The secrets to slaying that every future boss babe needs to know
"When I was growing up, I didn't have a strong career woman to look up to. That's what I'm hoping to be for young girls now." Those are the first words out of Rhonda Vetere's mouth when I sat down to chat with the corporate queen about her killer career and what it's like being a woman in the tech field (aka way outnumbered by men).
Now Chief Technology and Information Officer of Estée Lauder (talk about boss babe #goals!), Rhonda is sharing her top tips for going after your dreams.
1. Make your mornings count.
Having an a.m. routine that sets you up to slay your day is key. For example, Rhonda swears by running: "It's honestly what keeps me sane," she laughs. And she encourages her coworkers and friends to do the same. While you might not be a pavement pounder like Rhonda (she'll be crossing the finish line at the NYC Marathon this fall!), find something else that centers you in the morning like reading a book with a cup of tea or doing 10 minutes of yoga.
2. Never sit still.
Before settling in at Estée Lauder, Rhonda moved around a lot from different jobs to even different countries. "Don't stay in one place for too long, that's my biggest advice. Make moves with purpose and you'll get where you want to go." (Obviously it worked for her.) Waiting around for the right internship to fall in your lap won't work—you have to be proactive in planning your path. Start networking with some of your parents' friends, look around for part-time opps and try new extracurrics.
3. Prioritize your mental health.
Rhonda might be an avid runner, but it's as much for her brain as it is for her bod. Because she understands just how important mental health is to being happy and successful, she also schedules time for herself every single day just to think (seriously!). Make sure you take breaks and give yourself time to recharge, too. Working hard is a great thing...but so is balance.
4. Erase "no" from your vocabulary.
"The world is your oyster and you just need to grab every opportunity you see," encourages Rhonda. She believes that her success has stemmed from her willingness to do anything and everything: "I took assignments that other people didn't want. I never said no."
5. Be willing to put in the work.
When asked what it was like working in a male-dominated field, Rhonda admitted, "Honestly, I just had to work harder. I'd work 24-hour, endless days, just grinding it out." Unfortunately, being a woman in tech can be tough (or being the only girl in your robotics club) and it might require you to put in more effort than the boys, no matter how unfair it may feel. But giving it your all and proving your place can also be super rewarding and build killer confidence...and it'll be worth it in the end, trust.
6. Remember a job isn't just a job.
"I'm a people person...I love making a difference in people's lives and helping them. I don't show up just to work," explains Rhonda. Her point? Doing what you love, and what is in line with your values and plays up your strengths, is uber important. So when you're looking for your next internship, remember that, while you might have to do some tasks you don't really want to (like coffee runs or filing papers), ultimately at the end of the day, you have to feel good about the work you're doing.
Rhonda's final words of advice? "Don't give up. Live your dream and go after it. And remember that if someone tells you no, take that as a yes."