How 4 Pageant Queens Succeed in the Boardroom

There is no doubt about it: you have to have tough skin to succeed in the male-dominated world of business.

According to a Catalyst report of “Women CEOs of the S&P 500”, women currently hold 23 (4.6%) of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies as of October 2015. Indra K. Nooyi of PepsiCo, Inc., Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, and Denise M. Morrison of Campbell Soup Co. are among the powerful list of women who are making their impact in the boardroom known.

But there is another population of women who are climbing the career ladder and breaking barriers for other women: Pageant Queens. They’re smart, they’re gritty, and they’re aiming to make an impact in a major way–albeit non-traditional. These women have participated in a subjective competition where they are compared to the most beautiful, bold, and brilliant women in the world to test their confidence. You think they’ll actually have any trouble in a boardroom?

I interviewed four pageant queens about their climb to the top and their impact in the boardroom.

Di-Anne Elise Mrs. Corporate America 2012

di-anne-elise-pageant-corporate-americaHow do you earn respect in male-dominated industries or in a room that is traditionally not occupied by women?

I have been on several Board of Director positions throughout the years, and will never forget the time that I served on a board dominated by men. The first time I attended the meeting, I sat down with eight men in a board room. I noticed that every time I was trying to give my input, I was interrupted by one person or another. As soon as I noted that it was becoming a pattern, I knew that it was time to step it up and demand the respect that I deserved. What I had to do was not let anyone interrupt me; I had to prove that I was just as, or more, knowledgeable as everyone else, and I had to be strong and assertive. It was a challenge, but once I earned their respect and proved myself, I became part of the “boys club”.

Bio: Di-Anne Elise, founder of Media Resources Enterprise, is a marketing and public relations specialist, author of Expose Yourself: Business Guide to Public Communication. Her passion is to empower businesses and individuals to achieve results through public communication.

Myah Irick Moore Miss Oregon USA 2003 

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What has helped you to climb the career ladder?

I have worked in two different industries: in academia and, now, finance. Both industries are incredibly different but have been very fulfilling. Throughout my career, I have utilized many different avenues and tactics to advance. I believe that access to higher education and also having access to the appropriate sponsorship has helped me move forward. I have two master’s degrees: an MA and an MBA. While the credentials helped in securing my various positions, what I learned in the classroom–from how to problem-solve and think strategically, to how to work in diverse groups, and the consistent exposure to people smarter than me–is what really provided me with an edge in the career world.

What is the benefit of having sponsors on your career path?  

When it comes to sponsors, identifying and being open to having a sponsor that was more than a mentor forced me to think opportunistically. I have been fortunate enough to have found several sponsors throughout my career that have been able to deliver me with frank feedback and coaching, even when I did not know I needed it. They encouraged me to take jobs that may have been lateral moves, but, over time, gave me opportunities for personal and professional growth. Finally, it goes without saying that to get promoted and to advance, you need to do your job and do it well. It is essential that you hit your numbers, help grow your team, and lift as you climb.

Bio: Myah Moore Irick is a talented senior leader with an exemplary record of building client portfolios and managing relationships with wealthy and well-known constituents. She leads a team to develop innovative strategies to guide families through the challenges associated with growing and sustaining their wealth over multiple generations.

Abby (King) Norman Miss Wyoming USA 2005

abby-king-miss-wyoming-usa-2005What skills, traits, and personal development activities have helped you to advance in your professional endeavors?

I have a finance degree, an MBA, a PHR, and recently completed an intensive 200-hour yoga teacher training in power vinyasa flow. In addition to my corporate job, I teach weekly yoga classes in a corporate setting. I love what I do and who I get to do it with. Competing in both sports and pageants as a young adult had helped me develop values like teamwork, strength, community-focus, and a growing mindset that I still use today. I learned how to have drive, command a room, and handle setbacks quickly. That can be translated into a corporate setting and to life in general. Resiliency, grace under pressure, networking, public speaking, and managing projects–these are just a few of the things that competing in pageants has taught me about being a better person. I believe in continuous growth and I can’t wait to see what’s next for me in my career and in life.

Bio: Abby Norman (formerly King) is an Employee Experience and Internal Communications Manager for Media Temple (a GoDaddy subsidiary). She integrates her passion for yoga, meditation and mindfulness into GDFIT (an employee-led fitness group) and is aspiring to teach yoga in the west LA area.

F. Dennelle Hickson Mrs. Corporate America 2015

felicia-d-hicksonHow do you earn respect in male-dominated industries or in a room that is traditionally not occupied by women?

Unfortunately, women are automatically placed in a negative position simply because of their gender. Us women have to work a little harder to earn the respect of our male counterparts. I truly believe you must know more than the average person in order to be respected in male-dominated industries. You must have the ability to speak intelligently about your subject matter, otherwise no one will take you seriously–not even the women in the room. Find opportunities to gain experience along with what you have researched. It may not seem fair that women (in most cases) have to take the extra step, but if you look at this as a positive, then you will be much better off personally having gone the extra mile.

Bio: Dennelle is a life coach, motivational speaker, published author, and Real Estate Broker in Jacksonville, Florida. Dennelle has obtained several certifications in business from Florida State College at Jacksonville, University of Phoenix Jacksonville campus, and Edward Waters College. 

Are you seeking to join a pageant that supports the advancement of women in Corporate America and as entrepreneurs? Sign up for the next Ms./Mrs. Corporate America pageant. If you are preparing for a pageant or positioning yourself for your next opportunity, download The Ultimate Interview Success Kit.


charlene-rhinehart-_photoshoot-_billy-montgomeryAuthor Bio: Charlene became the first Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to win the title of Ms. Corporate America 2015 in a pageant held in Orlando, Fl on March 7, 2015. She used her corporate and pageant experiences to help women create career success and a lifestyle they love through the Career Goddess Academy. 

Charlene Rhinehart is a Freelance Writer, Keynote Speaker, and Entrepreneur. She’s been featured in more than 20 media outlets, including The Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, Essence, and Chicago Tribune. She helps people get featured in major publications all over the web and provides corporate and blog writing services. Visit Charlene’s personal website at www.charlenerhinehart.com or contact her at charlene@charlenerhinehart.com if you would like to work with her. 

 

Charlene Rhinehart

I’m Charlene - International Speaker, Published Writer, & Career Strategist. I help women skip the most common career mistakes, move from fear to confidence, and enhance their professional profile so that they can create a life that is better than their dreams.

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