What Made Our Female CEO Succeed in a Male-Dominated Industry

What Made Our Female CEO Succeed in a Male-Dominated Industry

At Quest Workspaces, we’re proud to work for Laura Kozelouzek, a female CEO who achieved extraordinary success in the male-dominated real estate industry. As our virtual office solutions are home to many female-run businesses, we wanted to share some tips that have made our CEO and other women leaders succeed in male-dominated industries.

#1 Say Bye to Balance

Motivational speakers and wellness experts all tout the benefits of having a healthy, balanced lifestyle. While we wholeheartedly agree with the healthy part, we don’t exactly concur with the idea that everything has to be in perfect equilibrium all the time.

The following is going to contradict everything you probably hear, but it is the reason why balance is sometimes an inhibitor to progress.

Have you ever seen a professional athlete when he or she is in “the zone.” Or think about the most successful person you know. You’d describe their behavior at peak performance as ultra-focused, obsessive, extreme and perhaps even erratic. That’s what elevates their game to world class heights.

Great accomplishments don’t happen without laser focus on the goal, and sometimes that is simply not going to fit cleanly and nicely into the rest of the puzzle.

Trying to make everything congruent all the time can sometimes compromise performance. This is particularly true when balancing a family and career. At times one sphere of life is going to demand more attention than the other. Don’t arrest your progress by ignoring the part that needs you – go with it, and then compensate by devoting more attention to the other parts at times when they need it, too.

Having a healthy attitude towards dealing with imbalance, and in fact welcoming it, is a huge driver of success for women who are dealing with it all (family, children, work, etc.) and trying to succeed in a world where their male counterparts have a lighter load.

#2 Speak Up, But Do It Succinctly

One of the stereotypes about women is that they love talking. This isn’t necessarily an advantage in the fast-paced business world. Women are more likely to be interrupted by men, so our advice is get the point across in as few words as possible.

We discourage women from using apologetic terms such as, “I’m not sure if you’ll agree…” or “I’m sorry but…” These are very cluttering terms. Men are way less likely to apologize for having a difference of opinion.

If you have to disagree, do so diplomatically and have facts behind what you are saying, that way you can rebut back if you are challenged. But don’t apologize for it, for heaven’s sake.

Which leads us to the next point…

#3 Do Your Homework Better Than The Next One

There’s nothing more undermining to your credibility than to get caught not having the information you should have. If you really want to succeed in a man’s world, it’s not just a matter of being prepared — you have to be more prepared than the next person.

Laura Kozelouzek, in her book scheduled for publication later this year, talks about how she persuaded the building management of one of her first locations in New York City to allow her to open her Quest Workspaces office and virtual office solutions offering there.

To quote Laura:

To say the meeting was intimidating was an understatement. There must have been eight suit-clad executives in the boardroom sitting around the mahogany table, from attorneys to the head of real estate. They pummeled me with difficult, serious questions, but my passion shone through.  I took the attitude that I am who I am, I know what I know, and if I don’t know the answer then I’ll say so.

Being prepared ahead of time show your passion and determination, and will give you more confidence in selling situations like this. In Laura’s story, you can see how prepared she was for the meeting. It clearly made the difference and resulted in a win, one which catapulted her business to massive success.

#4 Master the Tone of Voice, Both Written and Verbal

Businesses thrive when their team members work together well and everyone gets along. You have to get along with men and allow them to form a professional bond with you. You have to be an honorary member of “boys club” if you want to be a leader in a male dominated industry.

Most of all, you don’t want an emotional outburst to lead you to be assigned any of the negative labels that women in business tend to get slapped with so easily. It just takes once. When disagreements arise, and they often do, have an attitude of cooperation rather than being judgmental or negative. Use humor to relieve tension in these situations instead.

People will often respect you more for mature handling of a difficult person. Don’t give people a reason to write you off by letting them get the best of you. Exercising emotional control is how women can counterbalance the stereotype that we are illogical and incapable of handling serious responsibility.

It is especially important to watch your email tone. Understand that it’s harder to interpret expression of the written word. If you are emotional about something, refrain from communicating about it over email. Wait until you are in a cool frame of mind and then speak in person or over the phone.

Being agreeable doesn’t mean being a doormat. Set boundaries and stick to them. For example, harassment of any sort is not acceptable.

#5 Don’t Look Like You Work Below Your Pay Grade

People judge you based upon appearances. It’s just human nature. We don’t have time to contemplate beyond the physical as we work through our busy lives as businesspeople. Within the definition of appearance are: the things you do, how you dress, and the physical space surrounding you.

Ask any successful woman, even the most uber-successful ones, and they’ll say that they can count on two hands the amount of times they were confused with an administrative assistant. The unfortunate reality is that in many male-dominated fields the only woman present in a room of executives is the staff who helps with administrative tasks.

Never perform administrative tasks such as cleaning up after a lunch meeting, taking meeting minutes, arranging travel plans, or answering the phone for someone else. In a way you’re demoting yourself.

There is a golden lesson here for work from home entrepreneurs, “mompreneurs”, or any female entrepreneur who is trying to succeed. Get a professional office. If you can’t afford one, then check out the many virtual office solutions that are available for people who are doing this on a budget. This is an investment in your image.

Summing Up the Story of our Female Virtual Office Solutions CEO

Every successful entrepreneur is extraordinary, but the ones who did it against the odds are extra special. We’re proud and grateful for our female CEO and would love to impart her wisdom to anyone who wants to read her book which is slated for publishing this year. To join the mailing list, please email info@questworkspaces.com with “Laura’s book” in the subject line.

Quest Workspaces supports a safe, undisrupted and compliant work environment. Our workspaces focus on private offices with onsite support that enables social distancing, and also offer virtual office packages and remote services to keep your business moving forward from your home or Quest office. Contact Quest today to find a flexible solution that works for you, and discuss how to benefit from our services while also complying with local COVID-19 mandates.

Call us at 800.268.1051 or email solutions@questworkspaces.com