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Professional Advice from Successful Women in Business

This is how Dr. Bernice Ledbetter, director of the Pepperdine Center for Women's Leadership opened the day at the C200 Women's Executive Leadership Conference. Women are faced with many challenges when it comes to having both career and personal success. The auditorium was packed, as was the overflow room, making it clear that the women of Pepperdine were eager to be those leaders.

C200 is a community that includes some of the most influential female leadership. It partnered with the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and the Center for Women's Leadership to bring successful women in business to speak to the next generation of women leaders. Three sessions dominated the day, focused on the challenges women face in the business world and how they can be overcome:

Becoming a Career Superwoman

Women are faced with many challenges when it comes to having both career and personal success. Colleen Brown, former president and CEO of Fisher Communications, Inc., has built a highly successful career and had these words of advice: "It isn't about balance. It's about integration. How do you integrate your kids' lives and all the other aspects of your life? I came to realize that I could run my company; it was just a matter of when I was going to get my shot to do it." Integration is a vital skill for business executives to manage a successful career.

Dawnet Beverley, senior vice president and managing director of Connolly Financial Solutions also pointed out that it is impossible to do everything at once. And regardless of how many activities demand your attention, it is important to monitor your own well-being—physical, emotional, and spiritual, or you won't be able to effectively help others.

Mentoring and Being Mentored

Another important factor in attaining success is mentorship—being both a mentor and a mentee. Linda LoRe, CEO and president, InJoy Global Inc, has many years of experience as a mentor and is passionate about the impact mentorship can have. She says, "A mentoring relationship is a caring relationship where someone helps you be the best you can be. A mentor/mentee relationship changes two lives, not just one."

Swimming with the Sharks

An issue that came up repeatedly throughout the day was how to navigate your career when you are in a male-dominated field or one of only a few female leadership positions at your company. Bridget Baker, president of Baker Media Inc., spoke about the fact that women are often categorized as being too emotional to lead as business executives. She said that in her own career, she learned how to use passion to her advantage, saying, "I used emotion effectively when it was important to beat the drum for business and to tell compelling stories."

Nina Richards, independent board member of Zayo Group Holdings, also knows what it's like to be one of the only women in the room. Her advice? Always deliver the best work possible, and, "...at the end of the day, what you deliver at works says everything about you. That is your unique statement about yourself. Build and trust your instincts."

At Pepperdine Graziadio, we ensure that women in business are empowered and lead with confidence, offering a variety of clubs and on-campus activities that help women in business thrive together. Want to learn more? Check out our Center for Women and Leadership, where faculty, staff, and students come together to empower women through business.