Career Advice From 5 Successful Female Leaders

I haven’t really talked about where I work, but I will today. I work at EMC, the global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver information technology as a service (ITaaS). That sounds like a mouthful, but if you know anything about enterprise storage, cloud, virtualization or big data, then you definitely know EMC. It’s a $23B dollar company with a global customer reach.

EMC is committed to diversity and inclusion, and employees around the world have established resource groups focused on the various constituents within the Company. One of those is the Women’s Leadership Forum – NY/NJ, which I helped establish in 2007 and am now co-president of. On Wednesday night we hosted an event comprised of an interactive panel of senior women who answered questions around career navigation, network building, and leadership.   The panel consisted of 5 successful female leaders who had skillfully navigated their careers through the complex environment of a fortune 500 company – think 60,000 people across the EMC Federation. Panelists included: Stacey Rosati, Senior Director of Professional Services for the East Region, USA, Stephanie Lubrano, Senior Director, Global Accounts- Financials, Rebecca Forsbrey, Global Systems Engineer supporting EMC’s most strategic, global customers, Toni Johnson, Global Account Manager for ADP, one of EMC’s largest accounts and me, Human Resource Director for Global Professional Services. (I was humbled and honored when my fellow board members asked me to be a panelist.) And the panel was moderated by board member Julie Belton, Business Operations Manager.


L to R:  Stacey Rosati, Toni Johnson, Rebecca Forsbrey, Julie Belton, Stephanie Lubrano, Alexandra Brunetti

L to R: Stacey Rosati, Toni Johnson, Rebecca Forsbrey, Julie Belton, Stephanie Lubrano, Alexandra Brunetti


Anyway, I’m not going to give a play-by-play of the discussion, but there was so much valuable advice that was shared that I would be remiss if I didn’t pass it further. So here are the key insights from this event:

  • When women are considering a new role, we tend to want to check off every qualification before we feel we are capable of doing the job. STOP! If can fulfill 50% of the must haves on that list, apply for the role. It’s not about being able to fully perform the role day 1 but the growth experience.
  • Tied to that, get out of your comfort zone. If you feel completely comfortable about the new role you are about to take on, it’s probably not challenging enough for you.
  • Take risks. That risky move you are afraid to take could open an entirely new world of possibilities you wouldn’t have considered.
  • It’s ok to fail, we all fall sometimes. Use those stumbles as the learning moments that make you better.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun and laugh a little.
  • Don’t comprise yourself for your “dream career”. If you need to change the essence of who you are to become the person you think you should be, then its not the right job for you.
  • As you move up the “corporate ladder”, make sure you reach down and bring other women with you. As Madeleine Albright once said at a keynote she gave at the Simmons Leadership Conference, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help women.”
  • Embrace the differences we as females have that set up apart. Our empathy is our most powerful leadership trait and (sorry men) makes us much better leaders.
  • Dress for the job that you want, not the one you have.
  • When networking, don’t just think about what your network can do for you. It’s also about what can you do for them and what can they do for others around you.
  • You can progress in your career all on your own but it is a lot less difficult if you have sponsors or advocates who look out for you and champion for you.

Wow – that’s a lot of powerful advice! Even if you only apply one or two of these, you will be well on your way to attaining your career ambitions.

Which one of these resonates with you?

Alexandra Brunetti


  1. These are great tips!

    I really resonated with Taking Risks and Consider a Role you may not feel like you are capable of fulfilling. I recently took on a new role that I felt was WAY beyond my skill set but now that I’m six-months in I’m so happy that I took the risk as it challenged me to grow rapidly and opened my eyes to so much more opportunities that I didn’t know was there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *