Women & Leadership Workshop: From Then to Now

Evelyn Mittler ’18 and Sharon Chiang ’17 at the 8th Annual Women and Leadership Workshop photo booth

This week, I attended CMC’s 8th Annual Women & Leadership Workshop,¬†co-sponsored by Berger Institute, Kravis Leadership Institute, and Robert Day School. As a senior, I fondly remember the first time I attended the conference two years ago. The Women & Leadership Conference holds dear memories for me as it was not only the start of one of my strong mentor relationships, but also a crucial turning point in my career trajectory. Finding an internship as a sophomore in college is challenging enough as it is, but the added stress of switching from applying to biotech research opportunities to a professional internship made it a bigger obstacle for me. However, the conference makes socializing with industry professionals and alumni a fun experience and gives a great first introduction to networking.

So, what did I learn this time around? As the keynote speaker, Victoria Halsey, points out, much of leadership comes from language. For women, it may be difficult to voice what they need, especially when they think they can do the task by themselves. However, everyone can use support and help from time to time; you just need to know how to ask for it. In the Blanchard situational leadership model,  Halsey describes four main stages of leadership:
  1. Directing: Where the person is inexperienced but excited to learn
  2. Coaching: Where the person is inexperienced but loses excitement to learn
  3. Supporting: Where the person is competent but not fully confident in their abilities yet
  4. Delegating: Where the person is competent and confident
Knowing which stage you are at can allow you to better vocalize what needs you have. On the other hand, as a leader, knowing where your employees or co-workers are at can facilitate better communication.
As I move forward with my career path and seeing how much I have grown since the last conference, I look forward in utilizing the leadership model to ask more specifically for what I want. Additionally, I look forward to assisting other CMCers who have been in my position sophomore year and encouraging them to continue pursuing their goals.

By: Sharon Chiang ’17