Holder Aubreana Stephenson | Maryland Daily Record

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Aubreana Stephenson Holder

CEO
Federal Management Systems Inc.

Women continue to face disparities economically, on corporate boards and in leadership positions. Why is this still the case and what needs to happen to really change the conversation and start moving faster in this critical area?

Traditionally, women have always been portrayed as those who only play a supporting role. This outdated theory has simply been passed down from generation to generation. We are often seen as too emotional to lead because of our gender and our perceived roles at home. We need to change the narrative. Instead, we should be seen as equals outside and inside the boardroom. One of the most effective ways to change the narrative would be to ensure that women are paid equal pay to our male counterparts for similar roles.

Share your story of how you got to the C-suite and how you’re helping other women achieve that goal.

I’ve always wanted a seat at the table. I started working as an intern but I saw myself very early as a leader. It’s not easy being a woman in a male dominated industry, every step for me was questioned. I worked my way into the C-suite by leveraging my education, experience, ability to easily understand contract law and close million dollar deals. I help other women achieve this goal through mentorship and by participating in programs that promote educational support and equality for women. As a regional leader in my sorority, I hope to set an example that others can follow. Connecting like-minded women, building business partnerships and empowering other women are goals that I take personally.

As women leaders, our role is to help shape the next generation of leaders. What tips can you share to impact not only the younger generation, but also women trying to advance in their careers and create positive change?

Never give up on yourself. Always believe in yourself, visualize achieving your goals and go for it. Build a strong support team. It’s a team that encourages you but also tells you when you’re wrong. I like to call them my board of directors (CA). My Board of Directors is made up of amazing, like-minded women and men. Also, remember to keep learning. It’s OK to start something new.


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