Mitzi Short and Teresa Ressel
Mitzi Short, Teresa Ressel Address Women in Leadership Conference
Mitzi Short urges Ross students to take the driver's seat and "be the change you want to see."
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Companies are looking for business-minded women, Pepsi Cola executive Mitzi Short told several hundred women at the 13th annual Women in Leadership Conference held on Sept. 30 at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
"I encourage you to step up and take the driver's seat because the view is better. Be the change you want to see," she said, picking up on the conference theme, "We Can Do It! Driving Change in Business."
"In the driver's seat means taking control of our lives personally and professionally. It's a mind-set. You have to believe in and take responsibility for you," said Short, vice president of multicultural marketing and strategic initiatives for Pepsi Cola North America, in her morning keynote at Hale Auditorium.
She discussed the progress women have made, citing the Fair Pay Act, Pregnancy Act and Family and Medical Leave Act as examples. Approximately 9.1 million businesses are owned by women, and the number of women CEOs is increasing, she said.
Short discussed her position at Pepsi and shared some changes in consumer behavior the company has observed. A variety of factors—growth in the minority population, health concerns, people working harder, people looking for opportunities to indulge regardless of economic background and the growing popularity of TiVo and computer games—affect the company's success, Short said. The need for talent to help firms understand and react to the changing market also provides job security, she added.
Short concluded with her Top 12 list for being successful:
- Set your priorities.
- Get involved.
- Be honest.
- Save your money.
- Know when to quit a job.
- A job is not about the title; focus on learning how things work and who works them.
- Let people know what you want.
- Remember that shareholders and companies are looking for a return on investment.
- Push employers for clarity in a performance review and know what the expected behavior is; remove yourself from the situation when you feel you're becoming emotional from negative feedback.
- Look for a mentor and opportunities to be a mentor.
- Know what's important in life and recognize you can't do everything.
- Don't quit.
Short, who previously worked at Procter & Gamble, has been with Pepsi for 17 years. She has served in a variety of roles, as a general manager and in sales, marketing and operations.
In the afternoon keynote, Teresa Ressel, chief operating officer of UBS Investment Bank North America and former assistant secretary for management and CFO of the Department of the Treasury in 2002-2004, said every experience is a learning opportunity. "I've never learned something I haven't found useful. There are very few things you learn that you won't use to connect the dots later," said Ressel.
Part of being good is knowing what you don't know, added Ressel, who likes to ask lots of questions and get second opinions before making decisions.
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