Women need advocacy and support at each stage of their careers. While the number of females in management positions is growing, women still have fewer role models and mentors than men. That’s why the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business hosts Women Leading Women, celebrating an inspirational female trailblazer in the business world.
Now in its fourth year, Women Leading Women is an event for, by and about women, and presents opportunities to discover common ground and make lasting connections. This year’s honoree was Andrea Brody ’87, senior vice president of global marketing at BravoSolution.
On March 23, 2015, she spoke to a packed house of women at all stages in their careers at the event moderated by Vice Dean Joyce E. A. Russell and presented by Smith’s Office of Alumni Relations.
Brody, who recently joined BravoSolution, has more than 25 years of marketing experience. She has worked for high-tech companies, both small and large, national and global. Prior to joining BravoSolution, she worked for OpenText GXS, MERANT, GE Information Services and Cybercash. She has a proven track record for delivering results in marketing, sales, strategic planning, product management and business development.
At Women Leading Women, Brody talked about empowering women to self promote.
“I think a lot of women tend to not speak out or speak up – they won’t self promote. I have to overcome this, too,” she said. “Men do a great job at it – they do it naturally. We tend to wait to be acknowledged, but you can’t wait for that – men don’t! They do a great job, and we have to learn from them.”
If there’s a project you did and you didn’t get the kudos, you have to self promote, she continued. Do it in the right way, but do it. It’s OK to share kudos you receive with your supervisor and it’s OK to share your successes with your colleagues.
She offered the following professional tips to the women in the audience:
- Build and nurture your network early. It’s important to have a network of both women and men.
- Don’t be afraid to self promote. If you feel you need to be acknowledged, put it out there.
- Keep growing and learning. A lot of people stay in their positions because they are comfortable.
- You can stretch yourself. Never shy away from a challenge ever.
- Don’t sit quietly. If you have something to say, say it and make sure you are being heard.
- You don’t have to be a man to be in a man’s world. Be yourself. Embrace who you are.
- Try something, and if it fails, try something else.
Brody also talked about work-life balance and the three roles women typically assume: working professional, wife and mother. “Woman can have it all, but not at the same time.”
You can’t expect to be perfect at all of it, she said, and when things go wrong, you can’t let it fill you with guilt.
Women Leading Women was the perfect forum for Russell to announce the 50/50 by 2020 Initiative, Smith’s pledge to achieve gender parity in its MBA programs within the next five years. That date coincides with the hundredth anniversary of women’s suffrage and represents Smith’s commitment to close the gender enrollment gap, inspiring and supporting high-potential women in their career goals.
“We are very excited about this initiative,” she excitedly explained. “You may or may not know that in MBA programs around the country, the percentage of female students ranges from 20 to 40 percent. We are in the mid-30s – we want to have 50 percent across all of our MBA programs. It’s wonderful that we have the support and excitement of Smith School Dean Alex Triantis, as well as the provost and president of this university.”
Twitter highlights: @SmithSchool #WomenLeaders
Jessica Smith, Office of Marketing Communications