By: Mary-Ellen Davis, Staff Writer
A group of local businesswomen advocated for working hard and always looking for new opportunities Monday, Sept. 26, during a College of Business and Economics panel celebrating women in leadership.
Hosted in Stephens Hall, the discussion was led by Director of Student Academic and Career Services Lisa Michocki and focused on personal branding methods and roads toward finding success.
Williams Adley Audit Manager Jessica Stewart said that she “lives by the motto of, ‘Great things never come from comfort zones.’”
“I’ve learned when I’m comfortable, I’m not learning and I’m not growing,” Stewart said. “I’ve definitely learned that when you’re being challenged, when you have to think outside the box, that’s how you learn and grow.”
Chief Product Officer for Sylvan Learning Sasha Shultz noted that risk-taking has been crucial to her career path.
“It’s manifested itself in a number of different ways,” Shultz said. “I’ve made path changes in industries, or even role changes and went into roles that didn’t even exist.”
Shultz also pointed out that leveraging networks was beneficial to her, especially the networks she created in her graduate and undergraduate years in college.
Panelists also answered questions about what traits and behaviors they had seen that often derailed good leaders.
President and CEO of EMD Sales Elda Devarie said that being “too comfortable in your position and whatever it is you’re doing after a year…[is] probably one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make.”
Devarie also advised students to work every day “like it’s the last day to show how good you are.”
Executive Vice President of The Harbor Bank of Maryland Carla Nealy added that there are certain traits that people need in order to be good leaders, including the ability to communicate and to empower people on staff.
“Sometimes as a leader you close yourself off in your office and people don’t feel like they can come talking to you,” Nealy said.
Panelists also spoke on what their respective organizations look for in new employees.
Vice President of Human Resources from TEKsystems Faith Johnson said that open communication is an important factor.
“Being able to take feedback and just as important give feedback is critical in our organization,” Johnson said. “The ability to take that feedback in the beginning, and give that feedback as you move up in the company, and still take it as you move up in the company, is critical.”