thought about something we dealt with the other day and I
brought a few slides to really frame up some thinking around
this subject or department or work flow.’ So, I think framing
things up is a way to get our voices heard.
MWM: So, following up after meetings is important,
as well as this kind of framing?
CM: Following up with meetings—or a lot of times I would
come into an executive meeting afterwards and say, ‘Last
meeting we talked about ‘x’ and I’ve been thinking about
this, and I have some expertise on this and I’ve talked to
a few people, and here are a few
slides that I think really pull the
entire subject all together.’ And
they’re meaningful, it’s not like you
are doing it just to do it. You’re doing
it because you didn’t really have a
chance to say what you wanted to
say, or nobody was really listening.
Sometimes you have to step back
and push that voice.
MWM: So, in light of that, what
can women do to improve our
CM: The framing piece is part of it. I think the other piece
is constantly looking for leadership roles; take on some
projects. Listen very carefully and don’t always think, ‘I’ll wait
for someone to do that’ or ‘I’ll wait for someone to ask me
to do that.’ It’s saying, ‘I’m going to actually take the initiative,’
and ‘I’m going to create a little task force or have a meeting
and become more knowledgeable about something.’And
then again, frame it up, and be additive to the team, and
really use your voice.
MWM: On the management side, what do you think
managers can do to better encourage and promote
women into leadership roles?
CM: Certainly, any leader has to be thinking about the
women in leadership in the company first. But I’ve thought
back to the people who have helped me and I really
listened to people along the way that said, ‘Boy, you can do
this,’ or ‘This is something that I would really take on.’And
there are people who you don’t expect. I had an assistant
when I was in my late 20s that said, ‘You should really strive
to manage more people.’ And then I listened to why’s. A
boss that I had said, ‘You’re my succession plan, I just want
to originate loans.’ If you listen to these steps along the way,
MWM: My first question for you is, as a strong female
leader in our industry, what are some lessons learned
that have been most influential for you?
CM: I would say there are three key things. I really learned
to prepare along the way. Preparation is key; preparation
and practice. I used to wing it a lot. Sometimes you just
have to take a deep breath and think about what you want
to say and how you want to present. And then practice it,
because that makes a big difference.
Second, find a trusted source. Find someone in the
industry—either at your workplace or a family person. It
could be someone in another industry, but someone you feel you can
talk to. That was a big lesson learned
And then the most important
lesson that I’ve learned is you really
have to care about peoples’ success.
If you want to lead and you want
to work with women, all of your
employees, or any people you want
to influence, you really have to care
about their success. Caring goes
hand in hand with leadership.
MWM: Do you notice any differences between the
way men lead and the way women lead? What special
strengths do you think women can bring to leader-
CM: I think women are born trainers, Kristin. I think we
have a communication style that starts from the beginning
and goes through the meat of the situation and has an ending. A strength for women is to step back and really frame
out a situation really well. And that’s not to say men don’t
have that ability, I just think it’s a strength for a woman.
Communication is key.
MWM: In this male-dominated industry, what do you
think are some of the greatest challenges women
have in aspiring to leadership roles?
CM: You know, Kristin, this is something that I’ve always
thought about. It starts to crystalize a little bit more as you
get older and get more involved in leadership. I believe that
women have to find their voice; they have to be able to
really frame up a situation. Sometimes that’s as simple as, ‘I
want to circle back with the group and talk about why we
had this question before and what my thoughts are.’ Or, ‘I
"I believe that women
have to find their voice;
they have to be able
to really frame up a