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Women Who Lead: Shelonda Stokes

Shelonda Stokes
CEO, greiBO Entertainment

Shelonda Stokes

Shelonda Stokes

What are some key strategies to help others achieve a more prominent role in their organization or career?
I encourage my employees to be career self-reliant, to “take charge” of their own careers and not rely on the organization to provide guidance. Of course, we’ll provide tools to assist with their growth but key strategies to achieving a more prominent role in the organization begin with stepping up and being seen. Decide what your desired role is. Be specific and be focused. Be a student from that business — meaning, learn it from all angles. Then, showcase your ability to dominate in that area. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, create it. There’s never going to be the “right moment” to speak, share an idea, or take a chance. Just do it and the leadership will recognize you.

What key resources have you sought out to help you lead your company/organization?
Successful leadership is a result of accessing and leveraging resources effectively. Great leaders are keenly aware of how to detect, enable and maximize their most critical resources – and they know exactly how and when to use them. Beyond raw talent, I believe these are the top three resources that helped with my personal and company growth. 1) Seek Advisers. Solicit a group of people who know you and your business. I surrounded myself with people who told me what I needed as opposed to what I wanted to hear. 2) Learn from Failure. Failure is the most powerful source for know-how and understanding. I’ve learned more and gained deeper insights from what not to do. 3) Value Diversity. More than just a buzzword, diversity creates the best ideas and products. It’s nearly impossible for someone to know how a product or service will impact a group of people to which they have no connection. Imagine how effective the team is that gains insights from as many perspectives as possible. I’ve created a winning formula by seeking diversity across many lines.

What valuable career lesson or lessons would you like to share with others?
Fail Daily. Growth is about stretching, learning and evolving. We often surround ourselves with people and opportunities that make us comfortable. Comfort is safe but does not allow us to push the boundaries and go further. Instead of asking yourself, “What did I do well today?” Consider, “What did I fail at today that I will master tomorrow?”

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Don’t Settle for the Pink Tax. There are too many places that label women as second-class citizens. We typically make less money for doing the same job as our male counterparts, our ideas often get more attention coming from a man and many times we say yes when we want to say no. Women are just as valuable as men. Don’t settle for the Pink Tax by putting yourself on sale. When we accept these behaviors, we are telling ourselves, others, that we don’t deserve more. We’re saying, “It’s OK, I don’t want to make waves, and I’m ok on the sale rack”. I’m not suggesting that we stage a protest in every business meeting. Rather, that we know our worth, ask for more, and be bold in meetings so our ideas are heard. Go for the big wins because we can!

This article is featured in The Daily Record’s Path To Excellence: A Woman’s Guide To Business. The mission of the Path to Excellence magazine is to give our readers the opportunity to meet successful women of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs and learn how they define success. Read more from Path to Excellence.

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