network

Moderator:

We’ve documented some of the conversation below:

What is your leadership style and how have you built it over the years? 

"I encourage people to bring their ethos to work." – Rashim Mogha

Our panelists have spent years working toward a leadership style that works for them, but they all agreed that empathy is a great place to start. Jeni specifically made a point to treat her team members as people first and remind them that bringing their whole selves to work shouldn’t just be tolerated, but celebrated! 

Alongside empathizing with your team, empowering them is just as important. Devin said, “Encourage them to find passion in what they do and translate it into something that can better the business.” This is critical to finding success as a team because people are more likely to commit and excel when they are passionate about or have ownership over something. 

Finally, don’t be afraid to continue to communicate your leadership style with others. If others are aware of what you want to be known for and how you are most successful, it will likely lead to greater team success. Similarly, don’t let anyone else define your leadership style for you. If you are misunderstood (i.e., referred to as bossy vs. assertive), make it a point to kindly yet boldly correct them. 

What advice would you give to young women building their leadership style? 

"I thought I have to do this on my own, but my job as a leader is to lead the conversation and let everyone contribute." – Jeni Golomb

Navigating new leadership requires collaboration and confidence while also understanding that mistakes and failures are part of the process. 

A team that collaborates will always lead to greater success than a leader who works in a silo because diverse thought and broader perspectives allow you to think about a situation from all angles and pressure test your recommendations. Similarly, it’s vital to build a team that complements each other and fills in the gaps rather than surrounding yourself with people similar to you. 

Having the confidence to say yes to new opportunities—even if you don’t feel ready—will ensure you are consistently growing and learning. This may come as a surprise, but people rarely feel “ready” for the next stage of their career; the ones who are willing to learn on the job and confront the possibility of failure will be the ones who see the most success in the long term. 

“Remember, the vast majority of people are not as confident as they appear,” said Jeni. Anchoring to this truth will help take the pressure off. Mistakes and failures are part of the learning process, and we often become better leaders through failures, not successes.   

Do you change your leadership style depending on your audience? 

"I make adjustments, but I don’t make adjustments that are counter to who I am or what I believe. I do make adjustments to get results." – Sharin Nicole

Authenticity is key in leadership; you want to provide a safe and open environment for your team so they can trust your direction. Our panelists shared that changing their leadership style to match their audience would hinder that foundation, so it’s best to be authentic to who you are.  

However, they did emphasize that change is a part of a good leadership development process, so it’s important to critically evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and adapt over time.

If you are receiving pushback to your leadership style, first meet them with empathy and adjust if there are opportunities to grow. However, people’s negative reactions are most often about them and not you, meaning you shouldn’t, and can’t, feel responsible for other people’s emotions.

As a new leader, how do you combat the hesitation and nervousness of asking people to do things for you and the team?

“As long as the task is job appropriate and asked for in a polite way that treats your employees with respect, there is no reason to be nervous!” – Jeni Golomb

Overcoming this nervousness will improve over time, and a good anchor in the meantime is to remember that we are asked to complete tasks as employees all the time and think nothing of it. If we embody confidence and ensure the ask is collaborative and has a strong business case, we can be confident in our delegation. 

What advice would you give your younger self? 

"Don’t be afraid to make a mistake because it's an opportunity to get better." – Devin O’Loughlin

The participants shared that leadership is a journey, and we should always be open to feedback and take every day as an opportunity to learn something new and approach your work with humility. Finally, they encouraged young leaders to remember that others are not thinking about you nearly as much as you think about you, which means you can give yourself grace and focus on building others up rather than constantly critiquing yourself. 

Empowering Women at Credera

As I reflect on the recent events, I am thankful to be a part of an organization that is continually looking for ways to empower me as a young leader and ensure I have the support I need as I progress through my career. If you are interested in learning more about how Credera has been investing in our women, please email findoutmore@credera.com.

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