Photography by David Michael Howarth

 

Don’t miss our 2017 Women’s Empowerment Series! Click here to find out more about this year’s panelists and take advantage of early bird pricing.

 

The second night of SJ Magazine’s Women’s Empowerment Series was another tremendous success. An audience of more than 150 women listened to five successful SJ women share their personal experiences and learned insights. The evening’s topic was: “Women in Leadership: Taking Charge Without Wearing a Suit and Tie.”

 

Panelists

Lindsay Sacknoff
SVP, Head of Customer Segmentation & Strategy, TD Bank

Kathy Orr
Meteorologist, FOX 29

Adrienne Kirby
President/CEO, Cooper University Health Care

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt

Marianne Aleardi
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, SJ Magazine

 

On what can hold women back…

I’ve worked with newscasters and reporters who are so preoccupied with “this one doing this story, this one has so many reads in the newscast, this one has so many public appearances – why don’t I have a public appearance?” They are not focused on the task at hand, and their careers have been seriously derailed. I always tell people, “Focus on yourself.” You can’t be worried about all that static. That can bring you down fast.  –  Kathy Orr

More prevalent in women than men is the propensity to over-emote and be over-sensitive. One of the things I say to everybody is, “Don’t take it personal. Assume good intentions, relax.” You can make yourself completely crazy over, “I walked down the hall and Joe didn’t look at me.” Well maybe Joe just got told his whole department is getting cut by 50 percent. He wasn’t caring about you; his mind was elsewhere. Learn to filter that out. It doesn’t serve you, so put it aside.  –  Adrienne Kirby

 

On community service…

I had a very strong mother who led by example. She was one of 26 women who worked in the Boston area to aid cancer research. I think before I learned to do anything, I learned how to lick a stamp and lick an envelope. I knew right then I wanted to be involved, to get involved. How do you do that? Volunteering. There’s much to be gained by engaging with other people with like causes.  –  Pamela Lampitt

 

_DSC1163On women in the workplace…

When I came into the legislature and I wanted to tackle transfer of credits of county colleges to our four-year colleges, I was really patronized in a way. I got patted on my head, and they said, “Go ahead, try it. It’s a 20-year-old problem, but go ahead, little girl. You try it.” I’m like, “Really? You’re going to tell me – Miss Persistent, here – that I should go ahead and try? Watch me.” It takes a long time to get bills through the legislature, but in 18 months I did it. And I did it by getting all the presidents of New Jersey universities around a table and saying, “OK, figure out how this is all going to work.” And they said, “OK. We did. Now, you’re just going to leave it alone, right?” and I said: “No! I’m not going to leave it alone. I’m going to create it fully, and I’m going to make sure it lives past me.” It’s called the Lampitt Law today, which is pretty fantastic.  –  Pamela Lampitt

Women have to deal with different things in the workplace. When I was a young consultant, I had a project manager, Ken, and we were together all the time. We had spent a week with a client, and it was a great week.

I felt like I did a great job. We were saying our goodbyes. Ken reaches out to our client, and they shake hands. Then our client comes to me and leans in for a hug, which I thought was a little weird, and then it turns into a kiss. I’m pulling free, and I can see Ken’s shocked face. In that moment, I had no idea what to do. On the drive to the airport, Ken and I talked about it the whole way. I give him a lot of credit, because we decided he was going to call him and say, “Treat Lindsay like the rest of the team, like the guys on the team.” And that’s how we resolved it. It was never spoken of again. I didn’t do what I wished I had done, but we got to the right resolution: Just treat me like the rest of the team.  –  Lindsay Sacknoff

 

_DSC1289On standing up for yourself…

I was out to breakfast with two friends. One had a daughter who just graduated from Columbia, and she was offered her first job. The mom said to us, “I told her she should ask for more money.” And one of my girlfriends said, “Listen, she’s lucky she’s got a job.” I said, “You know what? If she doesn’t ask for it now, then when is she going to ask?” So we had this big discussion; my other girlfriend was getting mad, because I’m like, “Tell her to ask for it!” and lo and behold, she had already done it. She asked for an additional 15 percent, and she got an additional 9 percent. You can’t be afraid, or fear will paralyze you.  –  Kathy Orr

There are many women who have grown up in a world where they haven’t learned to fight. Thank God I had a role model – I had my mother, and she was a fighter. So I learned that women could be equal in conversation at the dinner table. That doesn’t happen all the time, but it starts there. Many women don’t know how to empower themselves.  –  Pamela Lampitt

Just last week, I had an “aha” moment. I realized I try really hard to act masculine to fit in the framework of men. My aha moment is: I need to acknowledge the difference, but I can adjust my context. I don’t need to change me; I can just adjust my message. I may approach men differently than women, but I don’t have to change who I am. There are times in my career when I’ve acted differently to get to a certain place, because I know it will be the path of least resistance. But I don’t need to keep doing that as I continue to move forward.  –  Lindsay Sacknoff

 

On considering changing career paths…

It’s not always the easy path that’s in front of you. You have to be very creative about making a different life choice for yourself. Look inside yourself and try to motivate yourself. Think about what you really want to do. Sit in a room one day and think about it. Write it down: What do I really want to do with myself?  –  Pamela Lampitt

I also have this little secret that I often remember: “If I make this decision, I can change my mind.” It’s very empowering to say, “This isn’t forever.” Knowing you have other options can give you the confidence to feel, “I belong at this table. And if I don’t, I can decide I belong elsewhere.”  –  Lindsay Sacknoff

 

On effective leadership…

You need to know your employees and the people you work with. You really need to know what motivates them, what makes their heart go pitter-patter. You need to know them, and be strong as a woman in a leadership position, so you can have the right outcomes.  –  Pamela Lampitt

 

_DSC1294On discrimination…

Think about it: Women got the vote in 1920. It’s not even 2020. It hasn’t even been 100 years that women have been seen as eligible to have the brain power to cast a vote in this country. So of course we have discrimination. But my mother taught me early: Success is the best revenge. I go on that. Let them laugh in your dust, and keep moving. Absolutely I’ve had discrimination, but I have ignored it and chosen to go around it, over it or under it.  –  Adrienne Kirby

My undergrad at Syracuse was in broadcast journalism. I went back for a degree in meteorology, and when I did there were 11 students in the program. I was the only woman. People would say to me, “Oh, my god! You’re the only woman! Aren’t you intimidated?” and I spun it. Maybe I was very naïve, but I thought, “Well, no. I’m the only woman, so I have an opportunity.”  –  Kathy Orr

Along the way, you’ll meet a suit that will say, “No, no, no. I have only two years of experience, but I’m going to supersede you. You’ve got 10 years, but I’m going to supersede you. I’m going to jump over you.” Women just need to have more information – the right information – so that when you go toe-to-toe with the two years versus the 10 years, you’re ready.  –  Pamela Lampitt

In my field, over 80 percent of nurses are women. Over 50 percent of physicians are women. And in this country, only 12 percent of people in my job are women. And in board chairs and board positions, it’s even worse. We haven’t risen.  –  Adrienne Kirby

December 2015
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