One of my main incentives for this blog is to help inspire the next generation of women leaders and promote a gender balance in the workforce.
Public relations and communications is leading the way to equality. Women make up 63 percent of public relations specialists and 59 percent are PR managers. While this may seem like a gender imbalance in itself, with more woman in the field than men, it actually speaks louder than this.
Today, women are earning 60 percent of undergraduate and master’s degrees. They are better educated than men, statistics say. The learning doesn’t end with a degree though. To exceed women must continue to learn and be lifelong students. Here are ten helpful tips to make you exceed in the PR and communication industry, along with some positive words from women in the business:
- Move past the stereotypes:
We are accustomed to the idea that men are in charge because growing up that was a stereotype apparent in media. Nowadays, media is striving to reconstruct that stereotype. There will be workplace sexism but everyone’s responsible for ending this discrimination.
- Learn from your mistakes:
You are only human, you will mess up. Don’t beat yourself up over it though, learn from it. “D’lish didn’t get the opportunity to cater at the level we are now without resilience -and serious dedication and determination over the past nine years. It took passion, standing tall, falling – and of course, getting back up again even prouder than before. And, opening myself to learning a lesson from each unique experience in the wild world of entrepreneurship and the food industry. That attitude has led my business to a high level of catering – doing what I love,” Rachel Goldman, Founder, Owner and Executive Chef, D’lish Intimate Catering.
- Go beyond the to-do list:
You will have your daily to-do list, go beyond it. No one successful got there by doing JUST the everyday tasks. Stay the extra hours, work on an additional project, and take on assignments no one else would. Actions speak louder than words.
“Success in the workplace really comes when you work outside of your job description. Don’t be afraid to be creative and try new ideas or create something new—they’ll push you over the edge and get you recognized in your workplace, as well as in your industry,” Stacey Acevero, social media community manager at Vocus/PR Web.
- Take risks:
New opportunities and challenges can evoke the same emotion: fear. Make what you want out of them but you need to challenge yourself. Taking these risks will help you grow by challenging yourself and will help you advance in your career.
“Take risks and speak up. Try things that you are uncomfortable doing. It’s going to feel awkward at first, but it will start to feel natural. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to take on challenges and who can help you see and appreciate your strengths,” Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz.
- Curiosity breeds innovation:
I honestly could not have said it any better:
“My natural tendency to want to know how something works and demystify a topic by learning more has propelled my career, instilled confidence, and put me on a path I could have never imagined. My general curiosity has made me challenge myself and look at life through the lens of “hmmm that’s interesting, I wonder if I could do that. It can’t be that hard.” This attitude has brought out in me the marathoner, the snowboarder, the knitter, the mother, the wife, the business leader, the Harvard student, the writer, the teacher, and the cook. I can’t wait to see what’s next,” Kelly Manthey, VP Strategy & Innovation, Solstice Mobile.
- Destroy the barriers:
Social and self-barriers are constructed illusions, destroy them.
“Some of the main barriers that I see women facing are the ones they create for themselves…Women need to believe in themselves and be aware of how much they have to offer – and not apologize for it,” Susan Chambers, EVP, Global People Division for Walmart.
- Be persistent:
This goes for every aspect of your life; in the pursuit of your goals, your career and your life. Remember you have to earn your spot. “Without being willing to fail and continually get back again, I would never have been able to find the right market and establish my product within it,” Katelyn Gleason, CEO & Cofounder of Eligible.
- Surround yourself with support:
You can’t do it by yourself. Surround yourself with people that inspire and empower you – they will be the ones to push you, as well as the ones to stand by your side when all is wrong. You want people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
“The best advice I can give a young woman starting a career in PR is to surround herself with other supportive, professional women. One way to do that is to join a communications association. I started with the Public Relations Student Society of America, continued with the Public Relations Society of America and now PRSA’s Counselors Academy,” Dana Hughens, CEO of Clairemont Communications.
- Ask questions:
Don’t be hesitant, be assertive. Listen carefully, throw your hand up because there is no such thing as a dumb question. Questions spark conversation, and even though it may seem like a dumb question to you it may spark someone else’s creative thought.
- Believe in yourself:
You are your hardest critic…but confidence is key. Don’t allow yourself to think that you are not eligible for that position or you are under qualified. If you put your mind to it, anything is possible. Be yourself, put on a smile and go get em.
“Be yourself and do not try to change your entire personality to conform to the corporate culture. Pretending to be someone you’re not drains your energy and can lead to failure if you show that you are uncomfortable with yourself. Belief in your self-worth, hard work, and a commitment to your career and company will go a long way toward helping you succeed,” Lillian Vernon, Founder of Lillian Vernon catalogs.