Joining AspenTech three years ago, I didn’t realize the company’s Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) was also new. I assumed it had existed long before I came. I was excited to join -- it was a quick, easy way to meet many of my new colleagues. Little did I know we’d just begun to address the aspirations of our female employees by creating a group whose mission is to “drive professional growth and company success” for everyone.
Fast forward and the WLF has become a centerpiece of our efforts to build a stronger, more responsive culture that educates and supports employees who want to take their careers to the next level, regardless of gender.
This year the Women’s Leadership Forum sponsored a panel at our global sales kick off in Phoenix featuring Chief Customer Success Officer Michele Triponey, SVP Professional Services and Adoption Kelly Harred, Senior Manager, Solution Consulting Rosa Montesinos and Sales Director, North America Tonya Garr. CEO Antonio Pietri gave opening remarks, reminiscing about the WLF’s creation and its mission to cover topics of interest to everyone and reinforcing AspenTech’s commitment to women’s career development. He then turned the stage over to moderators and Senior Inside Sales Managers Adriana Gulino and Ivana Gianfrate.
Taking Ownership of Your Career
Panelists shared the soft skills that have helped them succeed. First, Kelly Harred talked about being a woman in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Kelly said she chose a career in technology because she loves a challenge and is excited by the constant pace of change. “At AspenTech things change often,” she said, “because we are on the leading edge in our industry.” Early in her career, one of Kelly’s mentors gave her this advice about managing her career: be proactive, take charge of your career and network with other managers. Pay attention when something new comes up so you can continue to learn and grow. She concluded with a reminder to believe in yourself, set goals and become a lifelong learner.
Tonya Garr addressed the challenges of keeping motivated. She said it helps to work in an organization “that continues to build on amazing technology, has an awesome customer base and continues to acquire new technologies.” Tonya went on to say that “having an ‘all in’ mindset is based on a core belief of how you think you can do.” She advised surrounding yourself with “those who are greater than you.” Tonya described the “success mindset,” the value of trying something different and the benefit of exploring your vulnerability while avoiding a victim mentality.
Being Effective Even When You Feel Out of Place
Rosa Montesinos reinforced the concept of having the right mindset. “We have to believe that we can do it,” she said. “If not, we are lost.” But it’s also about strategy, planning and becoming a trusted advisor to your customers. Her specific advice: Take time to assess a situation; determine what you can contribute and what problem you need to solve. Provide the right value at the right time and make sure to follow up and reevaluate on an ongoing basis.
Nurturing Leadership and Entrepreneurial Thinking
Michele Triponey talked about nurturing leaders and encouraging an “entrepreneurial spirit.” She asked how many in the audience managed people (about half). She reflected that she has always worked for men, and that contemplating this convinced her of the need for a women’s leadership group in any organization. She had four suggestions for nurturing future leaders:
- Partner with HR to make sure that you hire the right person
- Set expectations with your leadership
- As a coach or mentor, set stretch goals and encourage employees to work with others in leadership to gain insights and achieve professional growth
- Make it about their success, not your own
A Final Thought
Listening to Tonya describe the mindset necessary for success in sales reminded me of a colleague I met early in my career. He was selling telecommunications services. He liked to say that he was born to be a salesman and that had he lived in biblical times, he would have sold bibles. It stuck with me and supports the point of view that success is really about having that fundamental belief in what you can do -- and doing it.
Want to be part of a great sales organization? Check out open sales positions at AspenTech.
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