Booz Allen’s “Leading Together” Series: Women Executives Share Stories and Secrets to Success

May 22, 2019 9:00 AM ET

Watch the April "Leading Together" video on Facebook

After working at Goldman Sachs as a managing director and senior advisor, Laura Liswood co-founded the world’s only organization composed of women presidents, prime ministers, and heads of government. Prior to starting an investment firm serving female entrepreneurs, Carol Melton had an illustrious career at WarnerMedia (formerly Time Warner Inc.) overseeing all of the global media giant’s domestic and international public policy operations and at multinational entertainment leader Viacom as executive vice president of government relations.

How did they tackle obstacles and seize opportunities along the way? What advice do they have for the next generation of women? Booz Allen Deputy General Counsel Brenda Morris and members of the audience asked these questions and more in April’s installment of Booz Allen’s Leading Together series on Facebook Live. 

Aired on the third Thursday of every month, the firm’s Leading Together series profiles women carving out new career paths, taking advantage of their unique leadership styles, and overcoming the challenges of managing career and family.

Establishing credibility

Amid bias, stereotypes, and differing standards for women and men, how can women build their credibility and realize their personal approaches to leadership?

“You are seen and heard differently—be cognizant of that,” said Melton. She recommended that women know their strengths and weaknesses, be strategic and—in the words of the TV show “‘Survivor’”—outwit, outplay, and outlast.

“Get feedback but don’t overemphasize the negative,” Liswood advised. And flex your leadership style as needed, “from relational and empathetic to tough as nails, have the capacity to be both.”

Building confidence

Liswood talked about learning how to master risk and fear during a solo bicycle ride across Siberia. Melton suggested that women mentally visualize themselves preparing for a board meeting or presentation like an athlete prepares for a game, with the encouragement to “practice, practice, practice.” 

One audience member asked how to keep from second-guessing vital decisions. 

“When I’ve made a decision, I own it,” said Melton. “One of the worst things you can do, with your team and with yourself, is to dither and not fully execute.”

But don’t be afraid to pivot, both women emphasized. “Get a really good posse around you,” Liswood added. “They will pick you back up when you’re questioning yourself.”

Learn more about women at Booz Allen.