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Corner Office: Claire Riggs

by Editorial Staff--South Jersey Biz
Claire Riggs
Public Affairs Director at Axeon Specialty Products

The saying goes that behind every good man is a good woman. Well, in the business world it could be said that behind every good woman is another good woman. Everyone needs a mentor, and for many successful businesswomen that someone is often another female who helped them meet and set new career goals. We spoke with Claire Riggs, public affairs director at Axeon Specialty Products, to find out why it’s important for women to not only break through the glass ceiling, but bring others along with them.

On helping other women through the ranks: While always taking the opportunity to mentor and build up the next generation of female leaders, I’ve found that my younger female colleagues are not as concerned as my generation needed to be about breaking ceilings. These younger professionals exude a sincere confidence about what they want out of life and what they are willing to do to achieve it, a confidence likely paved for them by my generation’s choices and opportunities.

The major factors that women in business face today: A few factors come to mind, including wage inequality, the contradiction of viewing a woman’s nurturing, compassionate and empathetic tendencies as weaknesses instead of strengths, and the disparaged view of aging women vs. aging men. Our unique ability to multitask and use our hard and soft skills to strategically solve problems and achieve personal and organizational success is often not valued, appreciated or rewarded in the same way as our male counterparts.

The biggest misconceptions women have about furthering their career: Likely due to the numerous and varied demands on our time, we tend to be viewed as non-competitive, people-pleasers if we are not hard-core and unemotionally independent. What I’ve found is that there’s a huge difference between being independent and interdependent. To stay strong, I unabashedly live “within the village,” surrounding myself with other strong women on a spiritual and professional level, as we keep each other accountable, sharpen one another and spur each other on to be our best.

On ways a strong female can inspire others: Through a sincerity of character, encouraging others to fully live out their calling and unselfishly use their gifts; through a humility of spirit that hears, listens and seeks to meet a need when one sees a need; and through an unwavering understanding that, in the end, we are better together—with our varied experiences, skills and strengths—than in competition with one another.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 5, Issue 2 (February, 2015).
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