LIVINGSTON, NJ — Local businesswomen learned about one woman’s long but gratifying journey to the top when Livingston’s Sobel & Co., LLC, hosted its monthly Executive Women’s Breakfast Program on May 12.
Hallie Satz, the CEO and Managing Partner of HighRoad Press, joined more than 150 women to share her real-world experiences on how to navigate toward success in a male-dominated industry, how to sustain a business when the platform keeps changing, how to survive the costs of innovation and how to be a strong leader.
“How we lead matters,” said Satz, quoting a book by Marilyn Carlson Nelson that inspired the way Satz runs her business. “I think of this every day. Every decision I make in the company is about how I’m leading.
Satz, who said her tenacity and sense of fairness make her a successful business leader, not only rose from her position as an “office helper” to the CEO of a business that initially had specific bylaws against female ownership, but also helped a female receptionist work her way up from a secretarial position to Director of Operations.
Coming from a family-owned business that was run by five generations of men before Satz broke the mold, Satz began her career being consistently voted down by men on her journey to the top. According to Satz, who now realizes that men are not chauvinists but simply choose to do work with those they relate with the most, the two most important things to remember as a woman in a leadership role are to constantly think about “how we lead” and to help other women navigated to success.
“As we know, we do business with people we like and people we have things in common with,” said Satz. “It’s not so much that men don’t want to promote women, it’s because people promote people they have things in common with. It’s important that we all work to help our peers so we can equalize the workplace.”
Satz concluded by encouraging the women to learn from their mistakes and to remember that they are all remarkable. According to Satz, she was intimidated when she first opened her own business and was willing to be that every woman in the room had felt the same at a point in her life. It was for that reason that she encouraged them to create strategic alliances with those around them, in both life and in business, and to help others in return—especially other women.
“I was the wallflower standing in the corner not talking to anybody, I was so intimidated,” said Satz. “I couldn’t believe how many talented, exceptional, smart women were out there doing incredible things—and my whole life really changed. I became very humbled and realized that there’s a real powerful force out there and I’m really lucky to be a part of it.”
Satz also acknowledged Sobel & Co.’s Sally Glick, the organizer of the monthly program, as the ultimate networker in New Jersey and someone who is constantly bringing women together. According to Satz, Glick’s message of women doing business with other women resonates with everything Satz believes in.
“Every one of you is exceptional and almost none of you believe that,” said Glick. “Whatever business you’re in, it’s the people who are around you that you need to have on your side.”
Glick reiterated the power of women doing business together by inviting those in attendance to her Young Professional Women's Roundtable breakfast event on May 24, where speaker Sharlene Vichness will inspire young businesswomen to transform the way they lead.
“This is my favorite program that our firm offers,” said Glick. “It’s really a gift from Sobel & Co. that we get to do this once a month.”