By Jania Bailey, CEO of FranNet
When I was first entering the loan business back in Paducah, my bank president at the time suggested that I shadow a woman in Nashville who had made a name for herself in the banking industry. Observing her during that time, when the business culture didn’t dictate the same level of respect from male peers that women in business are afforded today, provided a clinic in how to handle myself in a business environment.
From her example, in those early days of my career I learned the importance of not just talking the talk, but of walking the walk. I absorbed not only valuable lessons and skills on what to say and how to say it, but I also learned how to use body language, how to dress, and how to have a larger presence in a meeting. She commanded respect by the way that she acted, the way she treated others, and the poise she maintained while in a meeting room.
During Women’s History Month, it’s important to look back at the pioneers who paved the way for many of us to excel in the business world. However, our heroes don’t need to be those vaunted legends of the female business movement. For me, it was the example set by this woman I learned from during my nascent years in business that had the biggest impact on my career. I’m sure many of my fellow business women can point to a similar unsung hero of the movement whose example was enough to inspire them to achieve and succeed.