Women Creating Commerce: An Interview with Lisa Davis, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental Petroleum.

We asked the two Houston women who made Forbes 2018 Most Powerful Women list to share their thoughts on influencing the next generation of women, legacy, and what it takes to be a CEO.

How can organizations better pave the road for the next generation of female leaders?

 

Lisa Davis: Studies show that when females are underrepresented in the entry-level hiring process, this has a profound effect on the talent pipeline. I believe organizations need to focus on closing the early gaps in hiring and promoting women. It is particularly challenging when it comes to technical roles. We need to encourage young females to pursue technical careers and then actively recruit them, hire them and nurture them in the early and middle portions of their careers. This will help ensure the pipeline is expanded when tapping strong female candidates for executive roles. We also have to focus on addressing conscious and unconscious bias in the workplace to foster a culture where not only female diversity is valued, but all diversity is valued as a business imperative. In Siemens, we operate in more than 190 countries and across varied industries. Our customers are diverse, and our organization should reflect the same diversity. It is key to how we connect and grow our business. At the end of the day, what gets measured gets done. Companies need to set targets and develop programs to meet them, focusing especially on expanding the early-career pipeline and adding more women there.

 

Vicki Hollub: Know your subject matter, work hard, be humble and a good team member, and make your boss look good (this would be the same advice I’d give to men and women). The biggest difference I see with men and women is that often times the women are waiting until they feel perfectly qualified before they go after an opportunity.  Additional advice I would give to the next generation of female leader is,  if you see something that you are interested in, don’t wait for someone to recognize you, advocate for yourself, and go for it.  If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, assume you can do it, and then figure it out.

What do you want your legacy to be?

 

Lisa Davis: My goal has always been to make a difference – a difference in how the organization functions, the motivation of the team and ultimately the business results.

 

Vicki Hollub: That I’ve created a culture that fosters innovation and collaboration which has set our people and company up for sustainable future success.

What traits do you believe a leader should possess to become a CEO? 

 

Lisa Davis: The traits are less about technical know-how and much more about traits that engage and motivate people:

 

  • Listen to hear and understand
  • Trust and be trustworthy
  • Empower others
  • Build pride and confidence in others
  • Be open and transparent, especially when things are difficult

Vicki Hollub: CEO’s should be good coaches.  They need to have integrity, long-term vision and agility.  They also need to be decisive (especially regarding difficult decisions)  and be able to inspire others.

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