Why Women Tech Execs Can and Must Thrive on Risk


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2. What can be done to mitigate the adverse impact of risk?

Assume that you want to be part of an international assignment. Make the effort to periodically visit company headquarters, e-mail or call business associates, and participate in highly visible projects. The key is to get noticed instead of deflecting attention away from yourself.

3. How do you increase the odds of success?

Let’s say an opportunity arises for you to lead a global team. Prepare yourself for the role by finding a mentor or advisor who has done the job before and could guide you. Educate yourself on cultural differences in the team. Focus on efficient planning and coordination.

4. What value will the risk add to your career?

Develop a long-term career plan with clearly identified and prioritized goals. This will help you identify which risks you should take, and which ones you can afford to let go of. Focus on risks that will help you achieve your career objectives.

5. How will the outcome of the risk affect your professional brand?

If a risk entails you compromising either your own ethics and values or those of your organization, it’s not worth taking. At the end of the day, your integrity matters more than your professional laurels.

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A career decision is eventually a personal one. What you may consider risky may not be risky for someone else. The trick is to find a balance between the risk “downside” and the reward or opportunity—to thrive on risk. And of course, to open yourself up to learn from each success and failure. Those are the traits of any successful woman.

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Shellye Archambeau is CEO of MetricStream, a Palo Alto, CA-based company offering governance, risk, compliance, and quality management solutions to enterprises in the pharmaceutical, medical device, high tech manufacturing, energy, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, food and beverage, and automotive industries. Follow @metricstream

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  • Ilene Fischer

    Safety in life is an illusion, we have lived in a culture that says “do good work and you will be rewarded”. Our parents and grandparent held on to their “Safe” jobs for decades, the world has changed, and nothing is certain. As an entrepreneur my risk quotient is very high, but then aren’t we are always standing at the edge of the cliff looking out not knowing how it will all turn out. It is an illusion that we can predict the future, so why not take the risks?

    Ilene Fischer
    WomenLEAD, Inc

  • We see women acting in a high risk environment. Women investors are not risk shy at all! http://www.rockiesventureclub.org/2012/12/women-investors-not-risk-averse/

  • Tamra Johnson

    When I decided to leave my corporate job to start the life of an entrepreneur, it was the first time I had taken that type of risk. It was tough to make the leap, but I also had realized that if I didn’t get more comfortable with taking risks, I would end up with regret wondering about what may have been.