In celebration of International Women’s Day, Scheller College of Business hosted a discussion on “When Women Lead: Insights and Experience” with an esteemed panel of women leaders who have made remarkable impacts in business. Moderated by Dean Maryam Alavi, Stephen P. Zelnak Chair and professor of IT Management at Scheller College, the discussion addressed a series of topics for the panelists ranging from their definition of leadership to the biggest challenges they have faced in their illustrious careers.
Panel members included Beth Cabrera, founder Cabrera Insights, Carolyn Gibbs, head of Global Investments Engagement, Invesco Ltd., and Shally Pannikode, senior vice president and chief information and digital officer, WellStar Health Systems. When asked the definition of a good leader, all three agreed being a servant leader is key to a successful workplace environment. “The essence of leadership is to help others succeed,” said Cabrera. Echoing her remarks, Pannikode added, “It’s about lifting people up and doing what’s right.”
As for their biggest influences, all responded that those having the biggest impact on them acted as mentors rather than bosses as they built their careers. Each panelist shared a different experience and described a few of the biggest challenges they had faced careerwise, from having to learn Spanish when teaching in Spain (Cabrera) to going to graduate school while working fulltime (Pannikode).
Gibbs cited her biggest challenge was not giving up when she graduated with her MBA in the middle of a recession in 2008. “I learned so much,” she said when describing her first job out of school working with Northwestern Airlines while they went through a leveraged buy-out. She advised the audience to continue to look for the best opportunities, while also having a back-up plan. “You’re going to have to make choices,” she said adding that the best way to prioritize is to ask yourself what are the most important things or people in your life.
All panelists encouraged the audience to seek help when needed and to utilize the networking opportunities that Atlanta provides including technology and finance organizations for women, as well as building relationships through networking events.
Watch the full event in the video below.