Words to live by: Seminar explores strategies to help women excel in workplace

Date: October 17, 2023


Mary Anne Clancy had some good news to share at the start of Tuesday’s luncheon workshop, hosted by THRIVE.

The number of women entrepreneurs is on the rise, she said. One in 5 businesses today are owned by women according to the 2022 report of the National Women’s Business Council.

The bad news?  Only one in 5 businesses are owned by women, Clancy said.

While women face the same obstacles in the corporate world as men, they often deal with additional challenges as they work to establish their careers. These include: trying to succeed in a male-dominated field, overcoming feelings of self-doubt and struggling to be taken seriously, battling the “imposter syndrome” or feeling like you shouldn’t be in the position you are, and trying to balance responsibilities at work and home, Clancy said.

Clancy, the senior vice president of Marketing and Communications for the Institution for Savings, led the group of 35 business professionals and Chamber members through a conversation where she shared strategies for finding success in the workplace.

Clancy drew on her own experiences and compiled advice from some of the area’s top women business owners.

The women she interviewed are: Joanne Chang, the owner of Flour Bakery + Café and Myers + Chang, an award-winning James Beard chef with a degree in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard; Ginny Eramo, the founder of the highly successful Interlocks Salon & MedSpa in Newburyport; Nancy Batista-Caswell, the managing director and owner of Caswell Restaurant Group; Cara Hutchins, the founder and owner of Communications Ink, who frequently lectures on branding; and Darcia Tremblay, the president and owner of Silver Lining Solutions, who began her company in her home and expanded to a 3600 sq.-foot space with more than eight employees.

Each of the women shared inspiring advice and lessons they have learned throughout their prestigious careers. Those tips include: surround yourself with successful people, develop a thick skin, celebrate your successes – big and small, take time for self-care, and it’s OK to fail so long as you grow from the experience.

Find a group of female business leaders and network, according to Eramo, and break through the “old boys’ network” by engaging with male peers on the golf course and in the boardroom.

Be a leader by example, Eramo noted, and be willing to also do the tasks that you assign to your employees.

Chang’s advice called on women to be decisive, and to be clear and direct. She urged other women to find  “a cheerleader” – someone they trust who will give them the truth and cheer them on when they feel like giving up.

Clancy implored the group to always be prepared and do their homework.

“What dooms us sometimes is not our actual capability to succeed, but rather our decision not to try,” she said.


View Mary Anne’s slide presentation HERE.