I Started A Series To Help Women Navigate Their Careers — Here's What I've Learned Along The Way

By Deirdre Bolton
Tristan Fewings/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Forty percent of American women are breadwinners; they have more power and more responsibility than ever before, but when it comes to managing all the moving parts of their lives, finances included, a lot of women still feel very much alone, even if they have amazing friends and a supportive family and partner.

That's why I launched a series of specials on Fox Business Network called Women & Money with Deirdre Bolton. I built the series to connect, inspire, and provide women with useful, practical strategies; my guests are generous and share how they got from being a 21-year-old intern to becoming vice chairman of a bank.

In my own life, I would have loved to have had this kind of advice available to me. I made a career change early on that made my parents very nervous. I started my professional life on Wall Street, working on an international equities desk. I sold European equities to American institutional investors for French banks. I liked my job, but I didn't love it. Few people understood why I would leave the more lucrative field of banking for journalism.

In each special that I have done, I've asked my expert guests to put on their mentor hats and answer tricky career navigation questions such as, “I deserve to be promoted. Someone else got it. How do I handle the conversation with my boss so that I don’t sound bitter, and so I get the next one”? And in each one, I've learned something right along with my audience.

Joan Solotar, head of private wealth solutions at Blackstone, fielded that question in the series' debut episode. She says *not* to wait for a promotion to happen. She says employees need to let their bosses know beforehand that the opportunity is important to them. She says the employee will get a sense of whether a promotion is likely or not, and says one of her earliest lessons learned was asking, pre-emptively, for more responsibility.

As the cliché goes, if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.

For women who are further along in their careers, who can’t seem to break out to the next level, Carla Harris, vice chairman of global wealth management at Morgan Stanley, told me to, “…check your relationship currency. There are two types of currency. Performance currency and relationship currency. If you are a contender, your performance currency is intact. If you are having trouble breaking through, you need to create the right relationships around that opportunity”.

Recruiter Carly Drum O’Neill, of Drum Associates, answered 10 of the most difficult interview questions. Sometimes, she says, it is about re-framing a statement. Among other questions, Carly answered the dreaded, “Where do you want to be in five years”? It is difficult for anyone to field that without a crystal ball. Carly suggests re-framing by showing your successful past track record with examples of growth in task management, team management, and responsibilities. She tells candidates that it's best to let the interviewer know you can keep going on that path; show you can grow.

Switching to a brand new career in journalism ended up being the right decision for me. As the cliché goes, if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. I have loved the stories I have been part of and it has been a privilege to witness parts of history firsthand. Now, I am excited to be part of a growing community of professional women and honored to have the platform to be a connector. We are all here together; the best is yet to come.

The next special airs 9 p.m. EST on Jan. 26.