26 Oct 2018
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A Chance to Lead

A business owner provides opportunities for women to make their way in the corporate world.

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Lillian Lincoln Lambert (MBA 1969) is a retired business executive and author of The Road to Someplace Better: From the Segregated South to Harvard Business School and Beyond. In this interview, she talks about using her position as a business owner to provide opportunities for other women to make their way in the corporate world.

“When I started my business, the building-service industry was primarily dominated by companies owned by men, but about 90 percent of the women were workers there. But many were in lower-skilled levels. So one of the things that I was interested in doing when I started my business, I put some emphasis on making sure women had opportunities to grow within the industry.

“I set up training programs at my company, so that women could aspire to higher-level management, and I made sure that they had the tools necessary to compete against the men that they would be competing with, which is one of the skills I learned at Harvard, of course, where there were few women and lots of men. And the other thing, I think, is that I try to instill in them--which I also think is attributed to my Harvard experience--is that you learn how to make decisions that you really have to live by, by setting priorities in your life, so that you make decisions based on information that you have available, and that you then can analyze things in much more detail and make the decisions that are best for you.

“So some of these women have gone on to key management positions. And some women I know of have owned businesses. This has created an environment, I think, where women feel much more confident to become business owners instead of always being employees.”

(Published October 2018)

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Featured Alumni

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Class of MBA 1969, Section D
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