Star Jones is in town for the National Association of Professional Women’s (NAPW) power networking event on Monday, May 15th, and we got the chance to speak with her about her thoughts on achieving work-life balance, the responsibility all women have to support each other, and the advantages women, particularly moms, should leverage in their careers.
Star is best known to most as the Emmy award nominated co-host of ABC’s The View for nine years, but she is also an attorney, former New York City homicide prosecutor, business executive, best-selling author, and an expert on diversity and inclusion, women’s health and women’s empowerment. Presently, Star is President and a member of the Board of Directors of the NAPW and the Professional Diversity Network (PDN). She helps lead an international team that supports and advocates for diversity and inclusion and gender equity through networking both offline and online.
For someone who has a demanding job like yours, what do you do to handle the pressure?
Business leadership requires having the right team to support your or your company’s professional goals. If I am doing my job and everyone on my team is doing their job efficiently, the pressure is minimal. If I ever find myself feeling overwhelmed, the first step is to recap with my team and make sure everyone is going above and beyond their professional commitment.
On a personal note, as a six year heart disease survivor, I find that making my health a priority and taking care of myself helps me better face any of life’s demands!
What is your advice for women who are balancing work and home?
Women are busy. We take care of everything and everyone, balancing work and life and everything in between. According to the 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, the number of women-owned firms in the U.S. is on the rise and is estimated to have surpassed 9.4 million (30% of all businesses in the country) generating nearly $1.5 trillion. Like most professional women, I’m faced with more to do in less time. And—you know me—the busier I am, the more I love it! Women often ask me, “Star, how are you able to be everywhere at once? How do you balance it all?” First of all, I’ve stopped trying to achieve work/life balance, but instead strive for work/life “integration.”
Often, I remind myself to never get so busy making a living that I forget to make a life.
There’s so much going on in our lives every single day. I’ve seen women try to power juggle their careers, children and families, plan for advanced degrees while trying to network and maintain that ever-elusive work-life balance. It isn’t easy. Believe me, I know!
The best thing a busy woman can do is learn how to say “no”. I mean it, as busy women we have to learn how to prioritize ourselves. Many women find it difficult to say “no” to requests in the workplace without feeling guilty or jeopardizing professional relationships. Why do we have such a problem saying, “NO?”
While I was a practicing attorney, I was working 60-70 hours a week. As a Senior Assistant District Attorney, I was responsible for caseloads of immense volume and importance that, literally, would decide another person’s life and liberty. I sacrificed seeing friends and family, I developed bad habits that would take years to correct, and I even sacrificed my health while trying to do it all. It took some time, but I learned to say no. In fact, I’ve mastered the ability to say no. One of my mentors taught me a great technique to relieve the stress of trying to do too much, which has become my favorite way to manage being inundated with questions, emails and requests — I ask myself 3 questions.
Does this require a response?
Does this require a response from me?
Does this require a response from me right now?
What are your tips for working moms who want to advance their careers?
This is an important and ongoing conversation, but, if women want to not just make it in the workplace but thrive, they need to:
- Speak Up
Women are likely to “put their heads down” and “make no noise,” believing that hard work alone will pay off. Women are 10 times more likely than their male counterparts to get overlooked for a promotion. If you know you are skilled for the position go for it. Make it known to your manager that you are more than capable and share what you will bring to the table. Do not quietly wait to be “called” on.
- Go Beyond your Job Description
Those that get noticed at work are those who approach each day with wide-angle vision. They see through a lens that extends well beyond their job description. This means completing tasks without the prompting of others and may require further learning, researching, and networking off of the clock.
- Be a Leader
If you want to be a leader, lead! Helping your colleagues succeed is a sign of self-confidence, self-trust, teamwork and collaborative leadership.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I ever received is to always support other women. PDN and NAPW were founded on the premise of two very fundamental principles: empowering people and networking.
Women need to help women.
Bottom line: Rising tides lift all boats! When women help one another professionally—especially women at the top—everyone benefits . . . from the men and women in the mailroom or on the loading docks to the Board of Directors. Whenever you have the opportunity to mentor someone, recommend someone for a job opening, make an introduction or even act as a sounding board over a quick coffee, do it! Women have made a lot of progress in the workplace, but, if we are ever going to get to a point where women make equal money and are afforded equal opportunity, women have to help women.
Do you think there are qualities and experiences that moms have that can help them advance in their professional career?
Yes! Every mother I know is excellent at multitasking. What professional position does not require the ability to multitask and juggle several tasks at once? Mothers are also very intuitive by nature. I firmly believe that many women business leaders make solid and imperative judgments for their brand and/or companies based on the good, old-fashioned gut feeling. Never doubt a smart woman’s intuition!
What do you think it takes for a women to succeed today?
Women need to be provided the same opportunities as men and at the same amount of pay. That is what a woman needs to be successful- equality.
Tell us more about the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW)?
NAPW was founded in 2007 to provide exclusive networking opportunities to women executives, entrepreneurs and professionals as a means of making connections to advance their career and empower their lives. Today, NAPW has more than 855,000 members, over 200 operating Local Chapters across the country and an “eChapter,” our large and growing virtual chapter with more than 28,000 members. NAPW offers a networking community both online and in-person where professional women connect with others, develop personally and professionally, and promote themselves and their businesses.
What can women expect from the power networking event in San Francisco on Monday, May 15th?
The theme of this event is all about the Power of Networking and how crucial it is to our success. Every power Networking Event is intentionally designed to help women live their passions and motivate them to move their best foot forward. This event is for business professionals and aspiring professionals. Whether you’re climbing the corporate ladder or are an aspiring entrepreneur. Our speakers include founders and CEOs of fast-growing companies, and icons in the business community. Our keynote speaker is Vanessa Bell Calloway. Vanessa is an in-demand stage, screen, character and television actress, who has earned eight NAACP Image Award nominations. She will be empowering women in a mighty way, I am excited! We also have motivational breakout sessions, open networking, and I will personally share my advice on how to perfect your elevator pitch.
DATE AND TIME
Monday, May 15, 2017
4:00 PM – 8:00 PM PDT
The General’s Residence
Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture
1 Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94109