In my previous Sales life, I was sometimes asked to mentor women in Sales; twenty- five years ago in electrical, that did not happen often. When I did work with women, I consistently told them two things:
· When you are in a meeting situation and have a good idea or solution, put your hand up. Share it.
· When you share your thoughts, DO NOT APOLOGIZE; as in, “I’m sorry, but I think…”
I was very lucky when I started out (more years ago than I care to say). I was raised by a Marine Corp drill instructor who expected everyone to try their hardest, do their best, and speak for themselves.
My Dad’s professional life, and many of his friends, was also in Sales. Those men taught me to watch how men conduct themselves in business situations. I remember one man telling me, “Jen, you should emulate the best and exploit the rest.”
Men do not apologize for their ideas- especially when presenting. Men do not hold back in meetings or bull pen sessions. They put their ideas forward. They have been taught from an early age to be competitive, and that it’s not personal.
If you don’t have my dad and his friends, you want to look for a forward thinking company like Legrand. They have a program called Elle@Legrand, founded by Legrand Group in France, built to mentor and empower their female workforce.
Recognizing that a diverse workforce is a strong workforce, Legrand wants to make sure that women who want a career with them are given the tools to grow product knowledge, corporate culture, negotiating skills, personal branding, and financial acumen.
Check them out at https://www.legrand.us/elle.aspx
Merci Legrand- je t’adore.
Business Development, Independent Electrical Contractors Chesapeake/ IECC