Durée Ross, President & CEO of Durée & Company
If I could contribute to one movement that would bring the most good to the largest amount of people, it would be empowering women. While it is challenging for women to get a seat at the table, sit on a board and break the glass ceiling, we have pushed ourselves and others around us to conquer the c-suite. Now that so many women have top positions in major corporations and organizations, how do we increase our c-suite visibility?
Having founded my PR, marketing and special events agency in 1999, I have experienced many incredible “ups” and “downs” over the past 20 years, all while learning a great deal along the way. Through it all, I’ve discovered a multitude of ways of how women can increase their c-suite visibility. I’m happy to share my top four leadership lessons.
1) Lead by example, and be a visionary. When there is little precedence and very few people who are willing to take on a task or challenge, be determined to navigate unchartered territory. Educate yourself, have a long-term vision, and tackle the issue at hand head-on. You may need to understand any complex legislation surrounding the subject, or perhaps event learn a whole new “language” related to the issue. When you do your research and take that step out of your comfort zone, your work can set a precedent for others.
2) Always have a strategy in place. A plan is essential, whether it’s for your staff, your clients, your company or your own personal brand. A leader needs foresight in order to lead. You and your staff should never, ever lose your passion for your work, your clients and your results. A plan helps you and your team to stay on track and continue to enjoy what you do.
3) Give back. Give to give; don’t give to get. Whether it’s doing pro-bono work with nonprofit organizations, organizing your team to participate in and fundraise for an event with a cause, or even creating your own nonprofit organization, you will get to see your work making a difference. It’s incredibly fulfilling to pay it forward, and people will know you not only for your professional efforts, but also your community efforts.
Volunteering for industry and nonprofit boards, signing up for speaking engagements, and mentoring others are just a few more examples how you can make an impact and share your expertise with others.
4) Ensure you are recognized for your work. Apply for those industry, civic and women-oriented awards. These not only provide you with even more credibility, but they also result in more PR and advertising avenues for yourself and your brand. Awards for women in business are especially important ― they bring you into an elite group of other women in the c-suite, and recognize specific attributes that only women can offer.
About the Author: Durée Ross is founder and president of Aspen and Fort Lauderdale PR, marketing and special events agency, Durée & Company, Inc., celebrating its 20th year in business. An award-winning PR entrepreneur, Durée has a broad spectrum of experience spanning the corporate, agency and non-profit arenas for local, national and international clients. The reach of Durée & Company is global with clients who provide services and impact lives. Her firm is certified as a woman-owned Florida Certified Business Enterprise (CBE).