Thursday, February 14, 2013

Charlotte's ULI chapter holds first women's leadership event

Roughly 75 women gathered at Myers Park Country Club Thursday for ULI Charlotte's first event geared toward promoting women's leadership.

ULI, or the Urban Land Institute, is a national membership group for professionals involved in land use and real estate development. ULI created a women's leadership initiative two years ago to help female members network and become more engaged in the group.

Leadership and development coach Kathryn Heath spoke at the women-only luncheon, advising the audience on how and why women succeed or fail at their jobs.

A founding partner at Charlotte-based Flynn Heath Holt Leadership, Heath said her group would like to see females account for 30 percent of corporate America's top jobs. Currently, she said, women hold 14 percent of top corporate positions nationwide, make up 16 percent of U.S. corporate boards, and lead 19 of the Fortune 500 firms.

Heath shared six rules women should learn to adapt. The information comes from a book she co-authored, Break Your Own Rules.

They are:
- Take center stage. Too many women focus on helping others at their expense. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want.
- Project personal power. Don't be modest. It is ok to take credit for accomplishments, she said.
- Proceed until apprehended. Too many women focus on seeking approval. Instead, they should focus on moving forward with what they want or believe in.
- Don't take an "all or nothing" attitude.  Work and home life aren't easily equally balanced, Heath said. Professionals must learn to weave varying responsibilities together. "Sometimes it's more one than the other," she said. "Great leaders can deal with lots of gray and ambiguous things."
- Don't play it safe, play to win. Take charge of your career and have a strategic plan for how you would like things to unfold.
- Be more politically savvy. Success sometimes isn't just about working harder but understanding relationships and strategy. The work environment is a game, Heath said. As one of her mentors once told her, she shared, "Get in or get out."

Heath also encouraged women to support one another and take on mentoring roles. Women are too critical of one another, she said. Instead, she advised: Lock arms and support each other.