Business Leadership Watch

Business Leadership Watch

The Business Leadership Watch is a series that features leaders from different industries, their journeys, insights, and advice for our professional community.

In this edition of the Business Leadership Watch, we interviewed Ms. Sara Valderrama, the head of Talent Acquisition Operations at CITY Furniture. Ms. Valderrama’s journey is one of resilience in the face of adversity, and her insights provide valuable lessons to young professionals on finding and scaling their careers.

Sara Valderrama

Sara Valderrama

Talent Acquisition Operations Manager

Sara Valderrama was born and raised in Ecuador. She attended the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, where she graduated with a Medical Laboratory Technology degree. After which, she moved to Houston, TX, and then in 1999 to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, where she has been living ever since. Ms. Valderrama started her career at CITY Furniture 15 years ago, where she has seen her professional career grow steadily with hard work and dedication. She has held different positions during her long tenure, from Instructional Designer to Learning & Development Manager, to Recruiting Manager, and now as the Talent Acquisition Operations Manager. 

One of the most prominent company cultures at CITY Furniture is family- a value honed through the keen development of talent. As one employee that has benefited from immense growth at the company, Valderrama shares her lifelong habit of learning and personal development through mentoring the team under her wing.

Sara is passionate about helping others achieve their highest potential, either through pairing them up with the right job or coaching them to thrive in their existing roles. An avid learner, Sara enjoys reading and staying on top of current trends in her line of work and is always willing to jump on new challenges. 

1Evolution is a central part of any successful business or leader- they must adapt and change to survive and thrive in the ever-changing marketplace. How have you seen your business evolve in time? What informed these changes and growth?

One of the most important skills anyone can have is adaptability to different circumstances. You can plan every detail of how you want something to play out, and life throws you a curveball, and your plans will mean nothing. 

So, what do you do then? You breathe, rest, analyze, and change the method, never the goal.

That has been my process- keeping the eye on the prize while finding new strategies.

We just saw it when a pandemic hit us, and we all had to modify our lives, work, activities, lifestyles, etc. 

The hiring market changed drastically in a matter of weeks. We went from millions unemployed to a battle for talent, forcing businesses to step up to provide better salaries, benefits, perks, work/life balance to attract candidates. It became a candidate’s market. I don’t remember seeing that in my almost 30 years of living in the US. 

CITY Furniture started a transformation journey 15 years ago, creating a solid foundation with standardized processes, teamwork, problem solving mentality, and great leadership that was key to grow and expand our business despite the circumstances. 

2. How has your leadership style evolved?

I think the first leadership role I had was the hardest. 

The transition from a peer to a leader can be very challenging. I wanted to solve everyone’s problems to show I was a good leader. In time, I realized that the best I could do for my team was teach them to solve problems. 

Encouraging continuous learning is the only way to create a strong team. 

I want to create a team so strong that no one knows who the leader is- I read this somewhere, and it resonated so much with me that I am applying it with my own team.

3. What are the biggest challenges, as a Latina businesswoman, you’ve faced running or starting your business, and how did you overcome them?

Generally, as an immigrant, the biggest challenge was adapting to a new culture, new job, new way of living away from family and friends. I had to learn a new language, a new system, and a new career. 

I had previously owned and managed my own businesses, but they were in a completely different field and country. However, the core values stayed the same: keep learning, better yourself, find a mentor, be open to feedback, and remember your why!

My children have been my biggest motivation and cheerleaders. I had no other choice but to do well on whatever I was doing because they were watching, they still are.

4. What lessons have you learned that you can share with other entrepreneurs and business leaders?

  • Sometimes not getting what you want is the best thing that can happen to you. 
  • Remind yourself every day why you do what you do.
  • You are responsible for your own development.
  • Find the lesson on everything and use that knowledge to move forward.
  • Whatever you do, do it with passion- you never know who’s watching and can offer you an opportunity
  • Success is different for everyone; define what it means to you and work towards that, not anyone else’s image of it

5. In what ways do you think your company culture contributes to success?

Having a culture where your opinions and suggestions are not only valued but are also encouraged definitely helps teams to be stronger. A thousand minds are smarter than one. 

