3 GIRL BOSSES ON WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE TO BE A CAREER WOMAN IN 2017
real talk with real super women.
Q: What is the difference between Men and Women at Work?
Leena Nair (LN): All men are different, and all women are different. If I were to generalize, one of the differences is the ability to express ambition—much easier for a man, harder for a woman. When a woman is presenting, she will say “we” and take less credit for herself. When a man comes in to present, he will say “I.” And definitely with money and rewards, the men negotiate far better than the women!
Lynette Ortiz (LO): I don’t know if it’s been ingrained in us that we need to be liked, and that to be liked, we have to downplay ambition lest we be perceived as rapacious, too hungry—qualities that are admired in a man.
Geraldine Roman (GR): I think women are educated to be unassuming, and that’s supposed to be a positive trait, so we tend to bring it to the corporate world and the world of politics.
Q: how do you deal With Unequal expectations in the Workplace?
LO: You really need to put in the hours and the hard work to gain expertise. And the fact of the matter is, you build your credibility and your cache with your networks and your relationships. It adds to your ability to do a better job.
GR: I didn’t expect that my win would get so much attention, so the expectations were higher. I took it upon myself to carry the flag of the LGBT community, so I had to be prepared for anything.
Q: how does being emotional affect corporate success?
LN: Emotion is a good thing. No man or woman should leave their feelings at home, but you have to show your emotions with skill. Use your passion and anger to make a point.
LO: In banking, you have to be solid [and unemotional]. In front of my team, I’m cool and calm and collected. But it’s all right to show vulnerability; now that I’m older, I’ve come to realize that.
GR: In politics, you’re a public figure, and if you’re too sensitive, you will have a difficult time. Be assertive and be eloquent. Without meaning to stereotype, women have the gift of expression.
Q: What should Women do to break the barrier of shame and climb the corporate ladder?
LN: Think hard about what your dreams are and what your purpose is, and try to get context. Once you understand your strengths and your purpose, it becomes easier because you can build ambitions based on those things. Definitely speak to a mentor if you aren’t comfortable putting it out there. It takes a lot of practice. And you have to tell yourself that it’s all right if you don’t fulfill a dream you put out there—at least you tried.