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7 Shared Traits That Unite

Women In Power
With more and more women looking to lean in, now is the time to examine the qualities
that help female leaders get to the top.
By Ekaterina Walter
If we take a look at some of the most prominent female leaders, we can see that many
of them share similar traits that have helped get them to the top of their professions.
So what does it mean to be an effective female leader? And how does one get into a
position of power?
Many women at the top of their professions cite strong female family members, friends, or peers as a
factor in their success, and its something they are passing on to their own children, friends, and
Ive examined the lives of some of the top women across many industriesfrom Arianna
Huffington, president of the Huffington Post Media Group, to Maria Eitel, CEO of the Nike
Foundation, to Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher,
and others. Here are the characteristics they all share.
Effective role models
A recent CNN opinion piece about how to have more women like Sheryl Sandberg
concludes that it is the prominence of such women that inspires others to be like them:
"We can create more Sandbergs by surrounding ourselves with confident, outspoken
women." Sandberg herself actively works to encourage others by running a monthly
salon with talks by inspirational women. The more role models we have across all
industries, the more likely it is that the female leaders of the future will be inspired.
Hard work
"Though successful women are often prone to credit luck for their success, it is mostly
hard work and perseverance that brings women to the top of their field," says Lucy P.
Marcus, CEO, non-exec board director, prof at IE Business School, Reuters columnist and
host of "In the Boardroom With Lucy Marcus," in an article for LinkedIn.
No one is asking to be handed promotion on a plate. The women who have made it to
the top have made it through sheer hard work and determination. But women who work

as hard as their male colleagues need to be equally rewarded, and all too often this is
still not the case.
Confidence can mean a world of difference between a woman who is able to live her
dreams and one who is notso often a talented woman is held back through lack of
confidence. The former U.K. prime minister Margaret Thatcher was famous for her
confidence and iron willand for her slogan "The ladys not for turning."
In an article for the MBA@UNC, media pioneer Arianna Huffington cites lack of
confidence as "a killer to success for women. In order to advance their careers, women
need to be comfortable seeing themselves as qualified leaders and risk takers."
Madeleine Albright said, "There is a special place in hell for women who dont help other
Many of the current generation of women leaders have credited a good support network
in their success, and are now active in encouraging the next generation of women in
their field.
The MBA@UMC blog states that "Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and 'Change the Ratio'
blogger Rachel Sklar are vocal about female inclusivity and encourage women to
support each another at all levels."
With support like that, the future of female leadership looks positive.
Changing the mindset of what is the "right" career for a woman begins early. Women
who have a good grounding in technology, math, science, and businessand who are
encouraged to take those studies furtherare more likely to become the business and
political leaders of the future. It isnt just the book knowledge that counts: Women need
to know they can build a career that takes them all the way to the top.
Seventy percent of the business leaders interviewed by Forbes believed that education
about technical fields starts in childhood. The article quotes Lydia Thomas, the retired
CEO of Noblis and co-chair of the National Academy of Sciences: "We have to capture
women at a very young ageafter that it seems to be too latebecause women are not
getting the emphasis in school. We need to encourage parents to encourage their
CNN recently stated that "as women, in many cases, the impulse to do something out of
the norm of our peer group, like write an opinion piece or ask for a promotion, has
simply never occurred to us. If it does, we don't act on it. Our girlfriends aren't doing it.
Our female colleagues aren't doing it. Why should we?"

