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Women's summit affords opportunity for male point of view

Over the course of the two-day Empowered Woman Success Summit and Expo in November in Miami, hundreds of attendees heard dozens of accomplished women share multiple insights on career success. Amid the presentations by women, "The Male Panel" brought together six men - including Garth D. Headley (MS '07) industrial psychologist and associate director of marketing and corporate relations in the Center for Leadership at Florida International University (FIU) - to explore "what men think about working with women and how they think women could be more effective in their careers."

Garth D. Headley, right, with Andre Boylin, co-author of Mastermind Unleashed: Selling for Geniuses.

"One of the main points that emerged was that women tend to allow themselves to be censored or limited by stereotypes," said Headley, who works with women on a daily basis. "Their fear of being seen as too 'aggressive,' for example, often limits how cogently they present themselves and the value of their work. As a result, they may not experience the best results for themselves personally or achieve the professional growth they deserve."

According to him, the panelists felt that, "Men aren't afraid of 'aggressive' women in the workplace, but are afraid of what we don't know. We urged the women to talk to us more, to tell us what we don't know that we should know."

Headley offers concrete suggestions.

  1. Do your homework: advance your education, research your field of interest extensively, actively seek to identify and learn from mentors with extensive experience in the field, know well what you bring to the table and then own it. Remember: there is a great confidence that comes from being well or overly prepared.
  2. Once you know that you have a great product/service and are prepared to present it well, do not be afraid to value it fairly.

Even if there are some issues that both women and men need to resolve to ensure that professional relationships thrive, Headley had an optimistic assessment for both genders.

"Women bring a diversity and a richness to decision making and problem solving that all sensible men are well aware of and welcome," he said.

*Original article posted on FIU Biz News.