Women executives talk about the career ladder

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Asserting confidence in the workplace, balancing motherhood and a career were among the stories shared Friday by six female executives who led a panel as part of the seventh annual Women’s Leadership Symposium at TCU.

About 230 listened as panelist Amy Gowder, Vice President and General Manager of two Lockheed Martin Kelly Aviation Center locations, spoke about breaking the barriers of cultural bias.

“Societal bias is something that influences us at an early age that teaches us to be quiet and not necessarily show our talents,” Gowder said. “We have to start to fight some of those institutional biases.”

Gowder was one of six female executives who spoke of her experiences and addressed this year’s theme, “The Power of Women in the Workplace.”

For the past seven years, the Texas Diversity Council has presented the Women’s Leadership Symposium. The range of topics at this year’s symposium also included networking’s role in climbing the corporate ladder, institutional biases and societal expectations.

Wells Fargo Strategic Planning Manager Kim Cousin spoke about the pressure to be a “Superwoman” in the workplace and at home as a mother.

“The ‘Superwoman’ title is unattainable,” Cousin said. “Super women can’t exist without super help. I’ve learned to do my best for Wells Fargo and do the best for my family, and be good with that.”

Panelists respond to questions asked by audience members in addition to talking about their experiences in the workplace.
Panelists respond to questions from audience members in addition to talking about their experiences in the workplace.

 

Panelists respond to audience questions and talked about their experiences in the workplace.

Although the majority of attendees were women, there were some TCU students in attendance. Dede Williams, the director of the TCU Leadership Center, said the center buys a table at the event every year so some TCU students can attend.

“Even though it’s mainly geared towards female leaders in the community, I think this is great content for our student leaders to learn about now so they can be better prepared once they get into the workforce,” Williams said. “This is all about women empowering women. Hearing from diverse women in diverse industries allows folks in the audience to have that ‘aha’ moment.”

TCU student Faith Dickerson, double major in English and education, said she appreciated hearing insight from employers and what they are looking for.

“I’m in the process of trying to find internships and looking for post graduate plans,” Dickerson said. “It was really important for me to hear others that have had success.”

Near the end of the seminar, someone asked Winjie Tang Miao, senior vice president for Texas Health, what advice she would give to current TCU students.

“The people that I see succeeding aren’t the ones who are passionate about their careers,” Tang Miao said. “Don’t be passionate about your career, be passionate about the impact you want to have on the world and the rest will take care of itself .”