The Path to Leadership is Not Always a Straight Line

The Path to Leadership is Not Always a Straight Line

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“What inspired you to become a leader?” http://3bl.me/cb9kmg One Sodexo executive shares her story for Women's History Month #wmnhist

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 2:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Woman's History Month

CONTENT: Blog

Jennifer Williamson
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Sodexo

In relation to Women’s History Month, a junior manager recently asked me “what inspired you to become a leader?” I had to ponder her question because there was no silver bullet or magic moment for me. I did not start my career with specific goals or a well-laid plan or even a desire to lead others. In fact, my career progression into senior leadership was not a clearly defined step-by-step move up the proverbial corporate ladder. Instead, it looked more like the up, down and across pattern of a lattice.

As a child, I certainly didn’t dream about an executive leadership role in a large corporation. Let’s face it, in the 1970s—the formative years of my childhood—there simply were not role models or social cues for women in senior leadership positions. I remember the popular board game for girls called “Tressy Career Girl.” Players had to navigate a path to be a successful “career girl” by becoming a nurse, secretary, teacher, model, dancer or actress. There was no mention of accountant, doctor, engineer or business executive.

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