The article makes a great point: Peer group attitudes shape our perception of "normal."
So as a successful woman, I believe that it is our duty to be visible, to change what is
thought of as "normal." Many women at the top of their professions cite strong female
family members, friends, or peers as a factor in their success, and its something they
are passing on to their own children, friends, and colleagues.
Mentoringat all levels
Mentoring is essential to encouraging the female leaders of the future: Identifying and
overcoming obstacles to their career progression at the early stages can have a huge
effect on their eventual success. This should start in school and be a part of every stage
of a womans education and training. If you can identify opportunities and encourage
women early on then they will be able to fulfill their potential throughout their careers.
Some of the most prominent women had great mentorsand they are often now
working as mentors to the next generation themselves.
In a Forbes article, Dana DiFerdinando, CIO of Arena Pharmaceuticals, credits her
mentor at SAIC for part of her careers success: "I think mentoring is critical and I
actually had a great mentor at SAIC who had already achieved the highest level
scientific position in SAIC. She was a physicist turned technologist and she really helped
Everyones journey is differentand many are not easy. Hard work is the foundation of
success, but the people and attitudes you surround yourself with, and the message you
pass on to others, all contribute to a culture of female achievement that will take us into
the future.
[Roots Image: CoolKengzz via Shutterstock]

Ekaterina Walter
Ekaterina Walter is a business and marketing innovator, an author of the WSJ bestseller Think Like
Zuck, co-author of The Power of Visual Storytelling, and Global Evangelist at Sprinklr.
June 4, 2013 | 6:00 AM


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Women mentoring women |

They may not be easy to find, but women mentors appear to make all the difference in the
academic careers of women graduate students.
November 2000, Vol 31, No. 10
Print version: page 33
Mentoring has become a hot topic in graduate departments these days, and women
students in particular are urged to find mentors who can help them navigate their
careers and guide them in successfully combining full-time careers with satisfying
personal and family lives.
But where are the women mentors to lead the way?
"Most of us have not had role models for how to do this, and all of us are thinking of
starting a family in the near future," says Diana Salvador, who is finishing her PsyD at
Rutgers University. "As graduate students, we desperately wished we had had mentors
that could have shown us how it could be done well."
"The women in leadership roles and who also have family responsibilities are the
psychologists many female students want to emulate," says Carol Williams, former chair
of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS). "But these
women also seem to be the psychologists who have the least time to mentor."
Ruth Striegel-Moore, PhD, professor of psychology at Wesleyan University, sees the
shortage of female mentors as a function of the contemporary role of women faculty in
most psychology departments.

"Universities are urged to involve female faculty members in all aspects of university
life, so women are pressured to be on every committee, board and decision-making
body," says Striegel-Moore. "Many of these same women are assistant professors who
are working to gain tenure and have young families. There are only 24 hours in a day,
and only so many students a female faculty member can responsibly take on."
She also notes that psychology has recently attracted more women than men, and
these women want female mentors. These students think that female faculty have
something unique to offer. All positive developments, no doubt, but also the reasons
behind the imbalance between supply and demand for female mentors.
Empowering relationships
Some might argue that in psychology, female graduate students have faculty advisors
and doctoral dissertation chairs. Why is it important to have mentors as well?
Mentors differ from advisers in that they provide both psychosocial functions, such as
role modeling, acceptance and affirmation, as well as career functions, such as
sponsorship, coaching and networking, say the experts.
According to Lucia Gilbert, PhD, at the University of Texas at Austin, not only do female
graduate students need mentors, they particularly need female mentors who can model
the greater diversity in women's lives today. Her research shows that female graduate
students, more than male students, rated the same-sex mentor's lifestyle and values as
highly important to their own professional development.
Gilbert also stresses that female students working with female mentors may provide an
important antidote to some women's socialization to please and defer to men. Rather
than being in a relationship of unequal power, in female mentor-female protg
relationships, students may learn that empowering relationships mobilize the energies,
resources and strengths of both people.
Salvador, while getting her master's degree at Boston University, experienced that kind
of mentoring from Kathi Malley-Morrison, EdD. In this relationship, she found someone
who listened respectfully to her ideas, even when she disagreed with them, who
believed in her, even when others doubted her abilities, and who talked about her own
real-life struggles as a psychologist and a person.
"She didn't tell me what to do," Salvador said. "She empowered me."
Roxanne Manning, now in her internship after completing coursework for her clinical
doctorate at State University of New YorkBinghamton, said that without her first mentor
she would have dropped out of graduate school.
"I went through a number of personal challenges in the first year. My father-in-law
became terminally ill and moved in," she explains. "My niece and nephew had problems
and needed to stay with us. I felt overwhelmed. But my mentor encouraged me to hang
in there. She told me that as a professional psychologist, I would face similar personal
challenges, so I needed to learn to face them while doing my graduate work. She
believed I could do it, so I began to believe I could do it, too. And I did."

