Mentor Circle with Jane Steinmetz

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On Tuesday, February 28th, Jane Steinmetz met with the Fellows to discuss her exciting career path as a successful woman.

As a principal at Ernst & Young, Jane leads the EY national indirect tax practice for the financial services industry. She is also the EY New England Market Leader for financial services, leading a talented group of approximately 600 professionals within the assurance, advisory and tax service lines.

Fellows, please share why you think you are prepared to be a successful leader in the workplace. If this isn’t the career path you’re looking towards, share what you think makes a great leader based on your academic and work experiences, as well as this mentor circle.

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11 thoughts on “Mentor Circle with Jane Steinmetz

  1. I feel that I would be a successful leader in the workplace because of my competence and personality strengths. After taking the Strength Finder test in Freshman Year Seminar after coming to Bentley as well as an EIS test in GB215, my personality traits are those of a high-achiever. Some of my top strengths included responsibility, discipline, and I think most importantly being a “relator.” While performing at a high level and pushing others to do the same, I always try to understand people’s perspectives and what makes them tick. As a leader or a manager, it’s necessary to know how to motivate your people in teams and as individuals as well as to be able to see where their strengths lie as well. Part of being a leader is not just telling people how to do it; it’s supporting them in meeting a goal together.

    Also I feel that being a part of the Fellowship will make me a better leader. I am starting to gain insight on just how important being a mentor and sponsor is for men and women alike, and how important it is to find that for yourself too. By building this awareness of the challenges that I will inevitably face in the workplace now as a student will help me to develop the tools I need to overcome such obstacles and to be able to share my successes, struggles and failures with other s so that they may do the same. Sharing one’s knowledge to benefit others and to support them on their journey towards their career and life goals is an important aspect of being a leader, and I am happy that the CWB provides Bentley’s students with that opportunity to learn and grow!

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  2. From my experiences thus far, I think I will prepared to be a successful leader in the workplace in the future as I learn to enhance my skills more and learn how to be more confident in myself. Similar to what Jane said, I believe leaders are those who care about their colleagues and also influence them. They tend to be ambitious and know how to solve problems practically. After participating in a few workshops focused on women and having mentors that challenge me in terms of my strengths, I feel that the skills that I have will allow me to be a great leader in the future.

    According to Strengths Finder, my top five skills are: restorative, harmony, futuristic, developer, and discipline. I find that to be a good leader, one should carry at least one, if not all, of these traits to create a better culture within their firm. Being restorative and futuristic, I am able to find ways to work around problems and also think about the future of the company, where it should be headed and how to get there. Additionally, being a developer and creating harmony allows growth within individuals and allows me to influence them in a way that will make it both beneficial for them and the firm overall. Lastly, the discipline that I have will push me forward to stay motivated and get things done the right way and on time.

    Aside from my strengths, I have been getting involved in a series of programs that give me the opportunity to not only learn about the issues of women in the workplace and how to conquer them, but also receive mentors that can assist in all aspects of my life. From the first CWB Fellowship event to this one, speakers have consistently noted the importance of having mentors in your life and how they are the ones who can help you reach your goals. Understanding this, I am taking advantage of all the opportunities that are given to me and also making sure I build meaningful relationships with other individuals.

    Overall, I am an ambitious lady who hopes to impact other individuals in the long run. I truly enjoyed this Mentor Circle with Jane, her story, and the advice that she gave us.

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  3. I think knowing yourself is an important characteristic for being a leader. Jane spoke about how she thought this would originally hold her back, because she knew she wasn’t the same as the leaders she saw before her. However, by knowing herself and staying true to who she was, she ended up finding more career success and happiness.
    Jane also spoke about being an influential leader, without being an aggressive one. I definitely am not an aggressive person, but have also found success in leadership roles by still being influential. I think this makes me effective and more approachable, which makes me a strong leader.
    I also connected with Jane’s discussion of being the “best athlete.” I have strived to achieve this by working on my soft skills, that can ultimately apply to many different functional areas. This will allow me to apply leadership skills in a variety of industries and areas of a company.

