In a new series of blogs, Cat Callen is interviewing female leaders to find out what drives them in their career. Our first Q&A was with Wendy Schmidt.
1. How do you plan your working day?
Many appointments are already scheduled on any particular day. The first thing I do is look at my calendar, then look at the emails that have come in overnight, and look to see whether there are any urgent needs or “fires to put out”. On a typical day, I will set goals as to what I seek to accomplish in addition to meetings already scheduled. Do I have reports to review to deliver to clients? What internal management projects do I need to focus on?
2. What drives you in your career?
Ambition, sense of purpose, wanting to deliver a high quality work product and fulfil client needs, sense of community and building lasting professional relationships and friendships, and compensation.
3. Who inspires you and why?
The people who have inspired me and mentored me have always been super supportive of me and balancing work and family life. They have been incredibly smart and compassionate people who have gone out of their way to give me leadership opportunities.
4. As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
I am lucky that I have always worked at organisations and for people who have given me so much opportunity, that I have not had any significant barriers it pursuing my career.
5. Are there any strategies you can share to help women overcome obstacles to advancement?
Work hard, be flexible, be honest, be compassionate, treat others as you would like to be treated.
6. What quote has stuck with you?
The first thing that comes to mind with advice to women climbing the ladder
Don’t be afraid to be your own advocate, believe in yourself, don’t quit while having children, negotiate part-time if necessary, but stay in the workforce because if you take yourself out, it is hard to break back in.
7. What book is on your bedside table?
I read a lot of historical fiction, particularly about the holocaust. However, right now I am reading The Great Influenza (about the 1918 pandemic), and next in line is Apeirogon.