39 minutes | Jun 2nd 2020

Effective Actions for the Workplace Recognition You Deserve – with Dr. Rosina Raccioppi

Today’s episode brings clarity to the frustrations that many women feel in their careers. Are you working independently, but struggling to get the recognition you deserve? Do you understand the value of relationships in the workplace? My guest today puts it all in perspective, and she shares the nuts and bolts to help you take effective action steps. 

Dr. Rosina Raccioppi is CEO and president of WOMEN Unlimited, an organization that for over 25 years has worked with hundreds of leading corporations focused on creating corporate cultures that nurture the development and advancement of talented women. Their three-pronged approach of mentoring, education and networking allows corporations to accelerate the leadership pipeline of high potential women. In this episode, Dr. Raccioppi and I talk about her book, Relationships Matter: How Women Use Developmental Networks to Step Into Their Power and Influence. We also discuss the challenges and opportunities in the workplace for women. We pinpoint what it takes for women to move up the career ladder, and why it’s not just what you know, but who you know and who knows your work. Dr. Raccioppi explains how WOMEN Unlimited’s programs guide women to the C-suite and help them stay there. 

Independence vs. Relationships

From the beginning of a woman’s career, there are moments of key inflection points where a leader or mentor’s influence is critical and impactful. In 2019, for the first time ever, women made up over half of the professional workforce in organizations. What Rosina sees from young women starting out is that their independence keeps them from building key relationships and seeking out support in their careers, so they rely instead on their own capabilities. This is a big mistake. Those key mentoring relationships are crucial as leaders provide guidance and feedback that allow women to continue to evolve their capabilities as they grow their careers. 

Painful feedback

Rosina shares a personal example from her career when she learned a hard lesson through feedback. Her manner is extremely direct, and that was good and effective until it wasn’t. People had told her that there were issues with her somewhat intimidating communication style, but she would blow off that feedback. One day, a colleague made a statement about her direct leadership style that shocked her and caused great reflection. Rosina looks back on that feedback as a gift that gave her insight and realization that have helped her learn to find innovative solutions and to listen to others more fully. This lesson has helped her become more inclusive as a leader. Listen to learn specific techniques to get the feedback you need and deserve.

Why Rosina wrote her book

We’ve all heard about mentoring as a leadership skill, but WOMEN Unlimited takes it a step further. Their platform is based on mentoring education and networking. The content is bookended by the relationships created by mentoring and networking. For women in the workplace, these relationships are crucial to success. Rosina built upon existing research about how women used mentors, but she took it a step further to see how those mentoring relationships were developed. Rosina says, “Mentoring turns learning into leadership.”

Using a crisis to your advantage

Generally speaking, during the pandemic crisis, men are looking to make strides to stand out in the workforce while women are hunkering down to get the work done. With any organization, during a crisis, you have to figure out how to be profitable and take care of the customers. The important thing is to map out a path forward for the organization to preserve revenue. Rosina says that successful women will stay engaged and embrace the leadership role even during a crisis. 

Building a network

Think about the people who will help round out your perspective. Those who impact the customer are the ones who matter most in an organization. Rosina says to think about how to frame the work you do in ways that are important to the customers. You want to stay in the game, be relevant at the table, and create an impact for the customer. If you aren’t doing that currently, then take a good look at your role and what it should be. 

How to find a mentor

It doesn’t make much sense to approach someone and ask them to be your mentor. Being a mentor is a vague concept to many people; they just aren’t sure what that means. Rosina encourages people to create a board of directors group of 3-4 people who will challenge your thinking and help you grow. Don’t look for people who will tell you what you want to hear, because that won’t help you grow. Often, someone in a different department in your organization is the best person to expand your thinking and round out your perspective. Start with one person, and add others that give you a diversity of perspective on how you want to move forward. 

Highlights of this episode:
  • 4:21 – Key inflection points in a woman’s career
  • 6:00 – The feedback women need
  • 11:37 – An example of impactful feedback for Rosina
  • 18:44 – Why Rosina wrote her book
  • 26:00 – Using a crisis to your advantage
  • 27:34 – Building a network
  • 29:46 – Advice for women who need a mentor
  • 35:12 – Fem Five
Resources mentioned:
  • Visit www.nextfem.com for this episode for your chance to receive a free signed copy of Rosina’s book, Relationships Matter: How Women Use Developmental Networks to Step Into Their Power and Influence.
The Fem Five:

1. Favorite book to recommend for women?

  • My book, Relationships Matter: How Women Use Developmental Networks to Step Into Their Power and Influence.

2. Favorite self-care hack?

  • “Exercise and taking time for me.”

3. Best piece of advice and who gave it to you?

  • “My mother helped me see that the only thing I can control is me.”

4. Female CEO or thought leader you’re into right now?

  • “I can’t name just one, but it’s all the women who are CEOs in traditionally male-dominated industries.”

5. One piece of advice you’d give your five years younger self?

  • “Push yourself even further than you think you can go. Don’t be afraid. There will always be a net to catch you.”

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Last Time on The NextFem Podcast

Communication and PR During the Global Pandemic – with Adele Cehrs

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