NJBIZ Article Features Our Own Dr. Kulkarni

The annual NJBIZ Best 50 Women in Business awards ceremony gives our publication a chance to honor some of the top female business leaders in New Jersey. It also gives them a chance to help the next generation follow in their footsteps.

NJBIZ asked each for a piece of advice for a woman at the start of her career. Their advice, it turns out, is appropriate for anyone at any stage of their career.

And while all pointed to hard work as the first step to success, they offered some other valuable words of wisdom.

Here are just a few of the responses:

20. Polish your verbal and written communication skills

Catherine Bromilow: You need to learn to feel comfortable talking in front of small and large groups. Practice what you want to say out loud. Record yourself on your phone to see if you use verbal ticks and then work to reduce those. (These are the 'ahs', 'ums', 'likes' and 'you knows' that are often present.) Then practice out loud again and again and again.

19. Talk yourself up

Barbara Semple: It's OK to keep track of your accomplishments and do not be afraid to discuss them with your boss or superior. If you don't keep track — no one will. Your path is up to you. Have the courage to make it your own.

18. Play politics, even if you don’t want to

Yin Woon Rani: You may not like the game of 'politics,' but it is being played with or without your active participation. So get on the field and play by the rules that you want to see, or others will make your moves for you.

17. Network

Teri Lawver: Network, network, network. Always be building your relationships and networks. Very few executives and colleagues will decline an invitation to coffee if asked.  But you have to ask.

16. Embrace failure

Theresa de Leon: Face your fears and don't shy away from doing things for fear of failure. It is through failure that we learn success and how to appreciate it. Someone who has never failed at anything, has never tried anything new. No guts, no glory.

15. Accept (all) challenges

Michele Brown: Never pass up an intriguing opportunity, even if at the time it does not neatly fit into your preconceived career arc.

14. Always ask for more

Jennifer Mazawey: If you are given a task, ask about the whole project. People want to know that you are invested in the outcomes of projects or problems. If you show that you are interested and invested in the whole project, you will get more work, more responsibility, and more experience.

13. Be prepared

Kathleen Boozang: Be the best prepared person in the room. Be the first one to show up and the last one to leave. Have ready but respectful responses to inappropriate or demeaning comments. Make sure your mentors include men and women, both junior and senior.

12. Kindness counts

Jane Kurek: Be kind to others as you move up the ladder. Kindness is not a weakness and will come back to you in a good way later in life.

11. Don’t worry about the money

Nina Stack: I'll offer the same advice my mother always gave me: Don’t worry about the money. Do what you love, find what you are passionate about and go there. The money will find you.

10. Be true to yourself

Christine Stearns: If you want to be happy, it is important to be true to yourself. So, listen carefully to the advice you are given and allow people to teach you along the way, but always follow your instincts. Ultimately, you are responsible for charting your path.

9. Have outside interests

Lynda Bennett: Pursue a hobby outside of work and reserve time to really enjoy that hobby. Spending quality time away from the office doing something fun actually keeps women energized and performing at a higher level in their careers.

8. Don’t be the best female employee, be the best employee

Karen Davis-Farage: Never think of yourself as a 'female' in the workplace, but rather an exceptional member of the team.

7. Learn as much as you can

Margaret Boller: I’ve got a favorite expression as a mentor: “Be a sponge.” That formula has always worked for me as I started my career and climbed the golden ladder. Learn as much as you can so that you create value for yourself. You are responsible for your own destiny, so don’t rely on others to do the heavy lifting for you.

6. Work for people you trust

Krista Jenkins: Find people you trust and respect and try to work for them. When you're with them, do more listening than talking. And quickly accept that nothing in life that's worth having comes easily.

5. Find a mentor

Cheryl Hall: Be flexible! Never be afraid to ask for help. There are so many more professional organizations out there for women and small businesses today than there were when I was first beginning my career, so look to state and local government for career advancement opportunities.

4. Reserve the right to change your mind. Often.

Allyson Johnson: I would advise all women to change their minds as many times as needed in order to seek out exactly what satisfies them intellectually, socially and emotionally. To never let anyone else’s opinions of them or their desires stand in their way of trying new things and exploring new ventures. Confront challenges and turn them into opportunities and rather than dwell in missteps, learn from them.

3. Listen and learn … from the best

Kelly Ford Buckley: Be intellectually curious. Surround yourself with people who are better than you. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Entitlement is never a good look.

2. Have success with a smile … and a family

Dr. Rachana Kulkarni: You can be competent and nice. It is pleasant for you and people around you. Lean In! Marry wisely! Having a supportive husband is crucial to be successful. Have kids! They are the best gift from God to you.

1. If your gender is holding you back, go somewhere else

Wendy Cama: If you find yourself unable to progress in a particular company because of your gender, find another company or start your own. The opportunities are endless.

See this article on the NJBIZ website here.