A safe, collaborative, and respectful environment is what makes a team successful.

6.What automation tool or software do you use that has immensely improved your productivity and operations?

Technology is imperative in this ever-changing market to speed up processes and save time. We have been using AI for a while now to communicate with candidates 24/7, pre-screen them, provide information, and even schedule interviews. Candidates can either access it through our web page or through text messages. Our virtual Recruiting assistant has been trained to answer many questions regarding open positions, hiring processes, benefits, and other general inquiries candidates may have. 

7. Today running a business has shifted almost completely digital, and more digital changes are underway with the metaverse talk. Do you think metaverse marketing will give companies an edge in the current market?

Yes- and in employee management, hiring, training, and running teams remotely will be very beneficial in solving the trend of more employees preferring to work remotely or in hybrid work environments.

8. How do you see your industry unfolding in the future? Trends for businesses in this niche to brace for?

The Talent Acquisition industry has evolved and totally transformed in the past two years. It was eye opening for some, a surprise for many, and still for others, a confirmation of what we knew needed to happen. 

Companies realized HR is crucial for every organization, that candidates now have options, that many will not go back to traditional jobs because they were forced to become entrepreneurs and realized they liked it. That work/life balance is more important than ever, and remote work is here for the foreseeable future. 

Organizations will have to adapt to these new demands and treat candidates as they would their customers, finding ways to make the hiring process easier, faster, and more efficient. Talent Acquisition teams now need to evaluate their sourcing strategies, application processes and approach, etc. We no longer have the luxury of choosing from hundreds of applicants; we have to go after them. We have to “sell” our positions. 

Support from hiring managers, Associates, and the company leaders is necessary. Everyone should become a Recruiter for their companies. 

9. What impact do you hope to make in your industry or community?

I don’t have a strategy to become rich overnight, nor a step by step plan on how to become a CEO or own a multimillion company. However, I have experience overcoming obstacles, resilience, rebuilding myself after every challenge, and finding purpose in everything I do. 

It may not be very business-like, but I want to be an example of continuous improvement for my children and those around me. I want to be better than I was the day before; and inspire other women to follow their dreams, be themselves, be bold, and support each other.

10. How have you managed fundamental growth while maintaining a quality product or service offering? What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to achieve similar success, especially online?

Set clear expectations and measure the right performance indicators. Setting standards to ensure everyone follows processes the same way to minimize or eliminate mistakes; establishing checks and balances throughout the process to catch defects early and ensure quality of the final product. 

It may seem like it takes too much time, but it really is an investment to maintain and even improve the quality of your processes. 

11. What informs your discipline in business? Take the readers through behind-the-scenes on your typical workday.

  • My day usually starts at 7am. I am not a morning person, so that is already a challenge.
  • By 7:30am, I am drinking coffee and having breakfast- that is the most important meal for me. 
  • By 7:45am, I am already checking my calendar for the day and reading emails.
  • Usually end my work day by 5:30pm. Take a break to eat something, go for a walk, catch up on social media and then get back to work on my future business adventure for a couple more hours. I am educating myself, learning new things, and working on my retirement plan. 

I am extremely punctual and try to be as efficient as possible with my time, but flexible enough to welcome some necessary interruptions to assist anyone in need. 

12. What advice do you wish you had before or during the early stages of your business?

Your college degree is not a life sentence. You do not have to do what you thought you would for the rest of your life. Don’t be afraid to change your path.

13. Do you feel the Latin culture is better prepared for business innovation? Why or why not?

Definitely. The minorities have seen great advancements in the past few years. More and more Latinos are getting access to higher education and opportunities. 

We are introducing our culture in different areas: music, art, business, fashion, etc. We are networking; we are on social media, movies, sports. This is a movement now, but it will be an everyday thing very soon. 

14. What quote or lesson resonates most with your work ethic or personality that you wish others would also live by?

  • Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. 
  • Do the best you can with what you have, and then do better. 

15. If you were to write a book about your life, what would it be titled or subtitled?

  • Chronicles of a single Latin mom’s life. A survival guide.

