The road to trailblazing career woman is far from easy. After I graduated from college, I moved out of my parent’s house in New Jersey and into a very tiny apartment in New York City. It was way too expensive for my entry-level salary, but I was determined to hustle and make it work. The only problem? When it came to getting paid, I didn’t know my worth. I ended up taking freelance assignments that weren’t compensating me fairly while also working a full-time job that denied me the benefits I deserved. Even though I had prior work experience, I didn’t have the knowledge or the confidence to stand up for myself and my career.
This cycle of not fully understanding what I deserved continued to repeat itself over the years as I took on new roles at different companies. Fortunately, I met incredible mentors who helped me navigate big conversations along the way, like how to negotiate a raise. Still, I missed out on some significant opportunities. In hindsight, I wish there were some sort of guide to help me on my path.
That’s why I’m so excited about INFLUENCEHER Week this July, a two-day experience providing women with the tools necessary to navigate their professional and personal lives in an intimate, relatable, and inclusive setting. INFLUENCEHER’s programming spans throughout the whole year, but INFLUENCEHER Week is a multi-day opportunity to hear keynotes from successful women, participate in conversations about workplace innovation, and mingle with other badass, likeminded women.
To inspire your next big career decision and give you a small preview of what you'll gain from attending the Boston event, we partnered with INFLUENCEHER to share five steps you can take to become a trailblazer for women in the workplace.
1. Define What Success Means For You
Every woman has her own idea of what being ‘successful’ really is, so don't limit yourself to someone else’s definition of the word. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the idea that a particular set of steps or actions will lead you to where you want to go, but in reality, life is messy. There are often unexpected detours along the way, so what’s worked for someone else might not work for you.
By creating an individualized framework, you’ll empower other women to ditch their preconceived notions about success and blaze their own trails, too. Need inspiration? You can learn how other women are redefining the path to success at INFLUENCEHER Week’s off-the-record panel, "Everyday I’m Tech-Hustlin: Disrupting the Straight and Narrow Path to Success," featuring speakers from notable companies like Bumble and Kyruus.
2. Find A Mentor (And Then Become One)
Finding a mentor is a scary idea. You might not feel comfortable approaching a higher-up, especially if you've only been in the professional world for a few years. But the best way to gain knowledge is by collaborating with those who paved the way. And bonus: Once you have a mentor, it's the perfect opportunity to pass the torch and seek out a mentee of your own.
The opportunity to share ideas and advice is a two-way street, so embody your trailblazing status not only by passing down your wisdom but by continuing to learn! Through INFLUENCEHER Week’s "Coffee and Conversations" small group mentorship sessions, you’ll get the advice, insight, expertise and perspective required to pass the torch.
3. Talk About Money
Even though it’s been ingrained in our minds that avoiding conversations around money is the polite thing to do, sometimes you need to rock the boat. Refusing to talk financials now can lead to you getting totally blindsided down the road when it comes to heavy topics like salaries, investing and closing the gender wage gap.
Don’t be someone who misses out on crucial financial opportunities: Educate yourself (and gain the confidence to talk about a seemingly taboo topic!) at INFLUENCEHER Week’s "Redefining Your Finances: Tailoring Your Income to Your Life" workshop. Featuring Rachel Sanborn, Lead Financial Planner at Ellevest, you’ll get an IRL demo on how to best financially prepare yourself for the future.
4. Have Difficult Conversations
The thought of having a tense one-on-one with a boss is enough to make anyone cringe. But the reality is, it’s much better to face difficult conversations head-on than to avoid them or pretend they don’t exist.
There will always be workplace, ahem, issues. But you can make them less awkward by joining the "Strategies to Handling Difficult Work Conversations" workshop at INFLUENCEHER Week. By addressing discrepancies in a respectful, careful and timely manner, you’ll squash grievances before they become real problems while cultivating a more open work environment that encourages all employees — women especially — to speak up when necessary.
5. Believe In Yourself
Perhaps the most important thing you can do as a trailblazer in the workplace is believe in yourself — because if you don’t value yourself, how can you expect anyone else to value you? Years ago, not realizing my worth was my biggest mistake, and I paid for it (pun intended) by accepting less than I deserved. Today, I have the confidence to stand up for what I deserve because I believe what I have to offer is valuable.
Need a boost to help you realize your worth, or give you the confidence to share your kind-of-crazy idea? INFLUENCEHER Week’s "Using Your Purpose to Do the Impossible" with Mogul founder Tiffany Pham is not to be missed.
Feeling inspired? Put yourself first and register for two full days designed to bring your career to the next level this July 17-19 in Boston. You can access INFLUENCEHER Week's full itinerary and sign up here.
This post is sponsored by INFLUENCEHER.