Group of Black Women CEOs and VPs Share How to Develop the Leader in You at Women of Power Summit

The average work day changed for everyone in the wake of the pandemic, and new times call for new leadership.

For those looking to evolve in their careers, the BLACK ENTERPRISE Women of Power Summit put together a panel, “Developing the Leader in You.” Dethra Giles, CEO at ExecuPrep, moderated the discussion, where Mitzabeth Garay, VP/GM of Field Enablement and Shared Services at ADP; Laurie Robinson Haden, CEO at Corporate Counsel Women of Color; and Olanda Sharp-Buckley, Vice President, Customer/Technical Training at Dell, shared their personal experiences to enlighten attendees on how to be intentional in their leadership style.

Giles had a spirited kickoff to the panel that got the speakers to share the song that described their leadership style. It was Mystikal’s “Here I Go” for Giles because she tackles her day head-on. Robinson Haden’s leadership song was “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan, Sharp-Buckley selected the gospel song “My Worship is for Real,” and Garay chose Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire.”

Each speaker shared their path for developing leaders, which included learning their goals: career goals, life goals, financial goals, and long-term goals. For Sharp-Buckley, she credited her mentors for aiding her in being able to help develop other leaders in the workplace.

She suggested diversifying your professional portfolio to position yourself in a leadership role. Robinson Haden took it further by encouraging attendees to join any group to fine-tune their leadership skills.

Is there an open position to join a neighborhood committee? Can you get more involved in your sorority or another sister circle of any kind? Roles within these spaces can help develop your leadership skills and prepare you for that executive role just around the corner.

“Live outside your comfort zone,” Garay said.

Often, women of color are denied access to leadership roles because of claims that they lack experience. Haden said it’s critical that women re-empower themselves to find and develop their skills outside the workplace so it can empower them within their current professional roles.

In a remote work world, where Black women were already struggling to be seen in the workplace, working remotely has only widened the invisibility many Black women in corporate America were already feeling.

“You have to find a way to deliver,” Sharp-Buckley said while encouraging attendees to get involved in an initiative at work that will bring their name to the forefront.

“Find mechanisms to be seen, heard, and to deliver results.

Sharp-Buckley also didn’t want attendees to forget the vast opportunities available by taking on an international role.

“If you get the opportunity for an international role, do it!” Sharp-Buckley said.

Once you reach the executive level, don’t forget to reach your hand out and help the next generation of leaders.

“Those in leadership have to give back,” Robinson Haden said.