    – Amanda

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  4. I am prepared to be a successful woman in the workplace because I have the abilities, drive, and most importantly, the confidence to excel.

    During my strength finders assessment, I learned that my top skills are: achiever, competition, intellection, input, and harmony. Since then, I have learned to connect these skills and use them to my advantage. My achiever and competition traits push me to be the best in all that I do, while my intellection and input traits compel me to be on the constant quest for knowledge. My harmony trait explains my desire for peace and unity amongst team members. In the workplace, it is a balance of these traits that enables me to succeed.

    I am also self-motivated in all that I do; my inner drive alone is sufficient for me to achieve my goals. However, it is not only this drive, but my confidence, that continues to propel me forward. I used to easily get knocked down and lose hope. After much rumination, I recognized that I myself am my own biggest obstacle. I still get knocked down, as does everyone else. Yet, it my attitude that has changed. Yesterday, Jane mentioned how one person had blatantly told her his desire for her failure. I was surprised at the harshness of that statement and couldn’t help but wonder: what if that had been me? Two years ago, I would have let that statement define me. Now, I would see it as all the more reason to succeed and prove him wrong. I have faith in myself and I know that my strong capacity is matched by an equally powerful ambition and inner compass.

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  5. I think that I am prepared to be a successful female leader in the workplace because I have the ability to understand others while keeping my own identity in tact. Jane spoke about how she realized she didn’t have to change herself and act more aggressive to be a good leader. Similar to Jane’s leadership style, I have realized that I can be a good leader by listening to many points of view and making the best decision for all of those involved. I have the ability to be more forceful and aggressive when necessary but one of my strengths is my ability to look beyond what I see and step into my colleagues shoes.
    Jane, and our previous speakers, mentioned the importance of having mentors and people to look up to in your profession. Jane went a step further, talking about the importance of introducing yourself and making simple connections with coworkers and superiors, especially new coworkers. Another one of my strengths is being open to new people and quickly making connections, which will help me in networking.
    Overall, I think that I am prepared because I know how to stay authentic to my true self while also utilizing my strengths to make connections.

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  6. Jane talked all about the importance of being genuine, because this is what makes the best leaders. She also said to always stay true to your style. In her job, she might not have been as assertive as her male coworkers but she was just as persuasive. I am prepared to be a successful leader because I know that I am genuine and like Jane, I may not be assertive but I am persuasive.

    Through Jane’s mentor circle, I learned that it is important for leaders to challenge their employees. It was upsetting to hear that Jane felt her opportunities for challenging projects decreased once she came back from maternity leave.

    Overall, be authentic and be genuine because this is what makes great leaders.

    -Holly

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  7. I feel that I am prepared to be a leader in the workplace because I am confident in myself. I am confident in my knowledge and skills, my ability to work both collaboratively and independently, and most importantly, my desire to continually learn and improve myself.

    One of the reasons that I wanted to participate in this fellowship was because I was disheartened learn how many women lose ambition within their first few years in the workforce. When I heard about this, it made me more driven to be ambitious and to work hard to achieve my goals. I want to be a leader whom others can look up to, not just because of my measurable accomplishments, but for who I am as a person as well. In order to do this, I must be open to learning and making mistakes, because that is what leads to improvement. I believe that going into the workforce with this mindset makes me prepared to overcome challenges as a future leader.

    Jane confirmed my belief during the mentor circle when she talked about leading others using her own leadership style. She found that staying true to her style was much more effective than attempting to lead the way company cultures expected leaders to behave. This confidence that she found in herself is what helped her to excel in her profession.

    – Lia Golick

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  8. I had a really good time listening to Jane at the mentor circle. I thought it was so special that she was talking just to us and answering all of our questions. Her story was really inspiring because it showed that women are more than capable of maintaining a work/life balance even when they have kids. What really stuck with me was her emphasis on the assumption that an ambitious woman cannot be a good mom at the same time. That is totally false. In her life, she was focused and ambitions enough to keep a strong position at work while raising her children. I thought that was inspiring because it completely defied the stereotypes of the struggle between motherhood and corporate life.

