Highly accomplished women tell us how they advanced to where they are today and the important, heartfelt lessons learned along the way.
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Each started along one path, but morphed into new, more promising opportunities. By paying close attention to what was right for them and where they wanted to be, was the foundation to landing in the right place.
Tip: Advocate for yourself.
Pat Evans Schulze joined Wilmington Trust 38 years ago, right out of high school, and she was determined to set herself up for success. With the Bank’s support, Evans Schultz made the decision to slow her career down during her children’s young ages and to return to school while working full time Evans Schultz made extensive connections in the industry by volunteering, networking, joining committees and surrounding herself with the right people – advocates and sponsors both within her firm and outside. Pat passionately recalls “even if you don’t feel confident, keep persevering and never stop learning”.
Tip: Embrace challenges.
Anne Vazquez, a Partner with NewSpring Capital, received excellent advice early on and studied accounting in school, believing it would guarantee a broad range of possibilities and it has done just that. Vazquez launched in to her industry, joining KPMG, exposed to exactly what she may have expected. She left the firm to join another, but when that Philadelphia office unexpectedly closed, Anne made “a bold move to leverage her skills in new ways” and joined NewSpring Capital where she quickly knew Private Equity offered, in her opinion, the most interesting accounting opportunity. Vazquez found herself in somewhat of a “boys club” but also recognized that she was “ok with being a girl in a boys’ business”. With time and experience realized “I don’t need to be one of the guys” and 12 years later is highly regarded.
Tip: Be Confident.
Shelley Boyce, Executive Chairman of MedRisk, started her career as a nurse, but within her first year recognized “she wasn’t a very good nurse” and decided to leverage her experience and knowledge toward medical device sales only to learn that wasn’t the right direction either. Boyce decided to pursue an MBA and during her studies submitted what she thought to be an excellent business plan to her professors. Feeling terribly rejected and discouraged after receiving a P (for Passing)- only so she didn’t have to take the class again, Boyce decided to start her own company. And 25 years later, she understands the risks and rewards of being her own boss. MedRisk has $500M in revenue and the reputable Carlyle Group is a majority owner. Boyce was not afraid make changes when she wasn’t satisfied; she welcomed the challenges until she reached her goal.
Through fear, lack of confidence and knowledge at times, rejection, loneliness, uncertainty and change, each one of these women persevered. Do not hesitate to change direction, but have a plan of action. Keep these nuggets of wisdom close by as you continue on your own path.
Tip: Set expectations and expect change.