Master Class – Lessons in Leadership

By Roberta Rima

FWSF was honored to host three successful role models who discussed their careers and leadership experiences at our Professional Development event on April 25th. Jennifer Webster (SVP Financial Planning & Analysis at McKesson), Laura Martinez (Partner, PwC Assurance) and Mary Rosai (SVP Investor Services Client Experience, Charles Schwab) shared best practices, personal stories and insights on how to build a successful career path.

Three PanelistsPaige Venable, 2017 FWSF President, opened the event and welcomed the three panelists and Darcy Illg, our former president, who moderated the discussion.

We heard that one’s career is the result of daily hard work and dedication to people who surround us. Laura Martinez was inspired by one of her mentors who invited her to “engage with as many people as possible.” She proactively “leaned in” to take advantage of new opportunities and to help others accomplish their tasks. By doing so, Laura became exposed to other colleagues and teams, enabling her to build a network and become a successful partner.

Panel and AudienceWe learned that difficulties are like stepping stones to success. Jennifer Webster shared some of her challenges while being a CFO, such as when she had a difficult time at work while managing important accounts or when she had to balance her career ambition, relocation and private life. Accountability and accepting responsibility for her actions were the most important drivers for Jennifer to overcome difficulties and become a successful leader.

Panel and AudienceWe learned that a successful path rarely travels a straight line. Mary Rosai described her professional journey as a spiraled career path. Mary discussed several prior positions where she assumed new responsibilities and had to prove herself in these different roles. She has built a successful path by achieving something new and learning how to lead while progressing.

The three panelists reminded the audience that to become a leader, it’s important to have sponsors and mentors. Success is not only being talented, but also getting recognized by peers, direct reports, line managers, and clients. Being authentic and confident helps to engage others, but it is not always easy. Indeed, most leaders need executive coaching in order to overcome their weaknesses.

It was a very inspiring panel for young professionals and senior leaders who attended the event and participated in the discussion. We look forward to our next Professional Development event!

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