September 22nd, 2014 | 6:00 am

Voice of Experience: Kelly Williams, President of Private Markets, GCM Grosvenor

kelly_williamsBy Michelle Hendelman

The pivotal moment of Kelly Williams’ career came when she was given the opportunity to step outside of her comfort zone and go in a completely new direction. “I started as a project finance lawyer in the private sector, where I was one of few women,” said Williams, who later took a position working in-house with Prudential Financial.

“Then I had the chance to move over to the business side because someone believed in me and recognized that I had the skills and ability to thrive in this new role in a different environment than what I was used to,” Williams continued.

Sometimes, according to Williams, you have to take risks and see in yourself what others see in you.

Career in Private Equity
Williams started the Customized Fund Investment Group (CFIG) in 1999 and continued to lead the group even after it was acquired by DLJ in 2000. Through CFIG, Williams designed investment portfolios for large institutional investors. Shortly after, DLJ merged with Credit Suisse and Williams moved once again along with the business unit.

“I am extremely proud of building a business with over $20 billion in assets and leading the divesture of the business from Credit Suisse to Grosvenor,” said Williams, who is leading the unit at its new home as part of GCM Grosvenor, one of the world’s largest alternative investment firms with over $45 billion assets under management.

According to Williams, alternative investments are driving major changes in the overall investment landscape as investors have expressed increased interest in backing firms led by women and minorities. She explained, “It is exciting to provide solutions for clients who are becoming more interested in investing in women and minorities.”

Williams added that one of her primary goals is to provide access to a diverse pool of managers in order to reflect investor interest. “Women and minorities represent over 50 percent of our team,” said Williams. “This is a big focus for us and I am proud that we have been able to grow the business in this direction.”

Advice for Women in the Industry
“The private equity business is a lot different than banking,” explained Williams, “because new firms are typically started by a small group of people with a pre-existing connection. So, it is often a closed network that women may not have access to.”

Keep reading »

September 19th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Woman CFO Leads in Compensation Ranking – Signal or Noise?

iStock_000015442897XSmallBy Beth Senko

A number of articles recently touted the news that for the first time, the highest paid CFO in the country was a woman.

In its fourth annual survey of CFO total compensation, The Wall Street Journal/S&P Capital IQ study placed, not one, but two women in the top 10. The study measures who got paid the most including salary, bonuses, stock awards, option awards and other compensation. Oracle’s Safra Catz topped the list of highest paid CFOs of both men and women in 2013 with total compensation of $43.6 million. Former Accenture CFO Pamela Craig placed 8th with total compensation of $12.8 million. Craig retired in August 2013.Two other women made it to the top 20. Kinder Morgan’s Kimberly Allen Dang earned $10.4 million in 2013 while Morgan Stanley’s Ruth Porat took home $10.1 million.

A Crack in the Glass Ceiling – or a Statistical Vagary?
So do the 2013 numbers reflect, as the Wall Street Journal noted, “a crack in the glass ceiling?”

Firstly, we want to acknowledge that it is the first time a female executive has held the top spot since The Wall Street Journal started tracking CFO compensation four years ago. And well played to Ms. Catz for negotiating stock option grants which made up the bulk of her compensation in both 2012 and 2013. Technology stocks in a bull market were a great move as timing is everything! In 2013, Catz earned $950,000 in salary and $42.6 million in stock options. In 2012, her stock option package was $48.3 million. However, if the survey were run in 2008-09, most of Ms. Catz’s stock options would likely be out-of-the-money. So is it a representation of a crack in the glass ceiling or simply an example of Ms. Catz stock savvy appearing to inflate the results?

Stock options made up a significant portion of executive compensation in the late 1990s. The logic behind the grants was that option awards provided top management with an added incentive to boost share price – and therefore increase shareholder value. While a straightforward stock grant, whether restricted or not, also provides an incentive to boost stock performance, the effect is magnified in a stock option award. If, for example, a stock doubles in value during the year from $10 to $20, an option that starts trading at $2 might increase five-fold, ten-fold or more, during the same period.

In high-flying times, stock option supporters contend that executives should only be rewarded for the incremental value they create. Whereas a stock award loses a portion of its value if a stock price declines, the value of a stock option can easily become worthless if a company’s stock price declines. Critics of stock option awards point out that options focus on the future and do not reward executives for preserving company value and may contribute to short-term, risky behavior.

Therefore market conditions can significantly affect the rankings. The run-up in technology and media stocks in the past year may well explain why half of the highest paid CFOs in 2013 come from these sectors.

