Be An Advocate
According to Kaufmann, his big break at Cardinal was given to him by a female boss. During his speech, Kaufmann shared the story of how he decided to change his career path, moving from a controller position into sales. He approached a male superior for support and was informed, given his accounting background, that this was not a good idea. He then decided to approach a woman managerat Cardinal. Conversely, she thought it was a great idea. The experience resulted in Kaufmann learning several valuable lessons. First, he learned the importance of having an advocate to advance your career. Secondly, he learned that being an advocate takes courage, informing the audience that, at the time, his advocate was the only woman member of the Cardinal leadership team. She had worked very hard to get to her position. By supporting Kaufmann when others didn’t, she had placed herself in a precarious position with other members of the leadership team. He had some advice for both men and women in leadership positions. For the men, he challenged them to recognize their unconscious assumptions that impede women from advancing to leadership positions. For women, he had this advice, “If you want to get women in leadership positions, you need to get men involved, as mentors and advocates.”
Making A Difference
The theme of Carolyn Buck Luce’s acceptance speech focused on women in leadership. One of Luce’s concerns is that many women are afraid of power and ambition and shouldn’t be. She gave examples of women breaking through glass ceilings and cement walls, not for the sake of doing so, but for a bigger purpose. According to Luce, women need to embrace leadership opportunities if they want to leave the planet a better place than when you found it. “I have only one job in life, to make a difference,” she stated. One of the best ways to make a difference in the lives of others is by being a mentor, an advocate, and a leader.