16. Lastly, let’s have some fun. Everyone would be so much calmer in life if they just ate more Bolones (mashed plantain with chicharron). This will definitely keep me happy, maybe not that healthy, but definitely happy. 😊


Business Leadership Watch

Business Leadership Watch

The Business Leadership Watch is a series that features leaders from different industries, their journeys, insights, and advice for our professional community.

In this edition of the Business Leadership Watch, we interviewed Ms. Michelle Tovar, founder of Practical Life Parenting, a parent life coaching brand. Follow Ms. Tovar’s entrepreneurial journey of turning her professional skill into a successful business and the invaluable lessons she gleaned.

Michelle Tovar

Michelle Tovar

Parent Life Coach

Michelle Tovar is a certified parent life coach and founder of Practical Life Parenting, a coaching platform helping parents learn a fresh perspective of empowerment for emotional intelligence and non-violent communication for all family members. Her coaching business helps parents build a deeper and long-lasting connection with their children while unleashing residuals from their childhood.

As a mom of 3 boys, Tovar understands the daily challenges of parenting children of different developmental stages. Tovar has over 22 years of experience teaching at Montessori schools ages 2-12 in NYC and the Tampa Bay Area. Along with Montessori, teaching, and ESE credentials, she is also a certified parent coach through the Jai Institute for Parenting.

With this practical life experience and an impressive educational and teaching background, Ms. Tovar brings an actionable road map. 

In her parent-centric program, she guides clients to discover a new path to parenting by walking with them into the “weight” of their past so that they can intentionally show up for their children each day.

As a Montessorian, she has cleverly translated the four specific components children learn into practical parenting that she coaches. Thus connecting children’s developmental experiences and how parents can use them for better parenting.

Her choice of the business name reflects the practicality of her strategies in transforming parenting.

1. What led you to start your business? What makes it unique?

My family is full of educators and entrepreneurs both in Colombia and the states. My grandfather was the owner of a very well established rice factory in Barranquilla, Colombia. My parents worked so hard to make a new life for us in this country. My dad was always self-employed, and my mom a teacher and caregiver. I guess it was inevitable that I would eventually start my own business because of the work ethic they instilled in me.

Throughout my years of teaching, I discovered that many parents need support and guidance with their children at home. I would spend a lot of my parent-teacher conferences discussing parenting issues. It became clear to me that I wanted to be the person to provide strategies, tips, and support to parents that were frustrated and overwhelmed. What makes my business unique is that I am not only relatable to my clients because of my life experience, but I also have a lot of experience working with children of all ages as a Montessori teacher for over 22 years.

2. Evolution is a key part of any successful business- it must adapt and change to survive and thrive in the ever-changing marketplace. How have you seen your business evolve in time? What informed these changes and growth?

My business was thriving in just the short few months of completing my parent coaching certification. But what propelled growth over the years are the changing mindsets. My clients see transforming their relationships with their children as an investment for now and the future. That has really seen an upward trend in my coaching program.

As parents, we do our best to provide the extra stuff for our children, such as dance classes, basketball, and summer vacations, but honestly, the best gift you could ever give your child(ren) is investing in yourself to work towards being the parent you want to be. 

To be the parent that chooses to raise children free of threats and fear-based consequences.

3. What are the biggest challenges, as a Latina businesswoman, you’ve faced running or starting your business, and how did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges I face as a Latina businesswoman is helping my community push back against cultural norms and encouraging Hispanic and Latino parents to take a more modern approach to raising their children. It is challenging to break the generational patterns of our children growing up thinking respect equals obedience when respect is just something we need to be demonstrating and modeling. The challenge is helping them understand that there is another parenting model. Even though you were raised in a more dominant parenting model and feel you turned out ok, it does not mean it’s the best option for you to parent the next generation.

4. How has your leadership style evolved?

I would say my superpower is that I am a great listener. So, I let my clients take the lead by being their sounding board. I provide a safe platform for my client’s to be seen, heard, and validated. I illuminate the dots for them to see a path towards clearing some limiting beliefs and replacing them with more conscious practices. I help them build the type of relationship they want with their children. It is rewarding to witness the shifts my clients make in their parenting.