Manning also noted that throughout the relationship, her mentor stressed prioritizing
her values and saw her as a whole person, not just as a student or future psychologist.
"She had a family and children and she helped me to see that no one could 'do it all,'
but that everyone could do what was most important to them," Manning says. "By
helping me define what was most important to me, she helped me develop my own
definition of success. That has been incredibly important to me as I've made major
decisions, such as to have a baby before beginning my internship."
Along these lines, Striegel-Moore notes that female mentors are important in showing
that professional success can be achieved in nontraditional career trajectories.
"Many successful female psychologists have taken some time off after graduate school
and started families, and their careers have blossomed after their children are in
school," she says. "It's important for female graduate students to see these women and
to know that success can be achieved in a number of ways."
Other psychologists, such as Beverly Greene, PhD, don't believe that the gender of the
mentor is critical. The important point is to have a mentor. Greene, professor of
psychology at St. John's University in New York, who won two APA Div. 12 (Clinical)
awards for mentoring this year (one for the clinical psychology of women and one for
ethnic minority psychology), had a male and a female mentor and stated both were
significant in furthering her career.
Her male mentor, William Johnson, PhD, helped her develop a culturally sensitive model
of psychodynamic clinical practice, a model that still guides her work today. Her female
mentor, Dorothy Gartner, PhD, encouraged her to develop her teaching skills and urged
her to write and publish, which ultimately led to her career in academia. Without this
push, Greene says she would never have considered an academic career.
Recent research also suggests that a mentor's gender may not matter. Faith-Anne
Dohm, PhD, of Fairfield University, recently surveyed women in clinical psychology with
regard to whether they continued to do research after getting their doctorate. She found
that those who had research mentors during graduate school were twice as likely to do
research after getting their degree than those who did not have mentors. In her study,
the gender of the mentor did not make a difference in whether the protg went on to
do research.
Carol Williams, now APA's associate executive director for the American Psychological
Association of Graduate Students, also did research on mentoring and found that
gender does make a difference to female students.
"Women can have good and supportive mentoring relationships with men; however,
women want mentoring relationships with women as well--and female students want
women mentors who are willing to expose more of their personal sides," she explains.
Her research, not yet published, also supports claims that female mentors in academia
may be hard to find.
Finding a mentor

One of the most difficult parts of the mentoring relationship is finding the right person.
First, you have to know what you need. Career guru Richard Bolles suggests making a
list of what it takes to succeed in your chosen profession--knowledge, skills, personality
traits, experience, etc.--then subtract what you already have. Next, look for a person
who has the remaining attributes and go after that person as a mentor. That formula
assumes there is a large pool to choose from.
But even so, the "going after" is a bit nebulous. Many psychologists believe that the
best relationships seem to just happen "naturally." A conversation begins, you have
more conversations and pretty soon, you realize you have a mentor.
Manning found her mentor accidentally. She literally bumped into her in her first week in
graduate school when she was lost in the maze of offices in the psychology department.
Manning went into the wrong office, and she and her mentor simply began talking.
Manning thinks that the psychologist sensed that Manning was lost in more ways than
one, and took her under her wing.
"She wasn't even in the clinical program," Manning says, "But I've learned that that
doesn't always make a difference. So, I'd urge students not to limit themselves to their
specialty areas when it comes to looking for a mentor."
Saira John, a counseling psychology student at the University of Memphis who has
completed all but her dissertation, never did find a mentor in graduate school.
"The faculty members whom I was most interested in were too busy to take on another
student," she says. "But I kept looking, because I knew it was important. The students
who had a mentor seemed to have an edge over other students. They presented at
national conferences. They met influential people in specialty areas. They seemed to
have more direction and got through the program faster. I don't think they received any
special favors. The personal and professional relationship with their mentor just seemed
to motivate them to work harder."
Striegel-Moore advises students to think of the mentoring relationship in terms of
mutuality--give-and-take. Before approaching someone you think you'd like to have a
relationship with, think of what you have to offer. It may just be enthusiasm for that
person's research and a willingness to contribute to it. Ask if the psychologist has lab
meetings that you could sit in on to learn more about his or her research. Even if the
topic of the research isn't exactly what you are interested in, you can learn a lot about
the research process that will be transferable, she says.
She stresses that if the first person you approach is not receptive, you should move on
to others. In fact, she says, it may be a mistake to think of mentoring in terms of one
person--it puts too much pressure on a single relationship. A mentoring network, she
says, in which a series of relationships meets different needs may be a more realistic
way of looking at mentoring for female graduate students in psychology.
Manning agrees. In addition to the faculty member who first mentored her, she found
mentors in her field placements, who provided different kinds of career guidance. She
suggests that if students are having difficulty finding faculty mentors, that they ask
their graduate programs for lists of others who have gotten their graduate degrees from
the program and find out if they are still in the community. If they are, she advises, call
them up and strike up a conversation about their strategies for succeeding in graduate

