How have female mentors helped shape you into the leader you are today?
I attended Saint Raphael Elementary School, where I was often picked by the teachers, who happened to be nuns, to participate in leadership activities. Whether it was trusting me to run an errand or choosing me to help teach English to a Venezuelan priest, I was left with the impression that doing good by others and following the rules is fulfilling and rewarded.
How can female leaders support other female professionals in the workplace?
When I started my professional career, I was shocked by how competitive the healthcare field was. It wasn’t a normal mentorship environment, which seemed incongruent considering the nature of the field. I vowed I would always create a healthy working environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity.
Honesty is key. It’s important to give your true assessment of talent. Additionally, offer your time to meet with your colleagues. I often play the role of mentor for those who are pursuing advanced nursing degrees. It’s been extremely rewarding to be a part of so many people’s journey towards self-improvement and professional advancement.If someone is passionate about getting ahead, I want to help them get there.
What can companies and organizations do to foster and strengthen female leadership?
First of all, you have to look at people as individuals and consider their individual strengths. In the past, women were ruled out for leadership positions if they were married and had children simply because companies feared competing priorities would lead to less commitment to the company. Also, organizations and companies have to find where the talent lies and define the goals they want to achieve. From an experiential perspective, companies can offer shadowing opportunities, as well as educational sessions.