IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge: Tammy Sheffer

Author Brad Law
March 24, 2021

Disclaimer: Please note that all commentary and opinions provided in this interview are those of the individual and not the organisation/company they are employed by. 

How can female leaders ensure they get a seat at the table? 

I’ve learned over the course of my career, whether you’re a man or a woman, that excellence matters. Find something you truly enjoy or are passionate about and be excellent at what you do. Beyond excellence, confidence is critical and admittedly, it doesn’t always develop immediately, particularly for women. The old adage “fake it until you make it” is great advice here. If you continue to practice excellence, confidence does follow. These two forces combined lend themselves to building relationships, developing trust and accelerating your career – as well as surpassing barriers and biases that may inherently stand in the way. As I think about the ways women can gain access and an audience, the notion of “getting a seat at the table” feels a bit passé. It’s more a matter of making that space for yourself – which is easier said than done – but, if you lead with excellence in whatever you’re doing, it becomes easier to take that seat. One of my tasks as Chief of Staff at OppenheimerFunds, a position created for me, was to develop their leadership conference. On the morning of the event, I went to the back of the room to watch the day unfold. One of the Executive leaders came up to me and said, “Absolutely not, you created this and you need to be in the front of the room!” It was a stark reminder that women often don’t take the credit they deserve or own their success as easily as men. It was one of those aha moments for me and a stepping stone in building that confidence to make space for my seat at the table. I joined PJ SOLOMON about a year ago after several conversations with the CEO. Because of our interactions, I was confident that I understood what he stood for and what the firm hoped to achieve by hiring me as their first Chief People Officer. Assessing and understanding the dynamics helped me to assuredly step into the role as I knew I would have a partner and support, and be valued as a leader. I encourage women to ask questions and assess opportunities deeply, so even if you are walking into an environment that may present you with barriers and biases, you are going in with eyes wide open to the challenges ahead. With a little bit of confidence and the pursuit of excellence, these challenges can quickly become opportunities to take your seat at the table.

Click below to read the full edition of IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge: Female Leaders Across The Globe.https://indd.adobe.com/embed/bb2678fd-fafb-4e5f-b57b-bbe97612e7cf?startpage=1&allowFullscreen=true