The women on TheWrap’s Power Women Summit “How to Be A Boss: Dealmakers, Deciders and Disruptors” panel come from different areas of business, but all have the same message when it came to sharing their hard-earned wisdom on reaching career goals: Don’t question your ability and don’t stand in your own way.
In other words, “Shut up and do it.”
Of course, staying on your path means being willing to follow its twists and turns, said Verizon’s Jo Lambert. “The best lesson you learn is most careers are not linear,” she said.
The panel was moderated by Nicole Walters (CEO of NapNic LLC), and included Debbie White (Vice Chair, Music Industry, Loeb & Loeb, LLP), Kim Kelleher of AMC Networks (President, Commercial Revenue & Partnerships, AMC), Lori Silfen ((EVP & Head of Music, MGM)) and Jo Lambert (Head of Consumer, Verizon Media). Kelleher used “just shut up and do it” to describe how she overcame self-doubt at a pivotal point in her career, with Walters joking that the motto belonged on a t-shirt.
Kelleher said she made an “intimidating transition” when she was offered the opportunity to run Sports Illustrated. “I remember thinking to myself and actually having conversations with people saying: ‘Can I do this?’ And of course, I finally had to shut up and do it.”
Added Kelleher, “For me, it really was about taking these kinds of bold roles, and just putting yourself out there.”
White of Loeb & Loeb said her competitive spirit was informed by not getting the lead in the camp play. “I was the good witch instead of Dorothy, which was fine,” she joked.
White added that her lifelong love of entertainment led her to leave a job as a corporate attorney in order to take a position at a boutique entertainment law firm. “I finally got the offer and they pretty much offered me 50% of what I was currently making at the fancy corporate firm, but I really wanted to represent talent and companies that were involved with talent. I took the job and made the plunge.”
MGM’s Silfen said she is fortunate that MGM has many women in senior roles. When asked how women should take on the male-dominated business world, she said,, “If you’re determined, it will happen…you have to stand out. You’ve got to be a player.”
For her part, host Walters had her own story to tell about how she developed a goal-oriented vision. She told the story of developing her work ethic as the daughter of African immigrants in Washington D.C. “My Dad drove a cab for 40 years, and my mom was a secretary,” she said. “So my dad’s driving about buildings in D.C and (he said): “You can either have your name on the outside of a building, or you can clean one.”
Walters did admit that she veered away from her parents’ goals to pursue success in her own way. “I had two job choices, a doctor or a lawyer, and here I am with a show on the USA Network,” she said with a laugh. She recently signed a deal to star in the unscripted TV series “Instant Family,” which will also star her husband, Josh Walters, and their three children.
Watch the full Decisionmakers, Deciders and Disruptors panel above.