Content Marketer & Copywriter
West Virginia University, bachelors in News-Editorial / Journalism
What is your favorite aspect of being a leader?
It’s a privilege to encourage others to do and be their best.
What advice do you have for women aspiring to be leaders in their field?
Reevaluate your definition of leadership. It doesn’t always mean a bigger title and higher pay. People often think to be a leader they have to achieve (or even want) the same career trajectory as other successful women. But that’s not the case. Make your own path. Sometimes the most influential leaders can be found in non-management workers who encourage other employees or in workers who always do their best. Even those simply involved in their community are great leaders.
Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
George Esper was a Vietnam war correspondent for the Associated Press and a longtime journalism professor at WVU. He also served as a fantastic mentor to many students. During my time in the “j-school”, as we called it, I had many career crises, wondering if this was really the direction for me or whether I should choose another path. Through skill and goal evaluations, he pushed me to be the best reporter I could be and taught me how to be bolder and more decisive in my career.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing female leaders today?
One challenge I see is the determination to do it all at work and that can be a tough pace to maintain. It’s hard to say what the solution is, but it should start with being kinder to ourselves as we work to meet goals and achieve success. Maybe then we can continue to work at what we love without losing sight of our passion or risking burnout.
Approximately how many years have you been involved with CWLI and in what committees do you participate?
I’ve been a member for two years. I was previously on the marketing committee, I acted as the social media chair for a year and a half, and I wrote the monthly member spotlights for two years. I am currently serving on the CWLI Gives Back committee.
What initiatives are you excited to tackle with CWLI?
I’ve recently joined the new CWLI Gives Back committee and I’m looking forward to uncovering ways we can give back to the community as an organization. Also looking forward to the fantastic new programming available; to learn and explore different areas of work and leadership I may not otherwise be exposed to.
What changes do you hope to see in the organization as it grows?
This is a hard question, because the organization is always changing and evolving for the betterment of its members. I’d have to say I’m excited for our organization’s name to grow in recognition in the community — so you say “CWLI” and people automatically know what you’re talking about. It’s already starting to happen and with all the programming we’re adding to our docket, I think it’ll only continue.
What strides do you think members can take to make more of a difference in women’s leadership issues in the local community?
To make a real difference, I think it starts with changing people’s ideas of leadership, and a simple way to start is to take an active role in mentoring younger women. I’d like to see members who are relatively new to their careers become mentors to those still in school as well as those just starting out in the workforce, because they’ve recently experienced the same situations — choosing majors, interviewing, starting new jobs — and can help others navigate this sometimes daunting time of figuring out a career path. It would also be great to see more women connect with and encourage those who are looking to re-enter the workforce after an absence.
How would you best describe the benefit found in joining this organization?
CWLI gives you the knowledge and the skills to handle so many different situations — both good and bad — that happen in your career. About a year and a half after joining CWLI, I was faced with a career crossroads that I could have simply accepted, but instead I calmly navigated, successfully negotiated, and then made a change. A year and a half before that, I probably would not have known what to do. The network of women I was able to reach out to for guidance and the tools I’d learned in several programs and sessions fueled me with the determination to take control of what happens in my career.
Want to get to know Erin? Read her feature here.