Join us in celebrating Women’s History Month! This whole month is an opportunity to amplify women’s voices, celebrate their far-reaching impact, and a time to recognize the strides Women have made throughout the years and continue to make across the world. We had an amazing opportunity to connect with our Board Member, Catherine Levene, to answer a few questions about her experience as a woman in leadership. Catherine continues to inspire others in the workplace, and we are excited for you to learn more about her.
Ad.net Team: Tell us about your background and upbringing, and have you had mentors along the way?
Catherine: I grew up in upstate New York in Binghamton. One of my inspirations was my grandmother, who, in her 60s, was the first woman to get an MBA in Arts Management in the SUNY system. She loved the visual and performing arts which I think inspired my ultimate interest in media and the creative fields.
My undergraduate education was at University of Pennsylvania where I got a dual degree in both History and Business. Following that, I went to work at The New York Times Company where I had two great female mentors, one of whom wrote recommendations for me when I attended Harvard Business School to complete my MBA.
I have had many great mentors along the way – both men and women. I pay it forward by mentoring other women as well.
As for advice, it’s important to seek out like-minded people with whom you connect organically. These relationships cannot be forced. I would recommend to any women to ask for help along the way. Surround yourself with great people.
Ad.net Team: What have you learned most about being a woman in leadership?
Catherine: I would recommend women embrace who they are authentically. Successful leadership today requires empathy, clear communication and the ability to build strong relationships with colleagues, employees, and clients. Women seem to develop these skills early in life so it’s natural that we would bring them in to the workforce.
Ad.net Team: Do you see yourself as a role model?
Catherine: I try to be the best person I can be – to work hard, work smart, build relationship and care about the companies and people with whom I work. I’m not afraid to speak my opinion but I also appreciate the art of listening. I’m goal oriented but the ways of getting “there” matter to me. If that results in me being a role model, that’s a bonus. And if that means breaking some glass ceilings along the way, I’m definitely happy to step on the glass. As the first female corporate officer at Meredith Corporation, I was honored to be able to show other women they too can reach major leadership positions in public companies.
Ad.net Team: How did you start getting to sit on Corporate Boards, and what advice would you have for future Women Leaders who would like to sit on Boards?
Catherine: The first Board I was on was from a Company that was acquired by The New York Times called GolfServe. It as the early days of the internet and I had the digital expertise to provide value to the company
Ad.net Team: What advice or resources would you recommend that support future women leaders?
Catherine: Many companies have Internal resources such as employee resource groups that help connect you to other women both in and outside of the company. Join some industry organizations as well. More than anything, raise your hand and take the job. The more experience you have in the workplace the more likely you will be considered for board roles as you develop in your career. Disregard the doubt you may feel about whether you are ready to take that new job you were offered. That’s called imposter syndrome and it’s holding you back. You’re ready.
Ad.net Team: What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Catherine: Women’s History Month is the opportunity to celebrate women who have had a significant positive impact on communities, culture, companies, and the world. The more we tell their stories, the more stories there will to be written in the future.