Ambition -- It's not a dirty word.

By Diane Vanasse, VP of Marketing and Communications, Credo.

There is often a stigma associated with the word ambition as it is applied to women, and I do not understand why.

In a 2019 study from Northwestern University on gender stereotypes uncovered the fact that women were no longer regarded as less competent than men, but they were viewed as less ambitious! While, I cannot claim to have ever thought of myself – or my professional peers – as falling into the “less ambitious” bucket, let’s hope that the pandemic has offered some sort of break with this way of thinking.

I was inspired by the women I met at a few recent WLI events which featured an amazing group of speakers. Listening to them, I realized that we need to actively start thinking about and manifesting ambition for ourselves.

Here are a few takeaways I got from them on how to seek early career advancement:

Do the hard things and volunteer to take on challenging problems. Even if you can’t solve them immediately or by yourself, you will be recognized for the effort.

Ask for what you want and need. If you need resources to complete a project, ask your leader to help you get them. If you want a promotion, ask your manager what you need to do to get that promotion so you can create a roadmap to reach your goal.

Learn to negotiate and know your value.  Research[1] shows that 57% of men negotiate their entry level compensation packages versus only 7% of women. The earlier you start to negotiate the faster you will progress.

Believe in yourself.  Look inside yourself to take real stock. Do the projects you work on, your level of responsibility and compensation match up to your levels of ambition? If yes – awesome! If no you might want to form a plan to make changes.

Remember being ambitious can mean being awesome!