On a simple salary basis, Accenture’s Craig was the highest paid woman at $1.2 million, ranking 13th overall. Morgan Stanley’s Porat came in 20th using the same metric. Oracle’s Catz comes in 31st. So are we making progress or not?

The Bigger Picture
Like many surveys and rankings, the CFO compensation survey, the attention-grabbing headline of “Two Women Crack Top 10 in CFO Pay” certainly makes it seem like women are advancing. The question that really matters is pipeline; are we going to see parity in the next few years, four to five women in the top 10?

Keep reading »

September 18th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Movers and Shakers: Esther Yang, Vice President and Senior Trader-Derivatives at Voya Investment Management, formerly ING U.S. Investment Management

EY smallBy Beth Senko

In a recent round-table of derivative portfolio managers of the largest insurance companies, Esther Yang found herself being the only female among this male dominated profession. How did she get to where she is now?

Esther Yang did not have a conventional route to success in financial services. In fact, she didn’t begin college or her career with intentions of entering the field at all. However, Yang used her instincts and willingness to try new things to guide her into the position she currently holds.

From Biology to Math
Yang started out with the goal of being a biologist. While studying at Peking University she discovered that while she was fascinated by theory, she was not as interested, or skilled, in the more practical laboratory work. “I was too clumsy!” Yang remarked. But she persevered, graduating with a degree in molecular biology.

Shortly thereafter, she moved from China to Canada to get married to her fiancé. It was a time of unrest after China’s student protests in 1989 and Yang was excited to start a new family in a new country.

After moving to Canada, at the age of 23, Yang was a busy first-time mother and felt frustrated by the poor prospects of finding work in biology. Searching for a new career, Yang learned about actuarial science, so she decided to enter this new field by pursuing a new degree.

So with one toddler (and one on the way), Yang completed a masters in actuarial science at the University of Waterloo in Canada. She delivered her thesis and her second child within the span of the same week in July 1997.

Career Beginnings
Yang’s family soon moved from Canada to the U.S. – Chicago to be precise. Armed with her newly-minted degree, she found her first actuarial job with a health insurer – a job like many first jobs that wasn’t particularly interesting or challenging. “It was a lot of data entry.” She found the pace too slow and too confining for her natural curiosity. Soon she knew she had outgrown the role and started looking for her next move.

Through a friend, she learned of an opportunity working on asset liability management issues for a large insurer in Chicago. She described the role as “closer to what I wanted but still not my dream job.” But proving that good things can come out of a not-quite-right situation, while working in this job, Yang found both a mentor and the type of work she wanted to do.

She recalls, “I worked hard to obtain my actuarial accreditation. As the final requirement I had to come up with a project and find an actuary who would oversee my project.” Yang found her mentor in an actuary working in the derivatives unit of the insurer. In her first meeting with her mentor, Yang was convinced that capital markets were her calling. “Soon a position became available in my mentor’s group; I applied and got the job!”

Her capital markets tenure in Chicago ended when Yang and her family moved to Atlanta and she found her position at Voya Investment Management. Yang recalls, “I applied to Voya when I first got to Atlanta. They didn’t have a role for me at the time, but I knew it was where I wanted to be.” While waiting for a suitable position to open up, Yang spent time working for a large consulting firm (which she described as really exciting but with an “overwhelming amount of travel”) and as an independent consultant. Yang knew that a corporate role where she could balance family and work was best for her, and when Voya Investment Management called with an opening in 2006, all the pieces came together.

Eight Years and Going Strong
Since 2006, Yang has been thriving in her work, “even under a very volatile market environment, I can handle it with calmness and endurance.” Yang recalled her most challenging days during the financial crisis.

Yang is celebrating eight years at Voya Investment Management and says that she remains happy and challenged in her role as a senior trader on the derivatives desk of the global rates team. Every year, the derivatives desk sees hundreds of billion dollar flows of different types of derivatives, and executes a trade every few minutes.

She relishes being close to the markets because “everything is always changing.” She is constantly learning new things and is fascinated by the “intricacy of the changing market dynamics.”

Yang likes the added opportunity and challenges of working for a firm that is building on its recent independence (IPO) as it gives her the chance to try new strategies and see how they can help grow the business. “I not only have the pleasure of working with a great team but they are also very supportive of work/life balance, which I have found key to my success.”

Advice for Other Women
“Pursue your dream” says Yang. She believes that the biggest hurdles for women are often psychological. “Focus on the dream, not the difficulty. Take whatever steps you can, no matter how small.”

