Lessons for Women at Women's Summit at Bryant University

Each speech and session delivered helpful advice for all professional women, whether you are just kicking off your career, developing your goals, or trying to start a small business. Here are twelve pearls of wisdom for women:

Last week, I attended the Women’s Summit at Bryant University, where I had the opportunity to hear from strong women leaders like Carla Harris, managing director and head of the Emerging Manager Platform at Morgan Stanley, and Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Actress Marlee Matlin also delivered the closing keynote speech.

The conference involved many separate panel discussions with local women leaders, and participants were invited to choose sessions that best suited their interests. I attended the one titled, “Wine, Shoes and Background Checks: Entrepreneurship and Women.” Why? Because, I like shoes and wine. Hopefully, you won't find anything in my background check to confirm that…

This session featured helpful advice from small business owners Jessica Granatiero, president and owner of The Savory Grape; Mallory Musante, Bryant class of ’10 alumna and founder of Mallory Mussante Shoes; and Christine M. Cunneen, chief executive officer of Hire Image, LLC, a provider of background screening, drug testing and employment verification services. Also on hand was Margaret Farrell, J.D., who is a partner with Hinckley, Allen and Snyder LLP, where she focuses on corporate and securities law.

Each speech and session delivered helpful advice for all professional women, whether you are just kicking off your career, developing your goals, or trying to start a small business.

Here are twelve pearls of wisdom for women:

  1. “At your job, ask what needs to happen to be successful in your role. You need to know what success looks like.” – Carla Harris
  2. “Keeping your head down in the workplace will not keep you from getting shot. Keep your head up, so you can see the bullet coming.” – Carla Harris
  3. “Use your network for help. If that person turns you down, there's one word: NEXT. Use your network to help someone else and it repays you.” – Carla Harris
  4. “Hire people who can do what you don’t do well.” – Christine M. Cunneen
  5. “Learn how to delegate more often and better. You can't do everything yourself!” – Jessica Granatiero
  6. “As a young entrepreneur, don't worry about always being nice to everyone. If something's not right, you have to say something. Trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right, follow that instinct. You have to have a voice.” – Mallory Musante
  7. “Protect your ideas. Be careful out there. Intellectual property is very valuable. Patents are protected. Trademarks are protected. Ideas are not!” – Margaret Farrell
  8. “If starting a small business, ask for free advice. Talk to a lawyer, and be up front about having them educate you. Make sure you clear up any expectations by saying ‘Don’t charge me for this. I just want to be educated.’ Sometimes people will enjoy taking you under their wing.” – Margaret Farrell
  9. “When it comes to having your own business, you need real professionals around you. That means hiring a real lawyer who is familiar with corporate leases, not a friend, who is a lawyer.” – Jessica Granatiero
  10. “Ask for people’s opinions. It’s extremely important to get feedback, because people think of things differently.” – Mallory Mussante
  11. “Don’t miss your moment. Know your value. When MSNBC offered me my own show, a guy would have said, ‘How much are you going to pay me?’ I said, ‘Thank you.’ I should have said, ‘What is that going to cost you?’ When your stock is up, don’t miss your opportunity to make more money.” – Mika Brzezinski
  12. “When you’re trying to earn more money, don’t worry about making people feel uncomfortable. Don’t worry about that awkward silence. Tell them what you are worth and just look at them.” – Mika Brzezinski