Making Room at the Table for Boots and Heels

Women leaders offer insight into how they advanced their careers, including overcoming self-imposed hurdles.

Observers say the apartment housing industry has made progress toward becoming a more equitable environment for women. But there is still much work to be done, and among the challenges facing women are self-imposed hurdles that can stymie their advancement.

Those were some of the points made by panelists during the session, “There's Room at the Table for Boots and Heels” at NAA’s APTvirtual.

"The top five challenges women face in their careers are lack of confidence, aversion to risk and failure, imposter syndrome, discomfort with self-promotion and career aspiration gaps," said Amy Montoya, Managing Partner at Bella Investment Group.

Montoya detailed her battles with imposter syndrome and outlined some steps for overcoming it.

"This psychological syndrome plagues women way more than men, and many of these women are high achieving," she said. "It robs us from understanding that our hard work, knowledge, skills, experience and intelligence have all been factors that have paved the way for our success."

Women can shed their imposter syndrome when they give voice to their feelings and when they make lists of their accomplishments, Montoya added.

"Individual woman often don't realize that they're not alone in this experience—many others are often challenged by the same issue. It can be isolating to feel this way, especially if you don't share with someone how you're feeling," she said. "Consider that if this is what may be holding you back, you might take a moment and list all you've accomplished to get where you are today. Read the list over and over and then throw it in the face of your imposter."

Arianna Royster, Executive Vice President at Borger Management, said women can build their confidence in the workplace in several ways.

"For me, the biggest part of being confident is being prepared, overcoming fear, having a plan and not comparing yourself to others," she said.

Preparation, whether for a presentation or request for a salary increase, can help mitigate feelings of insecurity, panelists said.

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