She urges women who want to succeed in business to follow the words of Steve Jobs and “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” She feels it is important to never lose one’s curiosity.

Outside the Office
But even with demands at work and home, Yang finds time for herself. She swims whenever she has the chance and loves to read. Her family also participates in a Christian outreach program for international students in Atlanta, helping the students to adapt and succeed in a new country.

Throughout our discussion, Yang brought up how having a supportive spouse is invaluable. And in case one might think that her career is made easier by having college-aged children, Yang and her husband had two more little girls since she joined Voya Investment Management and they now have a three year old and a one year old in the house.

September 17th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Women as Leaders: What Is Different about Leading Other Women?

Two female friends talking.Guest Contribution by Anne Litwin, PhD

“I worked for a woman who was more task focused, which made it real uncomfortable for me. When a guy does that [is task focused], it doesn’t bother me as much.” (Financial Services Manager)

I heard this kind of statement often from the women in my research on women’s relationships in the workplace. This research, involving women from many professions and countries, shows that many women have different expectations of how female leaders should behave. Women also often report preferring to work for men, which could be a significant problem for our careers if almost half of the workforce does not want to be led by us.

The plethora of books about how to be an effective leader rarely acknowledge that women often need one leadership style for leading men and a different style for leading women, while men can use the same style effectively with both genders. For example, many of my female clients have complained that they have more difficulty getting things done when supervising female staff than their male colleagues do. What works for the men in motivating female staff often doesn’t work for them.

Where do these different expectations come from? My research reveals that women expect more from a relationship with female leaders; these relational expectations reflect something I call women’s friendship rules. Women’s relational expectations of female leaders include their building connection and trust through sharing and listening. Yet the masculine norms of most workplaces discourage relationship work as a “waste of time” or “coddling” and instead value task focus and autonomy. A woman engineer recently told me that she received a lower performance rating than she thought she deserved and was told that she spends too much time chatting with her staff, listening to them, and asking for their input. She was told that to prove herself ready for advancement, she has to demonstrate toughness and stop coddling her predominantly female staff. Her team’s results were terrific, but her style did not match the company norm for effective leadership. Her superiors did not understand that she was doing what she had to do to get the results she got.

It might seem that the simplest action you can take is to adopt a masculine style and stay aloof from your employees. However, scholars show the importance of relational skills for effective leadership, and staying aloof can backfire for a female leader. Not only might it set up the other women at your workplace to feel uncomfortable with you, as described in the opening statement, but it might also demotivate them and affect their productivity.

Of course, not all women report that they dislike having female bosses. Many women in my study and many female clients report feeling supported by female leaders in a way they do not experience with men. For example, these women said that their female leaders are more understanding about their struggles with deciding when to start a family or their needing time off for children’s events.

Three Tips for Leading Women
Here are some actions you can take to address your staff’s expectations:

Keep reading »

September 16th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Ethics at Work: Are Women Generally More Ethical than Men in the Workplace?

iStock_000006954519XSmallBy Louise Ogunseitan

With ethics and codes of conduct being so pivotal to the internal success of companies, industries and consumer based trust – a heavy onus is on organisations to foster a culture that nurtures and promotes adherence to them irrespective of gender. However, there has been many articles written about one gender being more ethical than the other; women over men.

A recent conversation between Shakar Vendatam and David Greene on NPR suggests that men tend to ‘have more lenient ethical standards than women’ and The Guardian goes further to explore the constructs that encourage men to bend the rules more frequently.

We have to wonder; do we run the risk of giving free license for our male counterparts to blame unethical behaviors on their gender? Likewise do we give women leverage to operate from a moral high ground as the ethical ‘light-bearers’ of society which inadvertently extends to the workplace?

The Glass Hammer explored this topic in 2013 when we looked at research out of University of California, Berkeley by Jessica A. Kennedy and Laura J. Kray which looks at how when women perceive a departure from a code of conduct, they are less likely to want to be part of it.

Why this matters for you as a leader?
In today’s current economic climate where consumer trust is at a low, establishing a code of conduct or ethical standards within an organisation couldn’t be more important for three main reasons.

• It provides a unified and universal standard on what is considered right and wrong behaviours for an organisation.
• It builds trust among colleagues within organisation.
• It promotes trust from the consumer base.

