As a female in a heavily male-dominated industry, I am always excited to see the impact we can make as a group by supporting and empowering one another. By building a strong network of support, women can achieve success both in business ownership and through growth within large organizations.
Currently, only 14.6 percent of senior executive positions are held by women. Among senior women executives, 10 percent say they had the aid of four or more executives in helping them advance, compared to their male counterparts at 17 percent. Yet more than half of the senior women acknowledged that it is important to have support from higher-level seniors in order to advance.
Women must embrace the power of networking. Leadership today is no longer just about the results you produce. Your ability to connect with others, how you incorporate perspectives and navigate groups proves just as important. Explore the networking opportunities within your company. Often times, larger companies have established internal groups dedicated to helping female employees build their Rolodex of connections. If not, I encourage you to start one – not only will that show your superiors that you’re taking charge, but you’ll also provide a new resource for your colleagues.
Networking is also beneficial to women business owners. Women currently own 36 percent of all businesses – a jump of 30 percent from 2007. Learning best practices from other business leaders helps to you grow your own business. It not only allows women to see examples of success and failure but also get to know others in a wider variety of industries to help foster deeper business relationships.
By fostering a strong network of women, we are able to access a treasure chest of resources and tools that can help women in need from all walks of life to improve their situations and position themselves for success.
Shelley Ford is a Financial Advisor with the Pelican Bay Group at Morgan Stanley in Denver. She can be reached at 303-572-4839 or Shelley.Ford@morganstanley.com.