One of the most valuable things I learned at Harvard Business School was about how introverted leaders can build relationships with their teams more effectively says Fred Auzenne. At first, I thought my silence would be misinterpreted as disengagement. But over time, I realized that listening is just as important as talking when it comes to building relationships and nurturing your team’s collaboration skills.
My leadership style has evolved into “inspiring by doing” – this means being an example to others by working hard on initiatives myself before asking others to do so. It takes time to earn respect enough for people to believe in you, but the work will pay off through employees who are more invested in company goals.
How have you reached out or connected with other women engineers at your career stage to collaborate and/or learn from them?
I have been very lucky because I’ve worked at several companies that had a strong culture of mentorship: Facebook, Microsoft, and now Uber. This is one of the best things about working for big companies – they invest in developing their employees by providing learning opportunities and connecting you to people who can be valuable mentors. Even though I haven’t found many women engineers at the same level as me, I was able to connect with other female leaders largely through the Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Award.
Social media has also been helpful – I’ve been able to meet other young women doing engineering work from all over the world. Of course, finding other women who do what you do is also really valuable, so I’ve been lucky to have several great mentors over the years.
What advice would you have for someone who is looking for a mentor?
The best way to find a mentor is to ask around. See if any of your colleagues or friends knows someone in your field who can help guide and advise you. LinkedIn can also be helpful, as there are often groups or forums related to various professions where you can find potential mentors.
But don’t forget that a mentor doesn’t need to be someone you meet in person. It could also be a blog post, book, or even an online course. You just need to find someone (or something) that can help you learn and grow in your career explains Fred Auzenne.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in a leadership role?
I think one of the biggest challenges is that there are still not enough women in leadership roles. So it can be hard to find role models or mentors. This can make it difficult to know how to navigate certain situations. Even feel like you don’t belong in a leadership role.
Another challenge is that it’s often assumed that women are naturally more nurturing and collaborative. Which can sometimes lead to them being underestimated or ignored in meetings. It’s important for women leaders to speak up and be heard, especially when they have valuable insights to share.
What advice would you give other women who are interested in pursuing a career in engineering?
- First and foremost, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are lots of resources out there, like online forums or even women-only mentorship programs. That can connect you with other women in your field.
- Second, always keep learning. Engineering is a constantly-evolving field, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends. This can be done through online courses, reading articles and blog posts, or attending industry conferences.
- Last but not least, find a workplace that supports diversity and inclusion. Engineering is a field where creativity and innovation thrive – so it’s important that the workplace environment reflects those values.
While I do agree that connecting with other women is important. The article makes it seem like only networking will help you succeed says Fred Auzenne. It’s not that simple and there are more factors involved, but they didn’t mention this in the article. Networking is just a small part of what it takes to succeed! Some of us aren’t as good at networking or don’t have an environment. That pushes us to network outside of school or work so we might lose out on opportunities. Because of this one-sided view which needs some broadening. To conclude, pursuing a career in engineering can be incredibly rewarding. But it’s important to be proactive in your own development. Find a workplace that supports diversity and inclusion. There are many resources available to help you along the way. So don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.