The Gender Issue
So workplace ethics are a big deal. Yet research is suggesting that men do not regard them as highly as women. Not only has research found that women are less willing to compromise ethical standards for career success, but that they are also more likely to believe that corporate ethical codes would make a positive difference. Last year, a research team at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School released a study where men and women were provided a series of fictitious job descriptions which they had to evaluate. Each job description included an ethics component and the outcome showed that women are less willing to sacrifice ethical values for money and social status and that women associate business with immorality more strongly. Could this be one of the reasons why globally, women still make up only approximately 9% of corporate board memberships?

Keep reading »

September 15th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Voice of Experience: Carin Pai, Executive Vice President, Fiduciary Trust

:ÌpBy Michelle Hendelman

When Carin Pai joined Fiduciary Trust 18 years ago in an associate- level position within the Investment department, she knew that she was an analytical person who had a strong creative side as well. These skills, along with a strong work ethic and circle of mentors have set a strong foundation for Pai’s rewarding career.

“I studied architecture at Brooklyn Technical High School and loved the combination of the artistic and technical elements,” explained Pai, who said she enjoys this same balance in her current role as executive vice president and director of equity management.

A Committed Leader
Throughout her career Ms. Pai has remained committed to broadening her investment management and leadership skills: in 2006 she became a Chartered Financial Analyst and then in 2011 she attended Harvard Business School’s Executive Education in Investment Management program.

Leading and managing her team of portfolio managers is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job, Pai said. She is especially proud of the fact that in spite of the market turmoil in recent years, she successfully guided her team and their clients through and the group is now reaching new highs.

Although she acknowledged that there can be challenges of leading a multi-generational team, Pai enjoys discovering new ways to be an effective leader and utilize the individual strengths and talents of everyone on her team. “It is a very dynamic environment where it is important to strike a balance between motivating senior professionals and mentoring the rising stars,” she explained.

According to Pai, the team-centric environment promoted by the leaders at her firm creates a wonderful company culture where everyone knows they are appreciated. “As many companies have been forced to make job cuts throughout the market downturn, Fiduciary Trust has emerged with new technologies, resources and talent to provide our clients with the best investment solutions,” she explained.

One of the newest investment avenues Pai and her team are following is ESG investing, which stands for Environmental, Social and Government investing. “ESG awareness can go a long way with investors who are committed to these issues,” said Pai. Right now, Pai is conducting extensive research in this area to gauge client interest. “If ESG is ranking high among our clients, then we will respond by dedicating more resources to this new alternative investment channel,” she added.

Another area of interest, Pai indicated, is to expand opportunities in the global high net worth markets, such as Asia and Latin America. “Asia, for example, represents one of the highest growth segments currently and we are strategizing on how to expand our presence in Asia,” Pai explained. She will be attending the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (“STEP”) Asia Conference in Hong Kong this fall in order to stay on top of Asia’s rapidly-evolving wealth management landscape.

Keep reading »

September 12th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Emerging Manager Mandates Grow but Getting Funded Remains a Challenge

iStock_000002351861XSmallBy Beth Senko

Demand for emerging managers has grown for both altruistic and pure profit-making goals. From a social good standpoint, publicly-held pensions and investment funds reach out to emerging fund managers and brokerages as a way of selecting managers that represent the diversity of their beneficiaries. At the same time, investors are looking to emerging managers as a way of increasing their returns. The challenge seems to be getting the funds into the hands of the emerging managers.

An increasing number of states, municipalities and other public pensions, have emerging manager mandates. Each week, Crain’s Pensions & Investments, lists new manager searches from an array of funds. In just the past few months, funds that have added or are searching for emerging managers include: New York City Pension Fund, St. Louis Employees, Illinois Investment Board and CALPERS. According to a study by KPMG (formerly Rothstein Kass), Women In Alternative Investments: A Marathon Not a Sprint, the number of funds with emerging manager mandates continues to grow; however, implementing these mandates appears to be more of a challenge.

The study notes that most funding for women-owned-and-managed funds comes from high-net-worth individuals and family offices despite growth in the number of mandates at pensions and endowments. The study’s authors comment, “while perhaps not as speedy as some would like, diversity mandates, as well as demonstrated outperformance by women managers, are driving investors to increase allocations to women-run funds. In fact, nearly 25 percent of the investors polled for this report indicated they would increase their allocations to women-owned or-managed funds in the coming year by some margin.”

