Making A Difference

Finding Opportunities to Grow and Lead

Ilene Lang (MBA 1973)

Ilene Lang (MBA 1973) is the former president and CEO of Catalyst, where she worked to promote women in leadership in business and beyond. In this interview she talks about finding and creating opportunities for growth and leadership.

“I became a feminist when I was 11 years old and was told that, because I was a girl, I couldn't be a leader. I recognized the double standard that my parents had never raised me to expect. But that's what I was finding. So, moving forward in my life, I have been very involved in everything connected with the women's movement––with women's groups and companies, especially, because that's where I worked––in trying to encourage more women in every field I've been in, and all of my volunteer work, and whatever. And especially women leaders.

“What I say to young women embarking on their careers, which I think is also going to be useful through their whole lifetime, is that you look at the culture. If you want to be successful in an organization, go to an organization that has women who are successful in it. Not one woman at the top, but many. Talk to the people there and find out what the women in the organization think about their opportunities.

“You don't have to make all your own opportunities. There are some that we've made for you. You can depend that they are there. And let's reward the organizations that have really moved forward.

“You have to pay it forward. Always. And that's the virtuous circle. People help you. You help others. And it forms an incredible system that is unstoppable.”

(Published December 2017)

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