We need more women in leadership positions

Karen Quintos is the only woman on the executive team at Dell, currently serving as the company’s Chief Customer Officer l courtesy l
Karen Quintos is the only woman on the executive team at Dell, currently serving as the company’s Chief Customer Officer l courtesy l

Karen Quintos is the only woman on the executive team at Dell, currently serving as the company’s Chief Customer Officer.

Wanting to elevate more women into leadership positions, she co-founded Dell’s networking group called Women in Action, a community of both women and men who are interested in accelerating the role of women in the workforce.

Below, Quintos shares her words of advice, speaking to the importance of women supporting each other in their careers and why “work-life balance” simply doesn’t exist.

Women Helping Women

At a time when only 53 percent of tech companies have female executives in the C-suite, Quintos believes that the key to success for all women in the workplace is bringing more women up into leadership positions. Why? Because women at all levels of the organization need peers to look up to and to seek out. Says Quintos: “I think that women have a lot to share with each other, and women don’t always reach out for help as much as I think they need to.”

Thinking back on her career, Quintos easily remembers many times when women have helped her through. One of those times was after the birth of her first child.

She recalls: “When I returned to work from maternity leave, the woman who I was working for at the time gave me some of the best advice that anybody ever gave me. She said, ‘For your first two weeks back, come and go as you please. You’re not going to want to be here. You’ll eventually get back into this part of your life that you’ll realise that you’ve missed, but ease into it’.”

As Quintos wisely says, when we’re able to share guidance and communicate openly with each other, the opportunities are endless: “Women can help women in choosing jobs, careers and companies as well as figuring out when to go on maternity leave.”

Work-life harmony

Quintos has won many prestigious awards throughout her career, but one of her favourites is Working Mother’s “Mother of the Year” award, which she received in 2012. As a working mother, Quintos isn’t a fan of the term “work-life balance”, mostly because she believes that “balance” is often difficult, if not downright impossible, to achieve. Instead, she prefers to use the perhaps more accurate “work-life harmony”. As she explains: “Sometimes you have high notes, sometimes you have low notes; the key is to blend everything to the tune that sounds right to you.”

There’s one woman who has been a particular inspiration to Quintos with regard to work-life harmony, and that’s Molly Fletcher, the former sports agent to some of the biggest stars (also known by many as “the female Jerry Maguire,” as named by CNN). Says Quintos: “I’ve had the opportunity to meet Molly on a few occasions, and every time, I come away inspired. Something she said during our last meeting really stuck with me. She said, ‘Don’t ever feel guilty about how you spend your time — whether it is at work, or at home. The way I look at it, when you say no to someone at work, you say yes to your family.’ I think that is such a fresh perspective. Equally, loving what you do is a great gift to give your children. So when I do have to pull long hours or travel during an important band concert, I just hope that my kids see my passion and drive, and that it inspires them to find something they are equally passionate about when they grow up.”

  • Courtesy of Forbes Magazine

Carrie Kerpen is the CEO of Likeable Media, a social media agency. She is passionate about social media, and connecting women in digital via her podcast, All The Social Ladies. Tweet her @carriekerpen