5. What lessons have you learned that you can share with other entrepreneurs and business leaders?

As a business leader, mindset is everything! Clear out the clutter that is causing you self-doubt, fear of failure, or being judged by others. Make room for what will fuel your next big thing. I would also say that self-care is crucial and finding the people to support your growth. Lastly, you will make mistakes, and that’s ok, so you might as well get used to trying different things to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Make a plan and work on it with your vision always in mind!

6. In what ways do you think your company culture contributes to success?

Support and collaboration equals results.

Parenting is really hard! Many feelings come up when your child shows “big” behaviors. Many parents fear losing control, failure, shame, or embarrassment. I think my business culture is not only supportive, but provides a road map for my clients on their parenting journey. I help them step out of the old dominant parenting style and into a more conscious parenting model rooted in emotionally healthy habits, cooperation, trust, and connection. By understanding the latest brain, nervous, and attachment science, my clients gain knowledge of child development and how their role as a parent impacts their child.

7. What impact do you hope to make in your industry or community?

To see more thriving and holistic families in our communities through my programs.

I hope that having a parent coach will become the norm. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an accountability partner during your parenting journey. Just as one would get a business coach or health coach to achieve goals in these areas, a parenting coach will get you where you want to be when parenting.

8. What informs your discipline in business? Take the readers through behind-the-scenes on your typical workday.

Scheduling creates a balance between work and my family.

On a typical workday, you will find me on calls with my clients coaching and supporting them on their parenting journey. In between those calls, I will be preparing for upcoming “talks” and “workshops” along with marketing my business. My afternoons are about shuttling my children to and from. I am blessed to have the ability to create the schedule and workload that I feel fits best into my family life.

9. How do you see your industry unfolding in the future? Trends for businesses in this niche to brace for?

The parent coaching industry is still in its early stages, so we can expect to see more changes and innovations in the years ahead.

As humans, social interaction is essential to every aspect of our health. Research shows that having a strong support network or community bonds fosters emotional and physical health and is critical to adult life. Parent coaching is a powerful resource that helps families thrive.

Parents are becoming more interested in seeking out coaching services to help them deal with the demands of parenting and their childhood issues that affect how they parent.

That implies an increasing demand for services that focus on positive reinforcement and services that cater to families with special needs children.

For me, capitalizing on this by meeting with my clients each week allows me to customize the program and approach their specific concerns better. I help my clients learn nonviolent communication tools to deepen their family relationships. The parent coaching industry provides the framework to receive the support needed and build emotional intelligence for all family members.

10. What quote or lesson resonates most with your work ethic or personality that you wish others would also live by?

One of my favorite quotes is:

 “I define connection as the energy existing between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

by Brené Brown

11. If you were to write a book about your life, what would it be titled? Subtitled?

If I were to write a book about my life, I would title it “Empowered Authenticity”

12. Lastly, let’s have some fun. Everyone would be so much calmer in life if they just ate more Sancocho (a hearty soup made with meat, root vegetables, and traditional broth & herbs.) This stew and its aroma is my comfort food- it is a reminder of my childhood, and my safe place. It warms my entire body and brings me peace and safety


Top 7 Personal Development Practices That Every Leader Must Adopt

Top 7 Personal Development Practices That Every Leader Must Adopt

The role personal development plays in building leaders cannot be overemphasized. It’s the key to being different from other leaders. And it’s the bridge that connects you and your goals faster. As an individual, personal development can help you reach the next leave in your workplace.


Investing in personal growth and development will help you identify your leadership potential. It will also assist you in making difficult choices for success, teach leadership essentials and plan your personal growth.


However, before you can be consistent in developing yourself personally, you need to have a clear plan that you can stick to. You must know the exact personal development practices that will build on leadership capacity.


Check out the top seven personal development practices you must learn to become a successful leader.

top seven personal development practices

1. Always Improve Self-Awareness

Emotional intelligence is the ability of individuals to acknowledge their own emotions, that of others, distinguish between various emotions, and sort them correctly. The ability to use emotional intelligence to act, think and manage emotions to achieve goals or adjust to the environment is one of the core skills of a leader.


Emotional intelligence falls into self-management, relationship management, self-awareness, and social awareness categories of personal development. Panic is transmittable and creates unstable environments. However, so are confidence, calmness, and communication, which create a positive environment.

