Titles and companies: Chair of St. Joseph the Worker and CEO of Whyfor Agency
Industry: Nonprofit; marketing and advertising
Biggest career win to date: Honestly, being honored by the PBJ within our community of amazing women is ranking pretty high. Aside from that, it was while serving as president of the American Women’s Club of Seville, Spain on Sept. 11, 2001. After the attack, we were notified as a group of 100-plus American women overseas, we could not meet at the Consulate anymore and that we had to be vigilant as an expat group. In a time of uncertainty and fear, I felt it important to provide a sense of solidarity for ourselves and for the victims in New York. Within 24 hours we created a system that allowed us to meet, communicate and support each other safely and confidentially. Providing that to the women and their families at that time still feels like a ‘win’ to this day.
Your best piece of advice for current and/or future women leaders? Surround yourself with trusted colleagues and friends. They will tell you the truth, celebrate your successes, and believe in you (even when you don’t). Call it your “personal board of directors” and meet regularly. Then, be that for someone else.
Name a woman mentor who has meant a lot to your career and why. My mother. She was a single mother in a foreign country. She was an entrepreneur out of necessity and sheer grit was her fuel. Her fierce sense of pride and unwavering moral compass carried her through difficult times. She was never financially secure but was still unbelievably generous to help someone else. Although she’s no longer with me, I try to live by her example.
What do you see as the biggest hurdle facing women who are working to advance into leadership positions? Time. Change is happening, but it is slow. We have benefitted from women before us, as we pave the way for those after us. Progress has made changes in law and policy, but biases and mindsets can take decades to change.
What needs to change to make that hurdle fall? Conversation and engagement. Keep the dialogue open and on-going. Accelerate “time” by speaking up and having a civil discourse. Get involved (at any level) and be an agent of the change you want to see.
What do you do to recharge? Meeting people and having intelligent, robust, and open discussions. I love walking away understanding a new perspective and being impressed. It energizes me that there is still so much to learn.
What’s next on your career bucket list? I’ve never had a bucket list. My philosophy is to say “yes” and be open to what life unfolds for you, and then be your best at it.