November 15th our three interns attended the event Gals With Goals hosted at the University of South Florida to hear advice from multiple successful women. The founder Morgan Barse, a student at USF formed this idea when she was a freshman at the University of Tampa and felt like she was missing a community of goal-oriented women. The event was emceed by Aubrey Jackson, an anchor on 10News and had a panel of variety of successful women. The panel consisted of Allie Felix who is currently Director of Platform at Embarc Collective, Khalea Nicole and influencer coach and blogger, Athena Kavis the chief executive officer of Kavis Management Group, and Ayana Lage owner of Lage Creative Company and lifestyle blogger. Jessica Muroff the keynote speaker and CEO of United Way Suncoast ended the event with advice on maximizing your experience.
Struggles of Being a Successful Woman
When the panel was asked what kind of obstacles they faced while getting to where they are a lot of them mentioned barriers they faced as women. The 4 main barriers that were mentioned were: 1) Toxic relationships 2) Trusting your gut 3) Saying yes to everything and 4) Lack of mentors
Athena Kavis said that she felt like the man she was with when she started her company kept her from being her best self. He was not supportive of the work she was doing and was constantly telling her she would not make it. Her advice to young women is to cut out toxic relationships whether they are romantic or platonic. You can only live up to your full potential if you are surrounded by people who support you. They all agreed that it is important to trust your gut and be true to yourself. A lot of them while trying to figure out what they wanted to do felt uneasy when it came to making big decisions because they might fail. Whether it was a decision about their personal life or professional they often felt like they were expected to pick a certain life and were scared to deviate from that. The women advised to not be afraid to pick something and run with it if it feels right. It doesn’t matter if you fail because then you can learn from it.
Kahlea Nicole talked about how as women we are made to feel like we should never say no. Women are afraid that if they say no they might be passed up on a job opportunity or upset someone. This leads to us overextending ourselves and often not doing as great of a job on the things that are important to us. She advised to not say yes to everything and instead say yes to the things that matter to you. She believes that if you are doing everything you are only able to give 25% of yourself but if you focus on a few things you can give it 100%.
Finally, they stress the fact that you need to find a female mentor. Although a male mentor can be helpful, finding someone who has been through similar things to you as a woman is very important. Sometimes men are not able to completely relate to the struggles you face and you won’t be able to get the help you need.
Struggles of Being a Successful Mom
Jessica Muroff talked about her mindset in college and the fact that she was always very motivated and goal-oriented. When asked how being a woman with a family affected her success her answer was simple, it hasn’t, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. She said when her children were young it was hard for her because she had a lot of guilt. Guilt for not always being able to be there for her children and guilt that she wasn’t able to give 100% to her job. She says there is no such thing as balance, you have to prioritize. Sometimes she needs to give more time and energy to her family and other times she has to give all of her attention to work. That is why she started her Be Present project. She decided that when she is at work she has to be present and just think about her job. That allows her to be fully present when she is at home with her family and not think about work. During an interview conducted with McKay Advertising + Activation’s Chief Revenue Officer, Anne Marie Bell, it was clear she agreed with what Jessica Muroff and the other woman had said. She said it is difficult juggling motherhood and a career because she is driven and wants to be able to put her all into her job but at the same time, she says she has a motherhood instinct that makes her “want to be a nurturer and always be there for children, from getting them ready in the morning to helping with homework at night.” Earlier in her career when she had her children she left work to take care of them. Now that her children are older she is back to working and is constantly faced with challenges. Ann Marie says there is no such thing as a perfect balance. She says that she has to section her lives off and compartmentalize. When she is with her family she only focuses on her family but at work gives her full attention to her job. Ann Marie says it’s difficult because she has to often hide a lot of her emotions and give a brave face both at work and at home. But don’t let this discourage you, she says, because at the end of the day she enjoys every minute of it.
Ann Marie references the 10-10-10 idea made famous by author Suzy Welch who used it to help her make tough decisions when dealing with family and work. The idea is that when you have to make a decision ask yourself how it would affect you in 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years. This will help put things into perspective and know what to prioritize. Ann Marie says this a great way to decide if you need to say no to something.