2. Improve Communication Techniques and Styles

The virtual world we currently live in has made communication difficult. The existing silos have become more pronounced and thus have put a strain on the flow of information, relationships, and the ability to do regular functions like reading body language during communication. 


Leaders need to learn how to communicate right and adequately. It doesn’t mean you should start adding more zoom meetings to your already tight schedule. However, it means that even with the existing virtual meetings you have with your team members, always ensure that the goals and objectives are time-bound, crystal clear, quantifiable, and accurate. 


Set definitive and achievable standards for adequate virtual meeting formalities. You must also ensure that each team member is adequately clear about their role in every project your organization works on. As a leader, always remember that communication is never enough. So, never imagine you have done enough.

3. Learn to Show Empathy

Empathy will always be a core leadership skill. It is crucial for building meaningful work relationships, connecting with employees, enhancing engagement, improving the capability to inspire employees significantly, and providing feedback effectively. In this world of remote working and virtual teams, empathy is vital for associating with each member’s situation they face working from home.

4. Advance Skills in Motivating Yourself And Others

Your employees’ talents are not enough to drive productivity and high performance- they need motivation. Every team, athletic or business, requires inspiration and cheering from time to time. As the coach, you must first learn to motivate yourself before coaching your employees in self-motivation. 

5. Invest in Coaching And Mentorship

Successful leaders never get tired of learning. They strive to become a better version of themselves. They look for open and honest feedback. As a leader, continuous learning should be at the top of your priorities. To do this effectively, ensure you have accountability techniques and channels to improve yourself. 


Identify coaches and mentors that will prepare you for the current and next stage of leadership. Also, read books that teach the qualities of a leader.

If you want to become a better leader, you have to arm yourself with tools that make you one.

6. Enhance Change Leadership Ability

Although change leadership is crucial for leading any team, it is one of the most challenging aspects of being an executive or business leader. Business excellence comes with the transformation and adoption of new strategies. These come as the system, team, or business processes change. Through all these disruptions, you will need to be at the core of helping everyone transition with the business. 


That said, you must learn how to handle change. Consider leadership training and books on change management as early as you step into the leadership position. 

7. Control Anxiety Through Improved Wellness Activities

Do leaders need wellness training? Absolutely. Leading a group of people requires inner strength and peace.


As a leader, you should take your health and wellness seriously. Keeping your mind and body in perfect shape is crucial if you want to lead in any environment. It is far more tedious to guide your team through uncertainties and problems if you don’t have the needed focus and energy. Ensure you make time for meditation, healthy eating, fitness, reading, more sleep, and reflection. 

Final Thoughts

As a leader, you must take ownership of your personal development and growth. Personal development will ensure you are constantly in a state of improvement. It will also save you a lot of time because the better you become, the easier achieving your goals will become. One of the best forms of personal development is investing in yourself. 


As a leader, you can’t afford to stop learning. You need to invest in yourself to create a successful business and workplace. 


How To Delegate Tasks Effectively To Your Team: The Do’s and Don’ts of Delegation

How To Delegate Tasks Effectively To Your Team: The Do’s and Don’ts of Delegation

Are You a Leader Who Suffers Burnout?


If you feel like you are always taking on too much responsibility or that your team isn’t meeting your expectations, maybe it is time to learn delegation

Delegating tasks

Delegating tasks is crucial in an organization. As a leader, you can’t do everything by yourself. You should delegate tasks to build trust, empower your employees and also help with developing them professionally. And as a leader, delegating tasks allows you to know where the strengths and weaknesses of your employees lie. However, many leaders either don’t want to delegate tasks for several reasons or don’t know how to delegate tasks efficiently. 


A 2013 survey by Stanford University revealed that 35% of leaders admit that they need to improve their delegation skills. Another 37% disclosed that they are actively working to improve their delegation skills. This shows that delegating tasks is a vital management skill every leader should have. In this article, you will learn tested and proven tips on delegating tasks to the right team members in your organization.

tips to delegate tasks effectively

1. Choose The Right Person For The Task

One of the core skills of a good and successful leader is knowing your team members’ strengths and weaknesses. You must also understand their preferences. For example, you should avoid giving group tasks to an employee that likes to work alone and vice versa. This is because the person won’t be fully productive if they execute tasks not suited to their preferences and strengths. 


