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Five Keys to Success Every Woman in Business Should Know
Sam Saperstein, Head of Women on the Move at JPMorgan Chase, shares her advice on how women can better prepare themselves for a successful career.
Gender equality is a common topic in the news, but effective ways in which everyone can take part in this cultural shift are not often discussed, especially in the working world. At a recent Smarter Faster Revolution event, which provides insights into how students can better prepare themselves for the challenges of the evolving workplace, JPMorgan Chase’s Sam Saperstein sat down with Axios at the University of Pennsylvania to showcase the importance of gender equality in today’s workforce. They shared actionable steps that women can take to forge their own paths to success, while creating a more inclusive culture in the workplace.
During the conversation, Saperstein described Women on the Move, JPMorgan Chase’s initiative to promote gender diversity and advance women in the workplace. In support of women, both inside and outside of the company, Women on the Move aims to: empower female employees to grow their careers, help female business owners launch and grow their businesses, and improve the financial health of female consumers.
“We’re looking to prove that diversity is good for everybody,” said Saperstein. “And it’s not just because there’s a war for talent out there – which is true. It’s also due to the fact that our clients are looking very different these days, and the world out there is very different, so we need to reflect that shift.”
At the event, Saperstein shared five key tips for women who are working to achieve gender parity in the workplace.
1. Follow your curiosity
You don’t have to follow a traditional career path—every woman’s path to success is different. It is worthwhile to follow not only your passions, but also your curiosities. “Don’t strive for perfection. Perfection is the enemy of good,” said Saperstein. “You have to get out there and make things happen, take action, not study things to death, and be curious.”
2. Reach for more
Always strive to achieve more – and don’t settle. Today’s workforce is seeing a plateau when it comes to women in senior level roles. According to Saperstein, female employees are not leaving the company more than their male counterparts. “Attrition rates aren’t higher for women. In the industry overall, women are not leaving to raise their families – they are just staying at the same levels,” she said.
Companies and their employees, both male and female, need to do more to identify barriers to career advancement, create meaningful change, and propel women to the next level.
Saperstein recommends that companies analyze their promotion and performance data regularly to identify where women are most underrepresented and then commit the resources to address these issues.
3. Build a network, and use it
Throughout your career, it is important to build and maintain your network, and use those connections to uncover new career opportunities. “Be a collector of people. Find people you can interact with and keep in touch with them. You never know when things are going to come around and later in life you are going to want to get in touch,” said Saperstein.
4. Share a different perspective
There are many instances in which women may feel silenced in the workplace, which is detrimental to diversity of thought and promotes group think.
“You can play a role in driving an inclusive environment,” said Saperstein. “You can look around and say, ‘Do we have everyone represented?’ Are you actually soliciting voices all the time, asking the quieter people what they think? All of these things on a day-to-day basis can add up to make a more inclusive environment.”
5. Speak up often
Don’t be afraid to be heard. “If you are in a room with a lot of people and you are hesitant to speak up, say something early because it gets you in the door. It breaks the ice so you feel more comfortable and it establishes that you have a reason to be there.”
Creating meaningful change in the workplace starts with fostering an environment in which everyone feels comfortable coming forward and expressing their opinions. Women can better prepare themselves for a successful career by being confident in their abilities, transparent with their opinions, and active in encouraging a culture where everyone feels empowered to support gender parity in the workplace.