Wendy Hall Bohling

How Cowgirls rise, share their stories, and bring their posse with them

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at the Ritz Carlton, Philadelphia

The latest WICT Philadelphia Speaker Series event, held at the Ritz Carlton in Center City Philadelphia, featured the much-anticipated speaker Wendy Hall Bohling. Wendy is author of Cowgirl Up! A Woman’s Guide to Navigating the Corporate Frontier, and advocate for gender intelligent teams and leaders.

Guests were welcomed warmly into a breakfast event with delicious food, coffee, and high top tables leading to the open invitation to network with fellow WICT members. After breakfast we moved into the conference room with chairs set up facing the stage to begin listening to Wendy speak.

From the moment Wendy stepped onstage, her outgoing, boisterous personality filled the room. Wearing a red fringe coat and speaking with a southern accent, she engaged us with stories of her corporate career, lessons learned, and even humorous anecdotes about parenting. Wendy helped each of us consider the next step in our careers by focusing on five key takeaways with wit and candor.

  • Brand Management: Wendy asked us to think about what each of us can do better than 97% of others. This is our differentiator. The ability to know this and express it is the first step of brand management. Once we have identified this differentiator, it needs to be clear and visible so people know who we are, what we do, and how we do it.
  • Build Your Posse: Each of us needs to have people in our circle who will be willing to give the tough feedback on what our strengths are, and the areas we can improve upon.
  • Cultivate Sponsors: A sponsor is someone who puts their reputation at stake to help us get to the next level. Cultivate sponsors by doing great work, not waiting to be noticed, promoting successes, and projecting confidence.
  • Shatter the Glass Wall: Currently, there are only 32 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and while this is better than recent history, there is certainly opportunity to improve. Wendy’s advice is to take on P&L roles, where we own the outcomes of business decisions, and improve business acumen with increasing budget responsibility.
  • Know when to Change Horses: Lastly, Wendy’s words of advice were to have an understanding of when your role is no longer serving you. Three points to consider in this process are: What do you need to see in order to stay?; How long will you wait?; and Check for evidence. If changes have not happened in the specified period, take the opportunity to move on. It will be hard, but it may be the bold decision you have made that will open doors to new prospects.

With each point that Wendy made, there were head nods, murmurs of agreement, and even applause, as the words of a woman trailblazer resonated with each of us. As an added bonus, each attendee was given Wendy’s book, Cowgirl Up!, and Wendy generously stayed after the event to sign copies. This event gave each of us much to think about, and plan for, as we apply these lessons to our own careers.