To know the preferences of your team members, collate all the tasks you want to delegate and ask them to choose. The ones your team members willingly pick are likely where they will perform excellently well. Use this profile to delegate tasks. Doing this will also encourage engagement and build trust among your employees.

2. Clearly Define The Outcome You Desire

You haven’t delegated tasks if you haven’t defined the desired outcome. What you assign to your team members should have proper context. The assignment should connect to the company’s goals. There are several factors to put into place before your team members start executing tasks. 


These factors include your employee’s deliverables, timeframes, milestones, and the things you would consider to measure the success of their output (KPIs). 

Another thing you must avoid is micromanaging and looking for perfection. This is because your employees can complete projects differently than you have desired. So, keep an open mind on the creativity of the final output.

3. Provide The Right Resources And Training

One of your roles as a good leader is to provide the right resources your employees need to complete a task. Giving your team members complex projects without the tools and resources will discourage them and frustrate you, the leader. 


So, ensure that your employees have the proper skills and tools to execute any task you give to them. You can also provide training so that they can hone those skills. For instance, if your employees are using a particular tool for the first time, ensure that they are familiar with it before they begin the task.


The best way to provide the proper resources is to tell your team members the step-by-step guide to how you would execute the task. This will act as their guideline for implementing projects the way you desire. 

4. Establish an Open And Clear Communication Channel

Establishing an open communication channel is crucial in delegation. Doing this will let them have access to you at any time in case they have any questions. They will also be able to provide progress updates at intervals. 


However, ensure you are not micromanaging. 


The communication channel should strictly be for the employees. You can monitor the progress without getting in the way of the employee. Let them know you are available for questions if they are confused about anything. And ask for reports at different times before the deadline of the task.

5. Deliver and Ask For Feedback

Don’t be the leader who delegates tasks to their employees and then blames them if anything goes wrong. The general rule for project feedback is to do it after the delegated tasks are complete. Also, always offer constructive criticism if it has not been accomplished as required. This will help your team members to avoid those mistakes in case of future tasks.


You must also thank them and give positive feedback if the task is done well. This will encourage trust and reward areas of the brain so they can do better when you delegate the next project. 


The other side of this is employee evaluation of your leadership on the project. You should also ask your employees if they have any feedback to give to you. One aspect to consider in this review is to ask them if the instructions were concise enough. Also, get their opinions on how you can delegate better next time you assign tasks for a new project. This will help you learn and improve.

Final Thoughts

Most leaders suffer burnout. But, delegation is the solution. You will become a better leader when you start delegating the right employees to the right tasks and responsibilities. 


Yet, delegating tasks and getting them correct is not an easy job. It’s a skill you have to practice and hone with time.  


One of the best ways to hone your delegation skills is by taking training courses in business and management. 

women leadership skills

Women in Leadership: Why the Business World Needs to Be Ready for More Women Leaders

Women in Leadership: Why the Business World Needs to Be Ready for More Women Leaders

Although women’s equal participation in leadership is a vital factor in accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals, data depicts that women remain underrepresented at all levels of decision-making globally. Nevertheless, the few female leaders in business and executive positions like Tonika Bruce have portrayed unique feminine traits such as multitasking, empathy, open communication, open-mindedness, and mindfulness that made them lead their teams successfully. 

Additionally, women leaders have introduced diverse perspectives and experiences resulting in enhanced innovation. 

Recently, topics about the number of women in leadership, equal pay in the workplace, and gender equality have been receiving increased attention. The discussion has forced business schools to create special tailor-made initiatives and programs for women. Among these initiatives, is enrolling women into MBA programs. An MBA can drastically influence women’s salary and position in their organization.

Are you an aspiring or new leader? Fast track your potential to lead with this short leadership training course: The Impactful Leader.

