This post is part of the Professional Independence Project series. Much has been written—by myself and others---about the need for companies to add more women to their leadership teams and corporate boards. When we count women's representation in the United States, women fill less than 20% of leadership position and corporate board seats---even though we represent about 50% of the workforce. I am tired of counting women. It is time for 'Women to Count.' Today, I promote all of you to be "CEO of You, Inc." You are responsible for who you are AND for who you want to be. As CEO, your primary responsibility is to establish a vision for ' You, Inc.,' develop the strategy/plan to make it happen, and then execute your plan. In other words, you are responsible for "making things happen for you rather than letting things happen to you." I learned this lesson the hard way… when I didn't get promoted to a manager position when I expected to. Many women have proven that they can 'make things happen.' Take Susan B. Anthony and her struggle to achieve women's right to vote in 1920. Or Amelia Earhart who pioneered women in aviation in the 1930's. And others like Eleanor Roosevelt, Gloria Steinam, Hillary Clinton, and even Emma Watson who, at 24 years old is the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and launched a campaign called "HeForShe" at the UN. Can you imagine speaking about feminism and fighting for women's rights at the age of 24 at the UN? We are all hear for a reason, to make the world a better place for our ourselves, our daughters and granddaughters.The key to our success is to 'Be the CEO of You, Inc.' and make change happen So, let's get started. What are your aspiration? What are your plans to get there? Who is on your team to help you make it happen? Here is my story. After I realized that I needed to be the CEO of Me, Inc., I established my goal---to be a partner at Andersen Consulting in six years. My mentor told me that my product (me) needed to have the right skills and responsibilities. In other words, he said: you need to have performed as a partner before you will get promoted. In other words, I had to do the job that I wanted, before I would get it. The key to success is to set achievable goals, develop a plan to reach your goals, surround yourself with people who will help you, and – most importantly – be the CEO of You, Inc. This is about 'making things happen for your rather than letting things happen to you.
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Susan Bulkeley Butler
Susan Bulkeley Butler is the CEO of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders and author of two books, Become the CEO of You, Inc.: A Pioneering Executive Shares Her Secrets for Career Success and Women Count: A Guide to Changing the World. In 1965, Susan joined Arthur Andersen & Co. as the company’s first professional female employee and – 14 years later – was named the first female partner of the company’s consulting organization, Andersen Consulting, now known as Accenture. Before her retirement in 2002, Susan was Managing Partner for Accenture’s Office of the CEO. She also served as President of the Accenture Foundation and had a place in Accenture’s Executive Committee, the company’s principal advisory and strategy-setting committee.