Women's Leadership Conference

7 Leaders Share their Best Advice for Building the Perfect Career

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

On April 24, nearly 450 professionals gathered at the Carlson School for the 11th annual Women’s Leadership Conference. Attendees enjoyed energizing presentations from business leaders; and took part in 26 breakout sessions designed to impart fresh knowledge, offer new tools to address tough business challenges, and foster networking.

The next Women's Leadership Conference is scheduled for April 29, 2016.

Read on for some key takeaways from the sold-out conference.

Lean on your team to maintain your momentum

“At work, we forget how to be vulnerable. I’m not superwoman all the time, and I need other people to come alongside me and reignite my fire sometimes. We do that for each other all the time, and it’s an amazing thing. We inspire the community, and the community inspires us.”

—Sondra Samuels
President and CEO, Northside Achievement Zone

Nail your next negotiation with the 80/20 rule

“Negotiation is both a form of art and science, and good negotiators reap countless benefits. If you are prepared to make the first offer, you will be in a better position in a negotiation. But you need to do your research to inform that offer. Use the 80/20 rule. Of the time the negotiation takes, you should spend 80 percent of the time preparing, and 20 percent negotiating. If the negotiation takes one hour, you should spend four hours doing research and preparing.”

—Margaret Anderson Kelliher
President and CEO, Minnesota High Tech Association

Bring your personal life to work

“You don’t completely disconnect who you are when you go to work. Things in your personal life impact how you manage people. Know your team, beyond what they do at work: you should know who went to see a movie last night, what their kid’s names are, when someone they love dies. It’s not just what you do at work that influences how you’re viewed as a leader.”

—Ann Mamer Lloyd, ’97 MBA
Vice President of Marketing, Ecolab

Seek out a culture that excites you

"Find an organization that fits your personality. And if you can't find one, don't be afraid to create your own.”

—Judy Jossi
Owner, Slice Consulting

Take time to rest and recover

“It’s OK to back away from your career and stabilize yourself. I look back at my career, and there are projects where I’m working like crazy, but then there are times when I was stepping back and letting my team step in. If you don’t get that time to recover, you can’t put your full power in. That rest and recovery time is so important for us.”

—Susan Strubel, ’12 MBA
Associate CIO, University of Minnesota 

Build an organization that lives its values

“Make the right thing easy to do.”

—George Halvorson
Chair and CEO, Institute for InterGroup Understanding

Speak up about your successes

“For women especially, we are reluctant to talk about our successes or let people know what our strengths are. But we must share our accomplishments throughout our networks, or else they will become invisible.”

—Sri Zaheer
Dean, Carlson School of Management
Elmer L. Andersen Chair in Global Corporate Social Responsibility