Recently I was honored to hear Tanuja Singh, a successful midlife educator, speak. Her mission is to inspire older women to inspire, empower, and support the younger ones. She offered important steps on building a career… and how to do it with style!
Raised by two highly educated parents from India, Tanuja Singh was a good student at 11 years of age, but did not consider herself to be skilled in sports. She decided to try a new challenge anyway! She signed up for a 5K. She did not fear the race as much as she feared losing against the much older and more accomplished competition. Her wise mother gave her one simple statement to ponder, “The question is not who is going to let you win, but who is going to stop you?”
“This had power with an 11-year-old child,” Singh said. She was motivated to the point of qualifying for the race at her young age, and the motivation has carried her throughout her career. She now serves as Dean and Professor of Marketing at the Greehey School of Business for St. Mary’s University.
Singh recently spoke to a group of women about the power women have to encourage and support one another. She offered advice to help build the careers of women.
“I now ask women, what is stopping you from going forward?” she said. “We should be concerned that there are less than five percent of female CEOs among Fortune 500 companies in the US. There is a huge gap between women’s abilities to women’s accomplishments.”
Singh offered these recommendations for career women:
- Remember that women are strong innovators, nurturers, leaders, long-term strategic planners, financial planners, problem solvers, and communicators. It is beneficial to remember your strengths.
- Knowledge will put you ahead. From knowledge of your job comes self-confidence. Know your job well. “I worked hard to become very good at what I do,” she said.
- Mentorship is good, but sponsorship is better. Use your role and influence on behalf of younger women. Be a sponsor for them and speak to superiors about them.
- Women are slow to ask for assistance for career advancement. Men will ask for a letter of recommendation from people in their network, women often do not. Learn to ask for assistance with humility. This will further your career.
- “Women need to speak up about their accomplishments and tell others what they have done,” Singh said. “Sometimes, it is OK to say: Thank you, I worked really hard on this project. While winning may be a team effort, do not underestimate your own accomplishments.”
- Men often apply for positions even when they do not meet all of the qualification or requirements for a job. Women typically are reluctant to do so. Apply anyway. You can always showcase your best attributes in an interview.
- Know what differentiates you from others. Know what you do well and do more to enhance it. Build it. Strengthen it. Always ask, what am I doing to make sure people know what makes me stand out from others?
- Decide what strengthens you and build on it. Are you strengthened by a peer group of co-workers, friends, mentors, or knowledge? Know the answer.
- What is it that sustains you in your career and in your personal life? Make sure that you have enough sustaining elements that help you, professionally and/or personally.
Be aware of how you spend your time. You can tell a lot about someone’s priorities when you have a look at their calendar. Make sure that your calendar reflects your professional and personal priorities.
Are you a midlife woman blogger looking for a way to connect with women in your industry? Our upcoming Bloggers At Midlife Conference is the perfect opportunity for you to do just that. Consider joining us – buy your ticket today! We hope to see you in Las Vegas in April.