Leading up to our Women In Leadership event on September 17th, we interviewed one of our guest panelists, Teresa Jacobs, Vice President of Global IT Services and New Market Development at CenturyLink. Headquartered in Louisiana, CenturyLink is well known multinational communications and data service provider for residential, business and government sectors.
In our five-question blog interview, Teresa expands on her background and remarkable professional accomplishments as a leading woman executive in Colorado. We hope you enjoy this interview and perspective from an accomplished executive as much as we did.
What was your dream job as a child and why?
The truth is, as a little girl I wanted to be a ballerina. I always loved dance and could go “en pointe” in a certain pair of bedroom slippers at age 4. However, as I got older, my strength was math, so that’s the degree I pursued. However, I wanted to make some money, so I decided to enroll in computer classes. That was a great fit for me, combining math, logic, organization, and problem solving. Although I found a good career fit, I would have benefited by more guidance on potential careers. I would highly encourage you to discuss your children’s skills and passions with them and explore career ideas. I’ve saved my dance, outdoor activities and the fine arts for my hobbies and the diversions that fill the soul.
What has been your biggest professional challenge as a female leader?
Being female did not hold me back in my job progression. I always approached whatever job I had as if I were running my own company inside a bigger company. The strong sense of ownership of my group’s results created success for my team and the larger business. As long as you’re credible and really know your stuff, having a seat at the table and being heard is generally not an issue. Many females experience difficulties cracking the executive hierarchy as they attempt to further their careers. Fostering relationships brings champions to your corner and is critically important to being included in the executive circle.
What advice do you have for young female professionals?
Make connections! Meet leaders in the areas in which you’re interested. Getting your name out there can make all the difference in the world in what opportunities become available. However, you have to produce results, and even more important be able to articulate your capabilities. Describe the great results in a concise, impactful way that grabs their attention. If people hear about an amazing accomplishment, they will be much more likely to bring up your name to others, opening up more doors.
Any advice on how to achieve a happy work-life balance?
I was lucky in that my husband stayed home with our children. That left me a lot of freedom when it came to demands of the job. However, no matter what your situation, it can be very helpful to establish the roles and responsibilities of those at home. Everyone needs to know how the duties will be shared and what’s expected of each person. Also, if you have a partner, sharing career ideas, goals, and decisions is vital. Two heads are better than one. If you don’t have that partner, find a mentor or buddy with whom you can talk, bounce ideas around, share your issues, and get feedback. A final product constructed by many is almost always better than a product constructed by one.
Thank you Teresa!
Even though our Women In Leadership event for September 17th is currently SOLD OUT, we encourage you to sign-up for our wait list in case a spot opens up.
And a special thank you to Teresa Jacobs for spending your time with us and discussing your insights and advice for women in leadership!