This week, we sat with our fearless leader Kara Demirjian Huss to ask for her take on women in leadership for Day of the Girl. We wanted to know what advice she had for young aspirational women.
Q: Define a great leader—what are some traits you think great leaders possess?
A: Great leaders listen. They promote collaboration and training, motivate and encourage, and communicate early and often. Great leaders have a clear vision, so it is very important that they communicate their vision well so that everyone is pushing the wheel together and understands how their roles impact the overall goals of the company.
They are thinkers and doers—activating and participating in change not just talking about it. They can be trusted and empower others effectively. Great leaders have a sense of purpose, strong values and a partnership / collaborative mindset.
Q: What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
A: First, be confident and work hard. No matter what your gender or race these are two must have characteristics. Second, find networks and mentors in and out of your business. This support network, peer-learning, and commitment to your growth will help you develop both personally and professionally.
Try to challenge yourself. Take on those hard projects. Speak with intent and build your credibility. Always be responsive. If you foster a positive , motivational can-do attitude, others notice, and you will be surprised by how much this can impact your growth.
Q: What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
A: Confidence. You have to believe in yourself. Don’t just walk into a room—walk with confidence, poise, and positivity.
It, also, depends on an individual’s mindset. Women tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves for work/life balance. This balance is for you to define—not someone else. Define your goals, believe in yourself and others, and use your resources to help you achieve your highest potential.
Q: Name a woman who inspires you and why?
A: There are so many inspirational women out there, but when I think about what impacts me, it is the women who shine with beauty and business know-how or who were able to transform change. Icons like Marilyn Monroe, Georgia O’Keefe, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Audrey Hepburn…the list goes on.
Q: What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?
A: Have all of your ducks in a row. Listen more than you talk. You were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. Make sure you have done your research and can see beyond barriers. Don’t develop tunnel vision and never burn a bridge.