    I also thought it was interesting that some of her colleagues at her previous company were somewhat hostile towards her when she chose to leave. I had a hard time understanding why someone would be so selfish to break off the relationship they had made with Jane just because she was leaving the company. I also think it was brave and courageous of Jane to not give in to the threats and backlash she received from jealous coworkers as she transitioned into her new role. It shows how determined and independent she is as a businesswoman.

    Something that really stuck with me was her story about the aggressiveness test that she and another male coworker took. I could relate to her story about how she was not as aggressive, but very much influential regardless. I think that was powerful because it shows that although the aggressiveness often seen in males is considered the reason they are successful, it doesn’t always show true. Jane could be influential and not completely aggressive and still have power in the company. I admire that she embraces that quality in her because I can see it in my work ethic as well.

    Hearing Jane’s story gave me more of a perspective on the businesswoman lifestyle and made me understand that the possibilities are endless no matter what the circumstances are at home or what age you are. Jane is in such a powerful role in her company and I admire her for proving that corporate women are strong and independent too.

    -Andrea

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  9. Personally, I think that I still have a ways to go until I will be prepared to be a successful leader in the workplace. As a sophomore undergraduate, I am feeling out how I like to lead and which of my methods are most effective. One trait that leaders should have is confidence, and I believe that I am confident in understanding who I am and what I can do. I may not always be confident about whether or not my actions are best practices, but I know what my core strengths are and I am confident in my ability to utilize them to excel forward.

    Great leaders are those that are authentic, which is something that Ms. Steinmetz mentioned during our discussion. People gravitate toward leaders that they think are powerful, but the relationships that flourish are those that incorporate trust and loyalty, which develop when a leader is genuine. This relates back to confidence because being authentic means being confident in yourself. Ms. Steinmetz told us that she had initially tried to fit in with the ingroup, only to realize that she was plenty effective using her own unique leadership style.

    I was incredibly impressed by Ms. Steinmetz and her story, and the reminder to remain true to myself is something that I will value for the rest of my personal and professional life.

    – Dana Zappone

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  10. I believe as though I am prepared to be a successful leader in my workplace because I enjoy mentoring and helping others and I’m very dedicate. I hate having things left on my “to do” list so I strive to do whatever it is I need to to complete a task. If this means leading others or helping others to complete a task once I get into the workforce then I am more than willing to do so. As a communications minor and simply a human being who just talks a lot I’m never afraid to lead a discussion or talk to new people and this is a characteristic I feel will also help me be a strong leader. However with all of this being said I know that there are things that I can work on or improve for the future to become an even better leader and I am looking forward to seeing what opportunities are out there for me in the future.

    I thought that Jane was incredibly helpful and found her story to be incredibly inspiring. After listening to her it gave me more confidence in continuing on my path as a women entering into the business workforce and I am truly grateful that I got to attend this session.

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  11. Based on my career path I believe I will be able to be a successful leader. Currently studying for an Entrepreneurship major, my classes have taught me great skills in leading, communicating, group work, and other valuable skills. While all of these skills are important there are also a few more soft skills that people need to become great leaders. These skills include being authentic when you show up to work. Authenticity allows your employees to have trust in you because they know that you are acting on your own values and are not being fake about anything. Another important skill to have as a leader is empathy. In order to treat your employees correctly, you must have a sense of what they are going through and how the company culture may either be helpful or harmful to them. I think it is also important for a leader to be open to criticism ad change.If everything that a leader does is perceived to them as a good thing and they never get any critical feedback then how will they know if they are actually being a positive figure and a productive leader. With so many things changing in the world around us all the time, it is valuable to be open to looking at things different sometimes and gaining a new perspective on daily operations or the big picture.

    Jane did a wonderful job of outlining what she believed were the most important things to stay focused on when entering the workplace and even when advancing in the workplace. Her story was inspiring and very eye opening for many reasons and it was an all around great mentor circle.

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