The Sisterhood of Success was alive and well at the University of Mary Washington’s Women’s Leadership Colloquium this past fall.
Business and community leaders filled the ballroom to learn how to become even better, even stronger and – best yet – how to support each other as individuals and as a community.
Step one in the concept of the Sisterhood of Success implies concepts of togetherness. We discussed role models, and mentoring, and how to channel that to achieve our potential. Also discussed was the right and wrong way to mentor. Here are five summary tips and to-dos to kick off your goal-setting and mentoring.
- Mentoring with teeth. One of the first concepts discussed was mentoring with teeth. Is mentoring, for you, a variation of coffee talk? Or, do you have objectives in the back of your mind to help move your mentee – or yourself – up to the next level? This is one way to make sure you are mentoring the right way.
To do: Be a go getter. Remember that self-seeking behavior in finding mentors. Research shows us self-seeking behavior in finding mentors leads to higher pay and organizational status. Mentors will not arrive via stork, and, once you’ve got them – don’t drown in coffee talk.
2. Find your Five. Positive psychology and other research tell us: We’re heavily influenced by those in our sphere of influence. Hot Mommas Project research further indicates that those with five or more mentors have more confidence than those with four or fewer mentors.
To do: Fill your table with a minimum of five mentors. Not your aunt, uncle, mom, dad, and dog.
- Prune. A key part of the confidence equation for women and girls is surrounding oneself with positive people who provide positive feedback. If your “Table of Five” looks more like a general admission concert, it may be time for an evaluation.
To do: Get out the pruning shears. For a starter exercise: Consider moving people – mentally – to a different rung, versus kicking them out of your life all together.
- Do the math: The exponential impact of the Sisterhood of Success. A large, global HR study showed women to be poor self-marketers. However, something women will do – and do with fervor – is support and advocate for others. Harvard’s Hannah Riley Bowles did a study indicating that women were more likely to not only meet, but also exceed the salary levels of peers in negotiations when acting in the interests of others.
To do: Hands in. Advocate for others, support each other, the pool actually gets BIGGER. Imagine the possibilities.
- Women = Money. We discussed key stats, including
- GDP increases in every country where women entrepreneurs are supported.
- Profit increases in US companies where women were promoted on a formal executive track.
- Women make 80 to 85 percent of household purchasing decisions, whether or not you are the breadwinner.
To do: Be an ambassador, and make sure others are not missing this meeting of the economic engine which is: Women.
Last year CNN iReport featured something on the Sisterhood of Success. It ended with this call to action:
Imagine a world where your sister, daughter, or niece has a group of mentors and role models. Smart, supportive, and with their best interest at heart.
Where are examples of a Sisterhood of Success that you know about?
To do: Create one of your own.