A CEO’s advice for aspiring women

Kate BrodockKate Brodock, co-founder and CEO of Women 2.0, a global brand for women in technology, has learned a few lessons she’d like to pass on.

“Firstly, say yes more,” she says. “Research suggests that, even at the stage when women are browsing job roles, they disqualify themselves from positions because they think the position is too high for them. We can’t be doing this to ourselves. Know your skills and be confident in your ability to bring them to a job.”

Second, she recommends finding both a mentor to counsel you and a sponsor to support you. While the mentor is there to counsel you privately, the sponsor’s job is to act as your public-facing advocate and to step up and stake their own reputation on your success.

Third, know what you’re up against: pay gaps, unfavorable policies and microsexism, which she defines as the ways people will hold you back unknowingly, falling prey to biases internalized over the years. Then equip yourself to fight all these things.

“Early in my career, I went through the classic situation (what I now understand to be classic) of bringing a strategic idea to the table multiple times, only to be summarily ignored and watching as a male colleague brought the same idea to the table a week later and was praised,” Brodock recalls. “I couldn’t understand what was happening at the time; but had I been aware of this unconscious bias, I may have been able to do something about it.”

Fourth, “most obviously, get in there, get your hands dirty, do the best work you can and keep making progress.” If your progress isn’t recognized, make it recognized or move on.

The most important lesson is not to focus on “career.” Look at opportunities and decide whether they’re good for you based on your interest, ability, potential to advance your skills and whether the compensation will support you.

— Adapted from “Women in Business Q&A: Kate Brodock,” Laura Emily Dunn, The Huffington Post.