Northwest Arkansas is home to some of the smartest and most inspiring entrepreneurs. We’re proud to feature a few of our female clients who are leading the way in business. We asked them to talk about the importance of being a woman in leadership in today’s climate. They each tell their stories of overcoming obstacles, hopes for the future and give advice for younger women coming up in the ranks.
ALLISON MCELROY, CFRE
Founder, The McElroy Group
I don’t think of myself as a female leader specifically first, but simply a leader. It has taken a lot of years, successes and failures to earn the confidence I have grown into as my current self. We tend to take it for granted today, but not too very long ago, seeing women in certain positions of power or leadership was an anomaly, not the norm. I think any leader feels a sense of responsibility in their roles, but as a woman, I truly feel that I have just a little bit more to prove, perhaps. As I’ve gotten older and more experienced, I actually find it easier to assert myself and take a firmer stand in matters of opinion or decision-making. And knowing that young girls have an opportunity to see me, and countless other women, leading the way, offers all the more incentive to get it right.
I’d be remiss not to acknowledge that some of the challenges I’ve faced were likely due to being female. However, in most cases, these challenges weren’t always intentional, but born more out of learned and accepted behaviors that cross generational lines. Being interrupted, being talked over and having basic concepts patronizingly explained to me are experiences I think most females have experienced. As a business leader, I have a responsibility to teach, motivate and lead. The only way I know to achieve success is to bring the absolute best out of every person around me. This means removing previous obstacles and eliminating behaviors that stunt growth and development. As a female leader today, I have a keen eye toward the obstacles that have impacted me specifically as a female, and I strive to be especially mindful of those as I look toward building a better tomorrow.