How to unleash your fear and to take risk was the focus of the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit session on “Pushing Past Fear to Uncover Your Next Move.” The panel comprised women who have successfully navigated through a range of jarring transitions—from ending their marriages to leaving their high-paying corporate jobs. They were Valerie Mosley, chairman and CEO of Valmo Ventures; Tonya Ryans, VP, talent acquisition, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
“You have to make your choices from a place of hope and not fear,” said Caroline Clarke, Black Enterprise co-editorial director who moderated the discussion. For those who are spiritual individuals, “The opposite of fear is faith,” Clarke added.
“Fear is false evidence appearing real,” said Ryans, who is in her third career. Before moving into a new position, she hired a career coach and team of advisers to come up with a strategy. It was about understanding and compartmentalizing risks.
For Tabron, it was about knowing how to negotiate and collaborate, skills that she adopted being the ninth child in a family of ten. She credits strong family support in helping her transition info a more fulfilling career.
Tabron joined the Kellogg Foundation 26 years ago as its controller, and after numerous promotions, now oversees all internal operations including grant-making strategies. She is the first woman and the first African-American to head the 84-year-old foundation, which has more than $7 billion in assets.
To live life without regrets is Mosley’s mantra. After a lucrative 20-year-career, she left her position as partner at Wellington, a leading investment management company. She had to face up to family and friends who questioned her sanity for leaving such a high-paying job. “I didn’t want my epitaph to read “I was a great investor,” she said. “I don’t identify myself by what I do but who I am.”
To head off fear and to take that next step to move forward, find that thing that gives you power; it could be wearing a pair of red pumps, Ryans said. “Learn to be flexible and open to new opportunities.”