Fabulous Four • The Modern Day Business Woman
I asked a few different groups what comes to mind when I say the term ‘Business Woman’. And needless to say, I was shocked at how many negative answers came flying my way. (stuffy – uptight – rigid – bad clothes…the list continues…) That is not what I picture when I think of a Business Woman what so ever. Some of the most phenomenal women I’ve come in contact with are indeed Business Women and by no means fall into any of those categories. It’s no longer 1985, this is 2010! The business world has changed and so have the ladies making waves……
I wanted to reach out to four other working girls, all under 30, non-married and in the beginning years of their careers for this post. I knew I couldn’t call just any group of four and see what they had to say. My Fabulous Four (as I had began to call them) had to be some pretty savvy sistas — go getters with a dash of finesse, all while rocking high heels and pencil skirts. Women who I felt really are helping to shape the Modern Day Business Woman.
And thus I chose Shauna, the Image Consultant, who went from working on an Air Force Base with her consulting business on the side, to having her AFB job eliminated, allowing her to dive full force into developing a successful and thriving consulting business full time.
Next is Christina, the Public Relations Principal who realized the mountains weren’t for her, moved back ocean-side, couldn’t find the golden opportunities in this recessionary climate and thus proceeded to form her own company & opportunities.
Then we have Kelley, often the lone girl at the conference room table, playing with the “big boys” in the world of Commercial Real Estate, but don’t worry, she’s armed with the sophistication and savviness that a large portion of those boys don’t have and has the coveted CCIM credentials to prove it.
I wouldn’t be doing this post justice if I hadn’t called Kristin, the former PR girl turned Financial Advisor – aka: jumped ship from a predominately female driven industry to a predominately male motivated industry – and who still makes time to train for marathons while navigating the roads of her new career.
I hosted these ladies for a Happy Hour to chat about being young women in the business world. I ended up with pages of notes and found myself a tad lost when I sat down to write. What I discovered, though, are a few key traits they all possessed. Certain things kept coming up in conversation, and I began to notice a few themes emerging. Forget the ideas of stuffy – uptight – rigid – bad clothes and all those other negatives. These terms are much more suitable when it comes to The Modern Day Business Woman..
For starters you must know what you’re doing. The idea of ‘fake it till you make it‘ will only get you so far. Being educated in your field is crucial. There is great value in “watching, learning, and making as many observations as you can” (Kelley). Being well informed and having a strong hold on what you’re talking about helps establish your credibility.”A big part of my job is not only educating people what I do, but educating them on an entire industry they typically know nothing about. Occasionally mistaken as a ‘glorified personal shopper’, I work hard to overcome stereotypes in my career field.” (Shauna). Stereotypes unfortunately have a habit of following us all, but the best defense for these stereotypes is being educated and well versed in your field. So ask the questions, get the information, get as much of it as you can and get it out there to others who may not know.
In order to go through the process of being well informed, you must be completely passionate about what it is you’re doing. And although it is actually “possible to be more broke than you were in college” (Shauna), truly loving what you do is essential. The good news is that “you know it won’t always be that way” (Kristin) as long as the passion and love for what you are doing and where you are going with your career is strong. Regardless, if the passion isn’t there – if the spark is gone – the drive to push yourself is weakened and you are not doing justice to yourself or to those you are serving.
If you happen to catch yourself in that position and it’s time to make a career change, or you find yourself pushed to a cross roads, go at with guns blazing. Be daring and be open. And “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” (Kristin). It can be terrifying starting out in something new, but never underestimate yourself and your capabilities. Be able to identify your strengths and “learn how to play the field and use your strengths to your advantage” (Christina). Try not to be intimidated, even if someone may “assume you’re the assistant when they first meet you” (Kelley) but instead take that opportunity to let your knowledge and skills speak for themselves.
Never be afraid to be a woman. “I’ll always wear the dress when I walk into the board room” (Christina). If it’s sending out the message you are aiming for and makes you feel confident, go for it, “use it to make them remember you” (Kelley). Too often we lose our sense of self, our own instinctive femininity when getting dressed for work. *and if you are not sure about it, we have an Image Consultant on hand 😉 True, there is a fine line which must be walked, but once mastered – never forgotten. And always, always remember:
A snap shot of today’s Modern Day Business Woman?
educated • passionate • daring • not afraid to be a woman • confident
Keeping it Classy & Always Sassy
*Thank you Shauna, Christina, Kelley and Kristin for being a part of the Fabulous Four. You have all rightfully earned your spot on The Sassy Steel Magnolia Little Red Couch! (and my apologies my camera ate the group pictures I took)