Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Commonwealth Institute "Breakfast of Champions"

I just returned this morning from a The Breakfast of Champions hosted by The Commonwealth Institute at the Back Bay events center (gorgeous venue, check it out!) in Boston. The keynote speaker was Ellen Alemany, who is a Chairman and CEO of Citizens Financial Group, Inc. and RBS Americas. She was recently ranked by U.S. Banker and Forbes as one of the most powerful women in banking.

After receiving an invitation from a Tufts Professor to attend, I jumped at the chance to come to this event. Not only was this a fantastic networking opportunity, but I really believe in promoting and learning more about supporting women positions in business and senior management.

I felt as though Ellen was an accessible speaker, talking about her family and her roots working for her father in a Brooklyn liquor store. It was refreshing to see someone who had worked their way up (albeit via the corporate ladder rather than entrepreneurship) and not born into wealth and success that I sense to sometimes be surrounded by at events like these. And yes, I become frustrated when people do not know my parents or recognize and inquire about my last name, but I'm confident I will get there some day.

After recently being hired full time to work at Boston Logic, I am assessing my role there and what I am bringing to the company. The advice that Ellen gave was very helpful and applicable to my situation. Several points she made were:

  • Don't think about your sex. Focus on the work and how to achieve what you want to achieve.
  • Do not try and be something your not. Look at your strengths, and think of how you can apply them to your company to result in success for your personally and your company.
  • If you are bored, ask for more responsibility! Your managers have no way of knowing that you are bored, and taking the initiative to ask for more work will not only give you greater job satisfaction, but also have you noticed by the right people.
Overall, I am glad that I attended, particularly to gain the points above. Though there was the typical master of the universe talk and suspended eye-rolling on my part to these elite people in all they know and have accomplished, I am nothing but privileged to be able to attend :)

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