Is funding a supply problem?
In its 2013 study, Women in Alternative Investments: Building Momentum in 2013 and Beyond, the study’s authors noted that of the 366 women polled, only 5% had received emerging manager funding despite the number of mandates. That number improved somewhat in 2014’s study to 8.5%, but the study did not look at the size of that funding – suggesting that funding levels may still be quite low, even at firms receiving emerging manager funding.

At the same time, the vast majority of investors surveyed, (93%) have no mandate to invest in women-owned or –managed funds. The primary reason given was “lack of supply.”

Kelly Easterling, formerly a principal at Rothstein Kass (now part of KPMG) comments in the report, “Investors and women-owned and -managed funds are faced with an interesting dilemma of which comes first, the chicken or the egg. One of the reasons that investors are not able to invest in diversity funds is the lack of diversity funds available for investment. Without a large supply of funds, it’s difficult to achieve appropriate portfolio diversification or, for that matter, put enough money to work to move the performance dial. On the other hand, until there is more money flowing to women-owned and -managed funds, it’s unlikely that there will be a stampede of new fund launches. Unfortunately, that paradox slows the process down for both sides of the equation.”

Or a structural issue?
In our view, however, a “lack of supply” is too simplistic an answer to the gap between emerging manager mandates and funding. Differences in scale seem to be one aspect of this disconnect.

Keep reading »

September 11th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Movers and Shakers – Peg DiOrio, Vice President and Quantitative Analyst for the Portfolio Engineering Group at Voya Investment Management, formerly ING U.S. Investment Management

DiOrio_Peg_337x500By Beth Senko

When Voya’s Peg DiOrio describes the keys to her success overseeing quant for an entire group of investment managers, she uses a sailing analogy. “When you are part of a sailing crew, you have a job and you rely on others to do theirs. To be successful in business, you have to both respect and rely on your colleagues.”

Career Beginnings
Peg DiOrio taught high school math when she graduated college. As the newest teacher in school, she was assigned to some of the most challenging students. “One of my first classes was filled with high school seniors who were taking ninth grade math for the third and fourth time. They weren’t the most enthusiastic students, but it allowed me to try a lot of different ways to reach them. It taught me the importance of understanding my audience.”

In order to advance in the teaching profession, Peg had to get a masters degree. She enrolled in a then-new joint program between New York University’s Stern School of Business and the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. DiOrio recalls, “Courant had long relied on training Department of Defense types in its masters programs.” When that source began to dry up, Courant looked for new opportunities for mathematical sciences and found it in the finance world. “I think the program is now called financial engineering,” DiOrio commented, but back then financial quant work was just getting recognized as a discipline.

There wasn’t a huge amount of academic work devoted to the finance and mathematics at the time, so she and her cohorts studied mathematical models from a range of other disciplines – physical sciences, social sciences, etc. “We studied models that described fish populations, neural networks and flu outbreaks.” She believes that applying math to a range of situations has been really useful in creating financial models that work in the real world.

“Finance is Just Math”
Peg’s study group at Courant included a student who was working at Sanford C. Bernstein. Her cohort’s commitment to developing models that accurately described the real world and his willingness to push for the best possible solution were inspiring. One day he told her, “You are smart. You should come work at Bernstein.”

Peg was intrigued, but a bit concerned that she lacked an understanding of finance. Her studies were in pure math and applied math. To that point her cohort said, “Finance is just math. You’ll figure it out.”

Learning Finance through Experience and Collaboration
Peg was assigned to work with a group of financial advisors who managed money for Bernstein’s high net worth clients. Part of her role was to run statistical reports for clients. “Some of our clients were unusual trusts – such as nuclear decommissioning trusts. It was a challenge because the goal was to have enough money to decommission the plant but not extra because additional funds would have to be returned to utility customers. It was also interesting because it was a time when decommissioning trusts were finally allowed to be invested in stocks. “We spent a lot of time looking at the right level of volatility.”

Keep reading »

September 10th, 2014 | 6:00 am

The Future is Now: Seven Recommendations for Leadership Success

rsz_2goldnerGuest Contribution by Dr. Jane Goldner

In 2002, a colleague, Chris Gilliam, and I wrote a white paper about what big and small companies can learn from each other. During the research phase, we surfaced the book, Rethinking the Future by Rowan Gibson, published in 1998. Gibson predicted that there would be a world where:

• Competition will be fierce and markets will be merciless
• Small companies will outsmart giant corporations on a global scale
• Customers will have infinite access to products, services & information.

In our white paper, based on research and interviews of C-Suite and senior-level leaders, we made the following recommendations for business success in the world that Gibson predicted and has become reality. They are still good advice for leaders today.

