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Wednesday, 15 March 2017 16:41

Businesswoman offers leadership advice

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For all the women out there wondering if they can have it all in life — the career, family and flexibility — Katy Travitz is proof that it is possible.

“I think it really depends on how you define all, but I have it all — I have a great work-life balance, I love what I do and I’m impacting the world,” she said. She also has a husband and two children — one is a freshman in college and the other is a junior in high school. 

The great thing about Travitz (pictured above) is that her profession allows her to teach others, including women, how to be leaders in their profession while also balancing all the things life throws at them. 

As a partner with Moonshadow Leadership Solutions based in Whittier, Travitz uses her business administration background to train businesses and coach people on how to be better leaders. Moonshadow doesn’t specifically target women, but Travitz said the qualities that make a good leader are the same for males and females. 

“All good leaders have to first be aware of themselves, and the impact they have on others — they have to be willing to be flexible,” she said. “We do a lot of work with behavior styles and when you’re aware of that style you can learn to be more flexible to be effective with the style of everyone you work with.”

But women are making great strides in the workplace on many levels. More women are in managerial or leadership roles than just 10 years ago. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the percentage of women in leadership roles in North Carolina increased from 31 percent in 2004 to 40 percent in 2015. The pay gap is also closing overall for women — the average woman in North Carolina now makes 83 cents for every dollar a man earns compared to the 78 cents women made in 2004. 

“Over the last couple of decades more women have been able to become CEOs and maybe that was not the case 20 years ago,” Travitz said. “I’ve also seen women rise in leadership positions that are typically nontraditional for women, like manufacturing — the plant manager at ConMet (in Bryson City) is a woman.” 

Women do, however, experience unique challenges in the workplace. Going back to the idea of “having it all,” women can find it difficult to find a balance of work and family obligations. Travitz said good leaders shouldn’t put everything they have into their career at the detriment of other aspects of life because it causes burn out and a lack of motivation in the long run. 

“Finding a work-life balance is not a gender issue — it’s for everybody — but for women it’s different because we also manage the household most of the time,” she said. “We as women don’t turn off at 5 or 7 o’clock at the end of our professional work day — we continue until we go to bed.”

Another challenge she’s come across both professionally and personally is women feeling unequal at work, whether it’s women not feeling equal to their male counterparts or the feeling that they aren’t being given the same opportunity for advancement because of their gender. 

Whether it’s a perceived reality or a genuine reality, women in the workplace feel pressure not to rock the boat — not asking for a raise even when one is warranted or being worried about job security if they take maternity leave. But Travitz’s advice for women who want to move up the corporate ladder is to be themselves. 

“Be true to yourself and don’t try to become someone you’re not,” she said. “We’re all gifted and talented people — finding those gifts and talents and offering it to the organization is the most impactful thing we can do.”

For more information about Moonshadow Leadership Solutions, visit www.moonshadow.net.

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