Female CEOs on how to get to the C-suite

It's not as hard to get ahead in a corporate setting as you may think. There are a few key moves that can put you on that path.

What are they?

I was fortunate enough to gleam them from some amazing women who shared their insight as panelists at a program of Women Executive Leadership on Creating The Path to the C-Suite. The women: Maria Fregosi, a senior investment banker at Catalyst Financial; Fanny Hanono, Tresurer of Perry Ellis International and Lauren Smith,  Managing Director in the Miami office of Diversified Search.

How to make yourself important

MariaMaria: (pictured) Go into something new so people have to learn from you.

Fanny: Don't walk into a meeting of all men like you have a chip on your shoulder. Men like it when you look good and can walk into a room and have something to say.

How to handle work life balance

Fanny: I walk around with a lot of guilt. I'm attached to my BlackBerry 24/7. But at my home, no one is allowed to use their phones during dinner. I have to put mine in a separate room and force myself not to think about it.


How to make time for networking

Maria: You have to make time for networking but it can't just be internal. It has to be external as well. I use LinkedIn to keep track of my network. I recommend scheduling time to network and if you get push-back tell your boss that it's an important part of your job.


Fanny: All of us only have so many hours so we have to prioritize. If you're giving up time, make sure its with someone you care about. I have lunch every day with my dad. That's a priority and I won't give it up.


How to get ahead


* Get into a profit and loss role at your company. That makes it easier to measure your value and how much you need to get paid.

* Understand numbers. You have to prove you can either make a company money or save them money.

* Marry well. I'm not saying marry for money but rather marry someone who supports you being as successful as you want to be.



* Be a pioneer in the field

*Do community service. If you make it, you need to give back.

*Realize it's better to be a peace than to be right.


How to balance being a strong woman with being too aggressive

Lauren: Some women see others as competition. Women are not always good about reaching down and pulling others up. Step back and try to find common ground.

Maria: Have a sense of humor.

The Work/Life Balancing Act

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