1. CEOs must have a purpose/mission and a vision for her company; why does it exist and where is it going? Along with values, these two “must-haves” are the Core that provides unity across silos that gets everyone focused on corporate goals. Here is why you need a well-defined company Core:

• It’s the foundation for all your decision-making, your true north against which everything is assessed.
• It provides a clear, common focus and direction for everyone in your company as long as it is clearly communicated.

2. The CEO needs to know her own strengths and weaknesses in order to surround herself with people on the leadership team who bring different competencies to the table. Too often, leaders hire in their own image which magnifies both the hiring leader’s strengths as well as the weaknesses, which leads to less effective decisions. Different is good to avoid group think by getting varying points of view. Considering the talent pool today and wanting to win the talent war, you will need to hire with diversity in mind.

As you hire leaders, they should have the competencies that are dictated by the company Core. What skills, abilities, and characteristics does a leader need to work the mission, help the company move toward its vision, and act on the values?

3. Together, the leadership team must create a strategic framework, a plan for the future that provides a ‘picture frame’ for others in the company who can paint the picture of how the company will get there. The picture frame provides the limiting outer edges but also the freedom and creativity in the inner space for employees to do their best work. The Strategic Framework should be developed as a reflection of the company Core and remain a fluid document that is reviewed on an ongoing basis. What strategies, goals and actions do you need to take so that you are working the mission, moving toward the vision and acting on the values? It ought to be cascaded throughout the company so that:

• Everyone knows how they contribute and
• Can ask and answer the strategic thinking question: “How is what I am doing in my job today going to affect the company tomorrow?”

4. Based on the plan, core competencies need to be defined. What skills and abilities does the company need to get it successfully into the future? Global Leadership, cross-culture appreciation, technology savvy, and the ability to share or step-up to leadership are but a few examples. Gary Hamel, the most influential business consultant according to the Wall Street Journal & Fortune, said that

• In the future, “…every employee will have a Leadership score.”
• “…your company will be challenged to change in a way for which there is no precedent.”

In this fast-paced, lean organization environment, everyone needs to be a leader, even if it is a leader in their own job.

Keep reading »

September 9th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Three Top Tips to having a Thriving Career in your 20’s

iStock_000013311579XSmallBy Jessica Titlebaum understands that whilst you are building your career, you are also building and managing your life. So many of us are working harder than ever in our twenties and early thirties and we want to give you tips to find the balance between work and play.

Tip 1: Think about what job you want and the job after that one.
Rae Liu is a 28-year-old graduate student of Illinois Institute of Technology. She came to Chicago from China, where she grew up and where her parents were magazine editors.

Liu on the other hand was always interested in the financial services space. She heard Chicago had a healthy financial industry and liked the location, which is “on the shore of the 5 great lakes.”

After graduating with a Masters of Science in Finance, she reached out to her circle of friends and professors to assist her in her job search. After gaining intern experience preparing financial reports and analyzing consumer data, she landed a job as a risk analyst.

Two years later, Liu’s current company, which provides capital, expertise and infrastructure services, advertised an opening. The job entailed studying sales and marketing-related behaviors through customer insights and analytics. Liu applied for the job and received an offer.

Liu has been in her current role for about two years and enjoys the work. She believes she has found her dream job. Fortunately, the career challenges don’t end there. Liu wants to move up at the company and she is in the process of identifying her competitive edge and says she wants to go that extra mile.

“I am looking for projects that will help me gain experience,” she said. “I want to work with different parts of the organization to help me acquire more knowledge and grow professionally.”

When times get stressful, Liu said that it is important to have like-minded people to lean on.

“I still lean on friends when I get discouraged,” Liu said. “My support system is strong, driven and hardworking.”

Tip 2: Speak your truth and look for a promotion inside your current company.
Despite research citing that changing jobs is better for your career, it can also be a good strategy to have the confidence to speak to your employer about moving up at your current company. This was the case for Mary Traina author of book The 20-Something Guide to Getting It Together.

“I felt like I was chickening out because I was looking for the better job elsewhere but not speaking up where I was currently working,” she said. “I felt like I was in a rut.”

Traina who is a producer and writer for the SyFy Channel as well as a regular writer for HelloGiggles tells us what finally gave her the kick in the pants she needed to jump start her career

“When it comes to establishing your career, there are things you need to do but you don’t know what they are,” said Traina.

Traina herself cites that making pathways for other women is an important task and advises you to do it in any way that makes sense to you.

Keep reading »