Every once in a while you hear some advice you want to share. Cathie Black is a lady you should know about. She is president of Hearst Magazines and recently delivered a keynote address at the Wharton Women Business Conference. She talked about everything from being a working mom, ladies who hold a grudge, to giving up your power in meetings.
Here is an excerpt from the Knowledge at Wharton article about Cathie:
(Cathie Black) cautioned young women to think more than five years ahead as they make important career and personal decisions, even if they seem to be on track. She reminded the Wharton audience that one in two marriages ends in divorce. “Think about when you are 45, if all those perfect things don’t work out.”
Black, who is married, said she never stopped working as she raised her two children, now 18 and 22. When her children were young, for example, and she was intensely involved in getting USA Today off the ground, she managed to piece together a support network of other people — “a village” to help out when she had to work long hours and travel for business. “I don’t have the answer about people who step out for a while. Companies are more supportive of that than before, but stepping back in is also hard.”
She urged women just starting out in their careers to “do everything and more. Come early. Stay late. It’s not only about the hours you put in; it’s about the attitude you bring to work.” Black also advised women to strive to make their bosses look good. Some bosses will want to be a mentor, while others will want as little contact as possible. “It’s not that you have to be in the boss’s office all the time showing how gosh darn smart you are. Tell the good news and tell the bad news. If you can fix the bad news quickly, that’s good because the boss doesn’t like big bad things. So fess up. Take the aggravation. Don’t blame it on anybody else. Just stand up and say, ‘I made a mistake.'”
She also noted that women too often nurse personal grudges in the workplace. “Women are brilliant at taking everything personally.” Black told the story of a colleague who was overwrought when she discovered she did not receive an e-mail invitation to a meeting. Black told her to show up anyway because it was possible the person who called the meeting simply made a mistake. “I said, ‘Don’t just pout.’ Men are much better about moving forward.”
Women need to be more forceful with their ideas, Black added, noting that when women enter a meeting, they tend to sit near the corners of the conference table — not the more visible positions in the middle or the end. Even if she presents a good idea, a woman seated in that part of the conference table might not be heard. “Then three minutes later, Joe, who is sitting in the middle, rephrases her idea and everybody says, ‘Joe, what a great idea.’ The woman has just seen her idea rewrapped and she’s sitting there steaming…. Assume you have been invited to the table,” Black urged her audience. “Don’t hide out in the corner.”