The Current Stats on Women Leaders

Gender equality and women serving in the highest executive positions such as heads of government or state are yet to be attained. Research by UN Women indicates that by September 2021, only twenty-six women were serving as heads of government or state. The study further shows a slow increment in the number of women serving as national parliamentarians. The number of women parliamentarians rose from 11% in 1995 to 22% in 2021. Nonetheless, women are determined, strong, and hardworking just like their male counterparts. Despite facts showing that Fortune 500 companies with a high female representation on their boards often outperform those with gender inequality, there are still few female leaders.

Current Stats on Women Leaders

Case studies by Robert Smith indicate that in 2020 only 33 women occupied the CEO positions in fortune 500 companies. In addition, the number of female CEOs is just 5.5% among three thousand of the biggest companies in the U.S. The statistics on women leaders may seem demoralizing but there have been remarkable improvements over time, especially with more women graduating from MBA programs. In 2020, the number of women CEOs rose by 2%, making the number of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies to be at an all-time high. 

Statistically, women occupy about 29% of all senior management positions worldwide and 87% of international businesses have at least one female in a senior management role. 

Companies have realized that hiring women creates gender diversity, which can help organizations accomplish better financial outcomes. A more diverse workplace brings together different ideas, thus facilitating quick growth and sustainability.

How the MBA Is Paving Way for Women Leaders in Business

MBA Is Paving Way for Women Leaders in Business

Historically, men have always dominated MBA courses and for numerous reasons, women have avoided the business field. However, this is changing for the better with more females entering the business world and more business schools admitting more females for MBA programs.

Erika James, the newly appointed first ever black woman Dean in the 139 year-history of Wharton School just announced a 52% enrollment of women in the University’s new MBA class.

As a woman in leadership, Erika James is a champion, advocate and role model for women in leadership. Her passion is best reflected in the years of academic scholarship in business and female executives. Not to mention her MBA teaching tenure and speaking engagements at women leadership forums.

Forté Foundation also reported that the total number of women students enrolled in MBA programs drastically rose from 32% in 2011 to 39% in 2019. The fundamental reason for this increase is that MBA schools play an essential role in providing women with the necessary confidence, skills, and tools to prosper in business. MBA schools eliminate the self-doubt and gender prejudice that women have no place in the business world. Furthermore, Professor Dianne Bevelander of the Rotterdam School of management found out that MBAs give women the confidence and motivation to work their way up and become corporate leaders. MBAs pave the way for women’s talents to shine by empowering them to take risks, become innovative, and welcome leadership duties.

Things are improving for the women leaders and MBA graduates, as the corporate world is accepting more female leaders. Looking at remuneration statistics, acquiring an MBA diploma will generally lead to a substantial income increase for women. In addition to salary increments, MBA programs equip women with the essential knowledge, skills, know-how, and credibility to rise continuously up the corporate ladder. Keystone MBA studies further indicate that women leaders with MBA education can lead, easily accept risk, and are more innovative.

The Contributions of Women Leadership

It is about time the world acknowledges the contributions of women’s leadership and reserves more leadership positions for women. Women have proven to be powerful agents of change and their diverse perspectives have resulted in better decision-making strategies.

Women leaders with MBA diplomas have demonstrated to be good decision-makers who are advancing gender equality and thus enhancing social, economic, and political progress. Additionally, women leaders enhance teamwork. Women demonstrate more enthusiasm, passion, and take command of situations making teamwork feel more cooperative and less authoritative.

A meta-analysis comparison of male and female leaders by Natural HR acknowledged that women’s leadership was more transformational. Female leaders bring forward unique transformational concepts that lead to business prosperity. Moreover, women’s leadership has enhanced business-wide communication. Women are known to have unique skills such as strong communication skills, which they utilize to advance constructive conversations with clients, employees, and coworkers.

Gender diversity increases creativity, productivity, staff retention, and performance; consequently, 21% of women-led businesses experience above-average profitability. The value of workplace diversity and inclusion can not be overemphasized, and that is where the future of business is.


Advocating for gender equality in leadership and elevating women in decision-making ranks benefits businesses, politics, and communities. Therefore, governments and relevant stakeholders should ensure that women are getting the appropriate support such as enrollment in MBA programs that can propel them into leadership positions. 

Tonika Bruce offers business and leadership coaching for professionals seeking executive positions in organizations and new business owners. To get a 15-minute call consultation: Book a Call with Coach Bruce.


