Authenticity: How Women (and Men) Can Win in 2.0 Business World

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I had the pleasure of speaking at the informative Bubble2Boardroom Conference in NYC last week - produced by top career development coach Dani Ticktin Koplik and held in the rather stodgy NY Athletic Club.  The Club, which used to be "men only", has not only opened its doors to allow women, but seems to  have 'slightly' loosened the reins on its strict rules.  When a historic club like NYAC shows flexibility, it's a sign that the business world is changing.  I say this from experience.   My college  intern  Eric was stopped at the door of the club, because he was wearing athletic shoes, not dress shoes,  along with his button down white shirt, pants and tie.  When Eric informed the doorman that he was attending a forum for college students to learn the ropes to get a job, and begged for entry,  he relented and allowed him entry.  I took this as a sign of the changing times and told Eric that this was a learning moment about calling head, reading the rules at Clubs, etc. and not accepting 'no'.

That brings me to my focus on 'authenticity'.  One of the speakers focused on etiquette - a very important topic for job seekers.  I touched on it as well in my talk on Building your Entourage for Professional Success  - the importance of thank you's, listening actively, offering support to the other person, etc.  It's  essential to get connected in this world.  The speaker's advice  on  how to dress for the interview applied to the true establishment corporate world - not necessarily to the new 2.0 business world - which dominates business and jobs today.  

The Apple and Google  worlds of entrepreneurs, start-ups,  and Internet companies are taking over. The traditional dark suit, white shirt and tie companies are dying or are changing in order to welcome the new generation and keep top young leaders.  Is it a no-no to have a tattoo today?  Not necessarily, especially if the boss has one. Should you dress very conservatively?  Not necessarily, if the boss doesn't.  In fact, you may look too uptight.  What is key is that you match the company and person who is judging you.  And most important, you need to show some of the authentic you. Because, if some of the authentic you isn't present at the interview, you may be really sorry, after you're hired. There is a fine line between being 100% authentic and getting the job - and job seekers need to tread this line carefully.  It requires research of company policies, and perhaps connecting with others who work there (LinkedIn makes this easy).  To play it safe, dress flexibly.  Bring a jacket, but take it off at the interview, if you see it doesn't fit in - and this goes for gals as well as guys.

For entrepreneurs and start-ups, Gwen Edwards of Golden Seeds, has some great advice, especially when pitching for dollars.  Take a quick read.  At the Women's Leadership Exchange conferences - authenticity - is about presenting the authentic you - which is constantly becoming smarter and more insightful.  It comes from continually learning from other business owners and experts and women supporting each other, which means attending top notch events.  The NYC conference  themed "Go for Growth'  is July 21 and then will be in Chicago, Minneapolis and Phoenix in the coming months of  2011.......Leslie Grossman, Women's Leadership Exchange,  Cofounder

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