Opinion: Empowering women to be future business leaders
By Lindsey Carnett
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Speed versus distance, individual versus team — which is better? For me, this wise African proverb certainly sets out the answer.
I am fortunate to work with a great team of women at Marketing Maven, and throughout my career, I have worked with inspirational women who have encouraged and supported me both personally and professionally.
And now this responsibility and humble burden falls on me to support the next generation of female business leaders.
We are all familiar with another quote, this time from the late, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who said, “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
And if we don’t open those doors, how can we inspire the next generation of future business leaders?
One way in which I am doing this is by becoming a member of the advisory board for the UC Santa Barbara Women in Leadership program. The program serves as a platform for leading women to engage and uplift each by inspiring positive change. The course provides education and instruction on topics such as thought leadership, influence and barrier destruction. I’m really looking forward to working with women to help them grow both their professional skills and their business.
I recently served on a panel for Green River College in Washington, where I discussed my journey as an entrepreneur alongside two other friends and business owners. I’ve helped open doors for them during my business career, and they’ve reciprocated the gesture for me.
Fifteen women of college age or recent graduates from Central Asia (specifically Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan) and two American cultural ambassadors took part in the panel, and they were selected by the U.S. Embassy in their home countries to participate in the Study of the United States Institute on Women’s Leadership in 2021.
The three-week virtual institute focused on gender studies and women’s empowerment, as well as the development of practical skills such as public speaking and leadership strengths. And the training will continue with a two-week in person follow-on event to participate in experiential learning activities that will complement the virtual institute.
The students asked us to explain our entrepreneurial journeys, the skills and tasks we find challenging, and how we try to overcome these challenges. We also discussed values that drive our work and leadership, overcoming obstacles and the role of mentorship. There was also a focus on striking a work/life balance and how our proudest moment impacted our individual business journey. On the face of it, these might seem easy to answer — but they were very thought provoking!
If we are to see more women in senior business roles, or to see them starting and owning their own business then we must help each other out. We must extend the hand of mentorship and our expertise to those women that want to join us.
Partnerships, mentor/mentee relationships, advocacy, recommendations, or simply offering advice over a coffee or a virtual call — let’s offer the ladder that helps another woman in her career journey. I’m making these a core part of my personal and professional development, and I hope that you will consider doing the same.
• Lindsey Carnett is the president and CEO of Marketing Maven, a nationwide firm based in Camarillo.