The Ultimate Salary Negotiation Tips for Employers

The Ultimate Salary Negotiation Tips for Employers

Imagine interviewing a potential employee with everything you need to scale up. You also have the right workplace and environment that encourages growth and talent. However, you lost them because you couldn’t negotiate a fair salary for them. The pain is even greater in real-life scenarios. 

Without a doubt, this is a real-life issue. Negotiating salaries rightly is one of the top problems all employers worldwide face. It is even worse for people that have never done it before. Knowing how to negotiate salaries is a core leadership skill. Every manager can learn and hone this skill with the right strategies. 

Check out these reliable ideas that would make you an expert in negotiating salaries with your prospects.

Be Aware of Your Industry Standards

Before interviewing a prospective candidate for a position, collate information on the pay range for such job roles in your field. Ensure you also know the experience levels attached to those salaries. This is one of the best ways to decide on how to negotiate the salary with your potential employees.

Candidates with more experience in that position may likely want more salary when compared to candidates with little or no experience in their respective careers. Another important aspect is to research your core competitors. More so if they are hiring for the same roles and also perform market research.

Industry Standards

Check job postings of similar roles and see how the salary range you decide on fares. To be sure you are doing the research the right way, search for job postings in your geographic location. 

Also, look for incentives you can add to your salary package that will interest prospects. These include travel stipends, healthcare, bonuses, retirement plans, benefits, etc. Again, the idea is to create a salary package that will make you and the prospect happy. And having all this information and data will ensure you are ready to negotiate an acceptable salary range with your employees. 

Lead others across all levels when it comes to leadership, communication skills, and self-awareness: The Impactful Leader

Understand and Amplify Your Company's Benefits


One of the most reliable ways to negotiate better is by starting with what you’re worth. 

Negotiation skills are essential to getting the best out of your employees, and salary is one area you should consider starting high. Listing what benefits will be available in return for working with you can go a long way towards winning over potential candidates – who doesn’t want more time off or better health insurance?

Prospective candidates are likely to adjust their salary expectations to meet yours if the perks and benefits are worth it. These benefits can include tuition remuneration, medical insurance, flexible workdays, development opportunities, paid leave, etc. 

Here is a pro tip: publicize the benefits prospective employees will enjoy when they work for your company. This can even be part of a publicity or marketing strategy. It pays to be proud and loud about these perks. 

Related: Challenges of Managing Virtual Teams and Their Solutions

Never Start Salary Negotiations with Your Best Offer

Many employers make the mistake of leading with their best offer. It will be impossible to get the employees to accept your offer if they want more. If you open talks with $70,000 for an open role, most employees will believe that’s your starting offer. So, even if this is fair and within industry standards, they would want to ask for more. 

Also, if you can’t increase the offer if they ask for a raise, they might interpret it as you not having an interest in employing them in the first place. The solution is to start with a particular amount. 

Doing this will make prospects make their salary expectation flexible. They will also understand what a reasonable salary range is. You will also have an edge to control the negotiating process by influencing their expectation by giving the first offer. That is known as anchoring. So, if they ask for a raise, it will most likely fall within your salary range. You might even save some money with this approach. 

Related: How You Can Improve Your Team’s Productivity

Always Anticipate a Counter Offer

You must always anticipate a counter from your prospective candidates as an employer. It is not unusual for them to ask for a better salary and benefits than what you offer. They want to ensure they are appreciated as they deserve to be. 

Please, don’t see a counteroffer as a lack of interest or disrespect. You can even use this counteroffer to understand your prospect’s needs and wants. This information will help you curate a combination of attractive salary and perks packages they will mostly accept. 

A reasonable and reliable approach is to start the negotiations by offering slightly lower than what you are willing to pay. Then adjust until both of you meet at a common ground.

Final Thoughts

If you follow these tips, you will improve your salary negotiation processes with potential employees. If you have reached your offer limit, let your candidate know. That will eliminate the prospect of both of you wasting time. Give them ample time to think about your offer.

Tonika Bruce is a leadership coach and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience. Learn the basics of leadership and get started on your career in a new direction. For in-depth training with personalized coaching programs: Book an appointment.