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Jessica Rivelli: Confidence isn’t holding you back, recognition is

Jessica Rivelli



Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

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Is the confidence gap a myth? There are countless articles about how the lack of confidence is an obstacle for many women entrepreneurs and executives on the path to success. Many of these articles cite research like Hewlett Packard’s internal report, which found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. Women have been painted as perfectionists who let self-criticism and self-doubt hold them back.

But maybe the biggest challenge women in business face isn’t confidence, but rather recognition for their hard work and accomplishments.

Michelle Turman, author of Jumping The Queue: Achieving Great Things Before You’re Ready, knows the problem first-hand:

“Earlier in my career, I believed that if you put in the work, made sure it was good, the recognition would come. So when I started Catalyst Consulting Service in 2014, the best thing I could do is to get comfortable about sharing my contributions, speak up, and shine a light on others. If you do not begin by recognizing your value, no one else will.”

Feeling comfortable with your own achievements is the best way to be your own advocate. Oftentimes, women may be too reluctant to claim credit after successfully completing a project or earning a promotion. They’re afraid of “tooting their own horn.” This mentality has to stop if we want more women to be featured in the media, sit on nonprofit and corporate boards, and take the stage at conferences.

Leslie Ann Ciccone, Owner of (swah-rey) is a speaker at the upcoming Working Women Conference (in September). She was recently hand-picked as one of just 50 female entrepreneurs nationwide to be a part of a fellowship with the Tory Burch Foundation.

“Although it is hard for me personally, on a daily basis, I push myself towards or into the spotlight,” she said. “It is important to me to use opportunities to shine a light on to the talented women working with me or the organizations who are helping me succeed, like the Tory Burch Foundation.”

One of Working Women of Tampa Bay’s primary missions is to spotlight women entrepreneurs and executives, and their impact on the Bay Area. In fact, we’ve created our 2019 conference theme (Your Season to Shine) around the issue. More than 40 women will take the stage at the Bryan Glazer JCC over two days to share their stories and reflect on their own personal journeys.

Working Women Conference Speaker Gina Folk is the Founder and Principal Consultant of The Folk Group. She provides outsourced COO services to help small businesses move from survival to steady growth. Her advice, “Don’t hide behind your greatness. Your power to succeed lies in owning your strengths and proudly applying them consistently, instead of cowering to the pressure to conform to other people’s expectations.”

Coming soon, we’ve teamed up with St. Pete Catalyst to host a podcast designed to highlight successful women in business and offer insight on their careers and businesses.  Our hope is through events, conferences, social media and now podcasts we can encourage female leaders in Tampa Bay to own the spotlight and stand up for the recognition they deserve.



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