At the first Business Women’s Forum (BWF) luncheon of the year, I had the pleasure of leading a roundtable discussion on Women in the Workforce. The economic empowerment of women across the world is one of the most remarkable revolutions of the past 50 years. It is remarkable because of the extent of the change: millions of people have taken control over their own economic fate. These are exciting times!

Politics have clearly played a role in this evolution. Governments have passed equal-rights acts, and female politicians such as Margaret Thatcher and Hilary Clinton have taught younger women that their voice can be heard.

During our luncheon we discussed ways to keep the momentum going. Here are some of the suggestions:

Education: Women need to stay in school—go to college, get a degree or certificate. The key is to be prepared, be competitive and be marketable. It is never too late to go to school.

Industry: Women shouldn’t be afraid to go into “nontraditional” fields. Women should not be deterred from applying for a job in what might be viewed as a stereotypical, male-dominated field. There is no rulebook stating what jobs are best for men or women. Let’s grab a hammer and break down that wall.

Apply: Just because you don’t excel at every job skill listed on the application doesn’t mean you can’t do the job. But, you can’t do the job if you don’t apply! Go for the job and feel confident that you can do it. Believe in yourself and know your worth. You are more than likely going to receive training once hired.

Negotiate: When negotiating your salary, you don’t have to say “yes” right away. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. Remember, one extra dollar a year is over $2,000 a year. Request some time to consider the offer and then collect as much data as you can. Use sites like Payscale and Glassdoor to research the job and what you are worth. In today’s world, the ability to successfully negotiate is a necessity.

Communicate: Negotiations can be done anytime, not just when you are being hired. Be prepared with why you deserve it—know your worth, toot your own horn, be positive and be confident. Role-playing with someone prior to a negotiation conversation can make you feel more prepared, confident and comfortable.

As the Vice Chair of the Business Women’s Forum (BWF), I have enjoyed getting to know so many of the amazing women in our community. This luncheon sparked a lively conversation and I left feeling energized and encouraged by the comments. I encourage anyone interested in the BWF to join us for the next luncheon on March 20, 2018. These luncheons are a great way for each of us to learn business and leadership skills, and connect with other women in the community.

About Nancy Pearce

Nancy Pearce is Vice-President/Financial Center Manager IV for Zions Bank. At Zions, she is involved with diversity and inclusion forums including Zions Women in Business acting as Co-Chair for her region.  She will be sitting on a committee with Zions Retail Executive Director to discuss ideas on specific current issues.  Prior to Zions, she worked for Wells Fargo Bank for 12 years where she managed multiple branches and was the state Co-Chair with Community Affairs.  She led the state in monthly volunteerism activities and was nominated as the 2017 Volunteer of the Year for the State of Utah through Wells Fargo Bank. She is involved in the Davis Chamber of Commerce and currently serves as Vice Chair for the Business Women’s Forum through Salt Lake Chamber. She received her degree at LDS Business College and attended the University of Utah.  In her free time she loves to volunteer in her community, spend time with her children, spend time outdoors, work in the yard, hike, boat, tube, ski etc.  She also loves to travel when she can and is excited to be traveling to China this year.

About the Business Women’s Forum:  The Business Women’s Forum (BWF) is a program organized by the Salt Lake Chamber where local women managers, executives and entrepreneurs meet to improve their personal development and networking skills through bi-monthly luncheons and mixers. For more information on BWF, visit http://slchamber.com/business-womens-forum/