Smart Middle Market CEOs recognize that women in their workforce have different development needs, expertise and skills than their male counterparts.  And women executives in Middle Market firms don’t always have access to the structure and support systems they would otherwise have in larger companies. But that’s okay – they don’t need them!

Ms. Bernadette Boas, owner of Ball of Fire Consulting, a ROI Strategic Partner, coaches women executives on how to achieve their goals. And there’s a common message uniting all of her mentoring: Women need to take accountability for their careers.

Bernadette explains, “Sure, women hit the ubiquitous ‘glass ceiling’ often. But that can’t be used as an excuse. Women have to be resourceful and see what other people, not just other women, are doing for professional development to get and stay ahead of their competition, male or female.”


She has four pieces of advice for women who want to move ahead in Middle Market firms:

 1. Embrace Your Riches. “Know what you’re good at, and be proud of it!” Far too many women focus on what they lack rather than what skills they already have. And, yes, they do need to address those gaps, but “don’t wait until you’re perfect to do a little self-promotion.”  Men do that all the time.

2. Take Initiative. “When it comes to areas where you’re weak, don’t wait for someone to tap you on the shoulder and ask if you’re interested in a professional development opportunity”. Identify the education and experience needed and go get them.

3. Capitalize on Your Strengths. Women are known for being nurturing, collaborative, and inclusive. But, when it comes to networking, they tend to leave those skills at home. “Don’t just stay heads-down with your work – use your inherent strengths to build alliances both within and outside of the company.”

4. Don’t Let Bias Get in the Way. “If your customers play golf, learn how to play golf.” Women can tell themselves that they shouldn’t have to do that to succeed, but, if they don’t do it, their co-workers or their competition are going to be golfing with their customers. “That’s not giving in to male culture; it’s just being smart.”

 Bernadette concludes: “Women make a mistake thinking ambition is bad. They need to make their goals, ambitions, and accomplishments known. They need to speak up and say, ‘Hey, I want opportunities, too’.” When women do that, and follow up by working on the skills they need to develop, they make strides.”  How are you helping women in your organization succeed?