I was fortunate to work with Chedly, the woman who became my mentor, as a junior analyst starting out in a new firm. She was patient and knowledgeable; she taught me the technical skills I needed to succeed. Chedly also gave candid advice on how to navigate our workplace culture as a woman, and her example still informs how I present myself at work and what I choose to share (or not) about my personal life. That said, we laughed together over dating stories (mine were recent, hers older) and Chedly doled out pearls of wisdom on life and love and being young in New York City.
The most important thing I learned from Chedly was that, in my relationships and in my career, I would have to ask for what I wanted and needed. Five years before Sheryl Sandberg was encouraging us to lean in, Chedly’s ardent message to me was: “Jean, you have to ask. Women don’t ask. And you absolutely have to ask.”
There was a yearning in her message, imploring me to understand how much this would matter. Chedly was right and I took it to heart. Her example and her advice gave me the courage to ask – very directly – for the compensation I deserved, for the promotion I felt I had already earned, for exactly what I wanted in my relationships.
It is advice that has served me well, and now I pass it on to you.
Go on: be bold & ask.
While she’s almost an official New Yorker, now that she has spent the past eight years working for a large investment bank in New York City, Jean Blosser still cherishes her Midwestern roots, growing up in Columbus, Ohio. She is an alumnus of Boston College and enjoys her whiskey neat.