When embarking on a steady career climb many women aspire to, one day, find themselves behind a desk in the coveted C-suite. Chairman and CEO of BET Networks, Debra Lee, sat down with Editorial Director of the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, and host of Women of Power TV, Caroline Clarke, to discuss what it takes to make power moves in order to be a C-suite power player.
[Related: Experience the Photo Highlights From Black Enterprise’s Women of Power Summit!]
Lee revealed the unconventional path that led her to where she is today, a top executive for one of the nation’s most prominent African American media outlets. Lee shared how openness to possibility and confidence in ability were the factors that allowed for her to make strides in the male-dominated media industry. “I initially only planned on being at BET for 5 years max,” shared Lee. “In April, it will make 30 years that I’ve been with the company. The great news is that it’s felt like a steady progression because I’ve constantly been taking on new roles with the company,” she continued.
When asked how she’s remained afloat in an ever-changing industry while balancing motherhood, career, and the many hats professional women tend to juggle, Lee offered these 5 essential nuggets:
1. She’s learned that you can have it all, but not at the same time.
2. She’s learned that she’s had to give up the idea of perfection.
3. Lee stressed the importance of having a team in place—people invested in your success.
4. She explained that you rarely have all the information you need to make a decision—a lot of times you just have to go with your gut.
5. Lee concluded that confidence is the key essential attribute one must possess when gunning for the C-suite, while fear is the essential factor that holds one back.
Debra Lee and Caroline Clarke concluded their informative conversation emphasizing the importance of having a vision when leading a team and/or company.