Reflecting on Harvard’s Young Women’s Business Leadership Conference: Career Advice for Girls

Jennifer Karin

What career advice do you have for us girls?

This was the primary question put forth by the 300+ high school girls attending Harvard’s Young Women’s Business Leadership Conference to inspire and encourage future leaders.

The stellar two-day conference was packed with helpful sessions on many different industries and career paths. From Law to Medicine to Marketing, practically every occupation was represented. With over 50 experts on hand, the answer to that singular question was equally varied.

A common blueprint, however, emerged from the spirited conversations:

 

Explore the “weak” connections to build your personal network

Rachel Zarrell, editorial leader and producer at Buzzfeed, pointed out it’s not just who you know, but who you don’t quite know well…yet. Take the time to connect with that friend of a friend of a friend to widen your personal network and become exposed to different career paths and job opportunities. Use that shared point of connection to introduce yourself, and deepen the relationship through ongoing communication.

 

Know your rights as a woman in the workplace

Juliette Kayyem, national security analyst for CNN, encouraged young women to fully understand their rights when it comes to family planning and pregnancy in the workplace. While there has been significant progress to protect pregnant women and women with medically complicated pregnancies from being discriminated in the workplace, it’s up to all of us to self-advocate.

 

Start anywhere

Joan Vennochi, Boston Globe columnist and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, encouraged her audience to take any job offer if it’s in a field you are interested in – no matter how lowly it may seem. Smart advice. Interested in the craft beer industry? Start by washing kegs. Want to be in advertising? Work in a grocery store so you can learn how products move off the shelves. Every job will provide you with experience and perspective.

 

Understand and appreciate gender differences

During my panel discussion, we were asked what advice we would offer our younger selves entering the workplace. My answer was a better understanding of how men and women approach work. Men and women are inherently different, regardless of the common goals we share in the workplace. And that’s okay. Take the time to study, understand, navigate, and appreciate the male point of view and their work methodology. Don’t confuse equality with sameness.

 

Finally

Alicia Williams, marketing expert and my colleague on the Marketing and Advertising panel, provided this gem…

Be kind. Indeed.

 

 

Jennifer Karin

Jennifer Karin

Vice President

Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 187 [name] => Company Culture [slug] => company-culture [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 187 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 280 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 ) )

View More Posts

Marketing Mojo: Insights from A to Z Wineworks' Director of Marketing, Keith Scott
Blog Post
What career advice do you have for us girls? This was the primary question put forth by the 300+ high school girls attending Harvard’s Young Women’s Business Leadership Conference to inspire and encourage future leaders. The stellar two-day conference was packed with helpful sessions on many different industries and career paths. From Law to Medicine…
Read More

Startup Guide: How to Crush Your First Media Interview
Blog Post
What career advice do you have for us girls? This was the primary question put forth by the 300+ high school girls attending Harvard’s Young Women’s Business Leadership Conference to inspire and encourage future leaders. The stellar two-day conference was packed with helpful sessions on many different industries and career paths. From Law to Medicine…
Read More

A Day in PR: Captain’s Log
Blog Post
What career advice do you have for us girls? This was the primary question put forth by the 300+ high school girls attending Harvard’s Young Women’s Business Leadership Conference to inspire and encourage future leaders. The stellar two-day conference was packed with helpful sessions on many different industries and career paths. From Law to Medicine…
Read More