If you are a woman in business, you won't be surprised to learn that gender stereotyping prevents many female employees from advancing to the C-suite. You've likely heard of the “Glass Ceiling”—well, some women are breaking through invisible boundaries that were once perceived as impossible. Successful women entrepreneurs, executives, and managers are leading with unique qualifications, not their gender. There are many lessons to be learned from the challenges and triumphs of women. We'd like to recognize and celebrate one of our own leading ladies.
Angela Hillebrand, VP Operations and Quality Control, joined the team in 2006 and has been an instrumental part of Ascentium’s continued success. She’s effectively overcome many challenges – suddenly managing a remote team during the pandemic in 2020, reintegrating the team back into the office, all while juggling the typical growing pains of a new parent company – just to mention a few. We are grateful for Angela’s dedication and leadership and hope to help and inspire others by sharing her insight.
Q. What advice would you give other women about leading a team?
A. My best advice is simple: Be true to yourself. So many times, throughout my career I have felt that I had to be “like the boys.” I needed to manage the way I was managed, but I quickly learned that I can be warm, empathetic, and collaborative all the while still being assertive and strong.
Q. Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top?
A. Women bring a wide range of qualities to the table - humility, a willingness to communicate and empathy, just to mentions a few. Our willingness to communicate and receive feedback contributes to better problem solving. It can ensure that solutions are effectively managed and that everyone is on the same page regarding issues at hand.
We have a strong ability to influence others to achieve common goals.
Women have an innate ability to empathize with employees which, in turn, promotes their needs and objectives by affording them the confidence to perform beyond their goals.
As the saying goes, “Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Humility creates a sense of “we” in all relationships which is important when managing. It creates an external focus on others and their contributions to the workplace.
Q. What struggles or challenges have you faced as a woman in business?
A. I've had my fair share of challenges and struggles over the years, but I think the one that stands out the most to me is the conscious or unconscious biases in the workplace. Sometimes employers tend to interpret a man’s assertive behavior in the workplace as strong, commanding, and direct, but when women display the same assertiveness, they are perceived as aggressive, forceful, or harsh. We can manage effectively while still being strong and commanding in our own way.
Q. How should women support other women in their organizations?
A. Be supportive of everyone, women, and men alike.
According to a 2021 study by McKinsey & Company, compared to men in similar positions, women managers are consistently doing more to promote employee well-being—including checking on team members, helping them manage workloads, and providing support for those who are dealing with burnout or navigating work/life challenges.
Women leaders are often faced with having to make a choice: Accept the status quo or move toward a philosophy of authenticity to shatter ceilings and bring down barriers. Women need to consider themselves equal players in the game for it to become a reality. Support other women on their way up so more believe their career goals are attainable. Females certainly have different perspectives, but that identity shouldn't be the lens through which they view the universe or themselves.
Women in business leadership and ownership drive success for their companies every day. Ascentium Capital can help fuel your growth with financing programs that offer fast approvals and flexible terms.
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