Professional Development, Issue 5


⋆Reflection: Females in the workplace | Nicole Becker
⋆10 Tips for graduates | Lean In
⋆MAKERS: Women who make America
⋆TED Talk: Why we have too few women leaders

Reflection: Females in the workplace | Nicole Becker

I never thought that being a female was a characteristic that would stand in my way of success. I can carry on a conversation about football and stand my ground in a professional situation.  Throughout my childhood I always thought that being a girl was what made me stand out.  But after a certain interview a few winters ago, I realized that “standing out” was not always a good thing.

During 2012 I had an interview in Chicago with a company that will remain unnamed.  I wore my typical interview outfit at the time:  black suit, pearl necklace, and a bright pink shirt.  Although I had always been told to wear a plain white shirt to interviews, I have never really been a “plain” girl.  That morning I felt confident and ready for a day of pure schmoozing.  I sat in a small room for much of the morning, being passed from one interviewer to another.  As the last interviewer entered the room, I could tell the immediate judgment he was passing on me.  What he saw on the outside was a blonde hair, pink-shirt-wearing bimbo.  And, that is exactly the way he treated me.  He asked me basic questions and talked to me like I was a complete idiot.  He seemed skeptical, certain that a girl (who looked and dressed like me) could not possibly have a resume of that caliber.

I counted down the minutes until the interview was over, fuming and outraged.  Never before had I been treated that way or at least to my face.  Although the trip to Chicago ended with an internship offer, I declined.  The thought of spending another moment with that man, or anyone like him, made my skin crawl.

That interview was a learning experience for me.  For the first time I saw my gender as a challenge that I would spend the rest of my life overcoming.  Sheryl Sandberg has been an inspiration to me since this experience.  She shows women how to navigate the workplace like a man.  She just released her second book this spring, “Lean in for Graduates.”  My primary project this coming semester is to start a Lean In Circle within PSE which will be open to students in all other FSB organizations.  This will be a network that pushes and inspires.  Please send me an email if you are interested in getting involved.

Love and Honor,


10 Tips for graduates | Lean In

  1. Adopt the mantra “Proceed and be bold.” – Take chances, stand out, do not fear what could happen.
  2. Shift from a “what do I get” to a “what can I offer?” mindset- Always put the company’s needs in front of our own.
  3. Negotiate- wisely! – Do not shy away from asking for a pay raise. Females continue to lag behind men in pay just because females are too scared to ask for more.  Nothing will hurt in asking!
  4. Break long-term goals into short-term steps- Think BIG but break those goals into smaller, more managable, steps.
  5. Sit at the table- Always be confident in your work and in yourself. Do not underestimate your abilities and skills.
  6. Listen to your inner voice- Your inner voice is usually right, so listen.
  7. Don’t ask “Will you be my mentor?”- Find mentors in an assortment of places: at work, at school, at home, and with friends.  Lean on these people to excel.
  8. Understand and challenge gender bias- Learn to have thick skin and realize that you will not always be liked. If you seem aggressive, keep going, you are doing what is right.
  9. Make your partner a real partner – Find someone who will split responsibilities and is willing to push you toward success.
  10. Don’t leave before you leave- women often start making major career decisions based upon family expectations BEFORE they even are married. Stay committed to your career and do not make decisions now in response to something that could happen in the future.

To read more visit

Inspirational clips to watch: 

MAKERS: Women who make America

Why we have too few women leaders | Sheryl Sandberg



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