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Margaret Stender’s 4 Tips for Career Success

Posted October 19, 2012 by Kelley Long in On the Ladder

I loved meeting Margaret Stender, President and CEO of the Chicago Sky WNBA team, and learning her steps to building something that lasts. Margaret’s career history is impressive and her accomplishments many. Yet she has a calmness and presence about her that put everyone in the room at ease and made us hang on every word that she shared. How does a self-professed overachiever and perfectionist manage to remain so present and engaged in the moment while enjoying such success?

Margaret shared these four gems as her “secret sauce”:

  1. Create your own career path. Don’t wait for your manager to tell you what it is and don’t think you’re going to find it in someone else’s plans. Take the lead on making your path according to your values, goals, and talents. It’s your career, no one else’s. Run your own agenda.
  2. Place a high premium on integrating your work and personal lives. Notice she didn’t say “balance” between your work and personal. I think we’re all realizing that the separation of the two is pretty much impossible these days. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a personal life — you just have to find a way to integrate it into your work in a way that works for you.
  3. Realize that women aren’t able to “compartmentalize” the way that men can. Have you ever noticed how men are able to completely tune everything out when they’re focused on something? It’s like everything has its own little box and they’re exceptionally good at keeping those boxes separate. And women, master multi-taskers that we are, we’re more like soup: Everything’s all mixed together all time. Leave your troubles at the door? Impossible. We might be able to keep ourselves from focusing on the seven other issues going on in our lives, but we are never able to completely tune them out. Realize that we’re wired that way, and give yourself (and the other women in your life) a break.
  4. Lift as you climb. Margaret talked about the time she saw Madeleine Albright speak and someone asked her if she’d had any mentors. Secretary Albright lamented how few women mentors she had found throughout her career and what a shame she thought that was. She expressed her sentiment quite clearly, “There is a cold place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Let’s help each other, Career Girls!


About the Author

Kelley Long

Kelley Long is a CPA/PFS and CFP® who believes that the true meaning of financial security means having choices in life. She uses her 15 years of experience in various financial services industry jobs to inform her work as a Resident Financial Planner for Financial Finesse, providing unbiased financial guidance through workplace financial wellness programs. She’s also a volunteer and media ambassador for Feed the Pig and 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy. In Kelley’s perfect world, everyone would feel great talking about their money concerns, fears, questions and problems, because then everyone would see that we ALL have those concerns, fears, questions and problems. Kelley lives in Chicago with her husband and their Himalayan cat Miles, where she also teaches BODYPUMP group fitness classes at the Chicago Athletic Clubs.