At the 2021 edition of WashU Olin’s popular “She Suite” event, panelists celebrated the achievements of St. Louis women in business and provided insight on how to advocate for equality in the workplace environment.
At the event, held virtually on March 8, International Women’s Day, moderator Staci Thomas, professor of practice in communications, introduced a panel that included Anne Anderson, MBA ’02, Khalia Collier, Erin Harkless Moore, BSBA ’05, and Marcela Hawn, MA ’11.
The women shared testimonies of success and failure, lessons learned in the workforce and advice to aspiring professionals.
While their expertise spanned industries, all panelists spoke about the hesitation and pressure they felt during the application process. According to a LinkedIn Business study, women feel they need to meet 100% of the job qualifications before applying to a job. Meanwhile, men will usually apply if they meet 60% of the qualifications.
“Women fall victim to perfection and minimization when thinking about advancement,” said Harkless Moore, investment director at Pivotal Ventures. “Do not be shy about advocating your experience and how it applies to your work.”
“Women do not ask enough during negotiations,” said Collier, vice president of community relations at St. Louis CITY SC and owner of the St. Louis SURGE women’s professional basketball team. She stressed the importance of aiming for the extraordinary. “Tell your whole story. Be bold. Be confident.”
Even on the hiring side, Hawn, senior vice president and chief communications officer at Centene, said she roots for the female applicants who do not shy away from negotiations in the interview process.
While there certainly has been a huge push towards gender equality in the workplace, the panel agreed that there is still a long way to go. However, these women already use their influence for good.
“It is up to each woman individually to use the chair that she’s sitting in to help progress gender equality further,” concluded Anderson, vice president of the Chemicals America division at Shell Chemical.