school and about what they are doing now. They may be willing to help you along, she
says. As a result of her positive experiences with mentors, she has started a mentoring
program for undergraduate students.
Manning is now specifically looking for someone who will mentor her as she writes about
her research and attempts to get published. She is up front about her goals when she
talks with potential mentors and also about what she has to offer in return. From the
student lost in the psychology department to the focused and confident intern and new
mother, Manning has clearly found her way. And she would be the first to tell you that
mentors played no small part in her journey.
Margaret Schlegel is a freelance writer in Falls Church, Va.

2015 American Psychological Association

Male vs. Female: Which Mentor

is Best?
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When looking for a mentor, does gender matter? Some researchers believe it does and
that your choice should depend on what youre looking for in the relationship.
Female mentors appear to be better role models, but male mentors may be better at
leading the way to the top of the corporate ladder. Thats the conclusion of a
Pennsylvania State University study that involved 200 menteesall graduate
students, ranging in age from twenty to fifty-seven. Specifically, researchers surveyed
115 men and eighty-five women who rated 139 male and sixty-one female mentors
from many industries on a variety of factors.
In essence, women excel at offering personal support, friendship, acceptance,
counseling, and role modeling. With women guiding you, its often more about
commitment and chemistry with the emphasis on personal growth and development,
rather than about promotions.
By nature, female mentors also tend to be warmer and more approachable, as well as
more willing to share pieces of themselves. Naturally, female mentors are better at
offering advice on bridging the divide that often exists between men and women in the
workplace. After all, theyve been in the trenches; they know how to play the game.

With female mentors, there is also no danger of sexual harassment or sexual

undercurrents in the relationship. Granted, as Joan Jeruchim and Pat Shapiro, co-authors
of Women, Mentors, and Success, note, female mentors often lack the power to link
their protgs to important people or to sponsor them for key committees or projects.
Nevertheless, you can generally count on more bonding, nurturing, and confidencebuilding with a female mentor.
The male advantage? In terms of career development, which involves functions such as
sponsorship, protection, providing challenging assignments, exposure, and visibility,
both male and female protgs in the Penn State study said they received greater
assistance from male mentors. Study authors John S. Sosik, PhD, and Veronica M.
Godshalk, PhD, agree that much of this might be associated with stereotypes of men
and women in the corporate world.
Both men and women perceive men as possessing more and different forms of power
than women, Godshalk confirms. Within traditional male-dominated organizations,
both male and female protgs may shy away from female mentors when seeking
career development functions leading to promotions.
In fact, in their study, male mentors emerged especially effective at helping female
protgs. Among other things, male mentors can help female protgs overcome
discriminating barriers in place at traditional organizations, says Sosik. They may also
be better positioned to make critical introductions for you.
In many surveys, however, a mentors gender is not an issue. More important is that the
chemistry works and that you and your mentor work well together toward achieving the
same goals.