Leave Your Fingerprints – Advice from Nancy Loewe, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Kimberly-Clark Corp.

Newberry Executive Solutions is sponsoring the Texas Women in Business segment, airing on WBAP/KLIF radio in Dallas, Texas.  I asked my colleague Nancy Loewe, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for Kimberly-Clark Corp., to participate in the radio segment and she readily agreed.

Nancy leads the development and monitoring of the company's strategic plans and processes to enhance the company’s growth initiatives. In 2011, she joined Kimberly-Clark as treasurer from Frito-Lay North America where she served as chief financial officer. Nancy has more than 20 years of experience in global financial roles of increasing responsibility, including holding CFO positions at GE for consumer and industrial, plastics and healthcare before becoming corporate vice president of strategic transactions and cash.

Throughout her career, Nancy has lived in several countries and has focused on developing global talent across Europe, Asia and North America. Her strong finance, general management and strategy experience brings unique perspective to our businesses in developing new strategic priorities as we expand around the world. Clearly, Nancy has a very successful career and should be applauded for her what she has accomplished.

But just like everyone else, Nancy has had to work her way to the top. She shared some insights about her challenges as well as the future of women in business.

Q. Please tell us what you feel has contributed to your successful career?

A.   For me, the keys to success have been hard work, results and sponsorship – in that order.  I took on tough roles no one else wanted and then focused on demonstrating results within them. In some cases that meant going deep in a certain area or subject.  That ultimately led to sponsors, who I didn't even know were sponsors at the time, taking a chance on me.

Q. How did you overcome a particular challenge in your career?

A. As I changed companies, I didn't initially understand that the rules of the game had changed too.   In other words, I needed to figure out how decisions were made and who needed to be involved.  I had to observe how others got things done, and I learned the critical importance of alignment and relationships.

Q. In your opinion, how does the future look for women leaders in business?

A. The future looks fine.  There has been a generational shift in the workplace. Many men leaders may have had a mom or an aunt who worked, or sisters and wives who have careers, or even daughters already in the workplace. This raises the awareness and acceptance of women in business. It's not a coincidence that companies with more female senior leaders have better employee engagement, and companies with Boards with female directors have better financial results. Women bring valuable skills to the workplace.

Q. What advice would you give to women who are looking to make their mark in business?

A. Women I know who have made their mark always leave things better than how they found them. They're not afraid to push the envelope. So I say leave your fingerprints wherever you go. Be known for your unique skill set or the way you get things done.

Nancy offers some excellent words of wisdom. To build on her comments, check out the chapter in my book, Show Up. Step Up. Step Out., entitled Creating the Outcome You Want. It provides strategies that can help high performers with a drive for results to take it one step further.