Author Archives: Vivian Blade

Women of Color Navigating the Career Environment: Using Male Dominated Strategies to “FuelForward”

By: Vonya Hodrick & Vivian Blade

Published by: National Career Development Association (NCDA)

The article, Women of Color Navigating the Career Environment: Using Male Dominated Strategies to “FuelForward”, by Vonya Hodrick & Vivian Blade, originally appeared in NCDA’s web magazine, Career Convergence, at www.ncda.org. Copyright © June 2019. Reprinted with permission.

The career environment is complex, with formal and informal processes and networks, as well as plenty of office politics. Yet, professional women of color are missing critical relationships to enable success in their careers. These women must have influencers in their network to help navigate this environment and to help pull them through the ranks.

It is crucial for women of color to create and maintain networks to advance their careers. Women in general tend to have smaller networks of deeper relationships, choosing to primarily have people in their networks who share their value system as compared to men who view their networks more opportunistically, often as a way to advance in their careers.

LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company (2018) found in their major new study— with almost 30,000 employees across 118 companies — that women’s odds of advancement are 15% lower than men’s. For women of color the disparity in the opportunities for advancement is even greater. One reason the study cites is that women and men have very different networks.

Another reason is often that women do not have equal time to build and nurture these relationships. For example, women still carry a disproportionate burden of housework, childcare and elder care responsibilities, leaving men with more time to develop relationships on evenings and weekends.

Men also have more time for what researchers Monica Forret & Thomas Dougherty (2001) found in a landmark study to be two of the most powerful networking strategies:….

Continue reading the full article in the NCDA Career Convergence Web Magazine.

There are steps you can take now that can change the trajectory for your career and if you want them then don’t forget to…

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Reject The Limitations

“Your daughter won’t do well in math. She should plan to be a teacher or a secretary.”

“Welcome back! Charles was promoted into that role while you were on maternity leave.”

“We’d like to see you get more operations experience before you’ll be ready for this position.”

These are statements from just a few of the stories women share with me about the barriers they face in their careers. Like these women, people place limitations on you that deplete your confidence and slow your progress. 

In fact, a 2018 tech industry study by Brandon Hall Group found that women are less optimistic and more pessimistic than men in their chances at being promoted to senior levels in their career. 44% of women said they were confident or highly confident they could advance to more senior levels of leadership compared to 61% of men. And, 32.4% of women responded that they were actually pessimistic about their chances to advance, compared to only 19.6% of men.

The track record for the advancement of women into and through the leadership pipeline makes it tough to be optimistic about your chances to be promoted. Even opportunities to move into lateral positions that expand your experience and skillset are often limited for women, especially in technical fields.

Don’t allow these limitations to define your potential! Women have got to use their inner power to be resilient when the odds are against you. Your best defense is to play offense. When you have the ball, you have the power to push through. You have more control when you run your playbook.

When I’m speaking at conferences and talking with professional women, or working with my coaching clients, they often tell me that they feel stuck. They don’t know what actions to take in order to change the game.

Do you feel stuck? Uncertain about how to create and run your playbook?

How can you get to the point where you can say “Yes, I am highly confident that I can advance to more senior levels of leadership in my career!”

There’s no silver bullet, but there are steps you can take now that can change the trajectory for your career.

Download my free guide to discover the 7 Steps To Advance Your Leadership Career