7 Girl Bosses Share Their Best Career Advice

Updated 06/03/19

It’s a sad truth that there’s a huge disparity between the number of male and female corporate leaders in America (but at least, surprisingly, women trump men on CEO pay). That said, it only intrigues us more to hear how our female leaders wound up in their coveted positions. No matter whether we have our sights set on the C-Suite, we can all learn a thing or two from their managing styles and career wisdom. To acquire a little of their professional intel, we asked seven female leaders and entrepreneurs in a range of industries to share their best advice. Read on below.

Courtesy of StyleSeat

Melody McCloskey

WHO: Melody McCloskey, CEO of online and mobile platform StyleSeat, which helps consumers discover and book services with top beauty and wellness professionals in their area.

MYDOMAINE: What’s your #1 career tip?

MELODY MCCLOSKEY: Find a killer mentor and use them. Find someone who is on a career path you admire and spend time with them on a regular basis. I think it's best to be very clear on time commitment and objectives, and to prepare before each session so you use their time most effectively. My early mentors were Travis Kalanick (founder and CEO of Uber) and Padmasree Warrior (CTO of Cisco Systems), who both helped me in different ways, but who both added tremendous insight into helping me advance along my path.

MD: What did you learn from a former manager that has influenced your management style today?

MM: Being a good listener, which is the hardest thing to do when the biggest company challenges are constantly rattling around in your head. When employees don't think you're present, or that you care, you drive a culture with those values which can cause systemic issues. I always make time to meet with someone if they need me, and to give them 100 per cent of my attention and support.

MD: What makes a great employee stand out?

MM: Someone who is willing to not only do their job well, but who goes above and beyond, whether that's helping others, bring solutions to problems outside of their core role, or just being a general source of energy and upping the game for the rest of the team. I love that and promote those people immediately.

Courtesy of Pose

Rachel Rutherford

WHO: Rachel Rutherford, Co-CEO of fashion platform Pose, an online and mobile platform community where users share photos and videos of their outfits, makeup, and shopping finds.

MYDOMAINE: What’s your #1 career tip?

RACHEL RUTHERFORD: Never stop looking for opportunities to learn and grow. The way you can gain more access to those opportunities is by finding ways you can create value and doing it, no matter your position.

I was able to make my first big leap by showing initiative in areas that would clearly demonstrate my wider abilities to do a much more difficult job. Once the people around me (and above me) could see my interest and performance, it took very little time to move me up in the organisation. Even if your work doesn't result in a promotion, you get the benefit of doing great and challenging work and learning from that experience.

MD: What did you learn from a former manager that has influenced your management style today?

RR: I've had one amazing manager in my life, and I feel lucky to have worked with her. I think the number one thing is to listen and always answer any questions honestly. If you're not real with the people that work for you, they know it, and it breaks a level of trust that's essential for any positive working relationship.

MD: What makes a great employee stand out?

RR: Any time someone spends the time to be prepared, I know that they are taking their own time and my time seriously, and that also means they care about the company. From something small, like always having a notebook and pen to write something down, to something bigger, like researching and having an informed point of view ahead of the meeting, it shows that person has a high standard for themselves, which lets me know they'll have the capacity to grow into bigger and bigger roles.

Courtesy of Chairish

Anna Brockway

WHO: Anna Brockway, Co-Founder and Chief Curator of online vintage resale marketplace Chairish.

MYDOMAINE: What’s your #1 career tip?

AB: I had the opportunity to get to know one of the founders of Whole Foods, and he said something that really stuck with me. In short, he said: Don't do anything where your first goal is to make money. Do something you absolutely love so much that you would be happy to do it for free. You'll find that the financial rewards will follow. If you put money as the target, you won't be satisfied.

MD: What did you learn from a former manager that has influenced your management style today?

AB: Saying thank you. I was fortunate to work for some pretty amazing people from whom I learned the importance of giving full and public credit where credit is due. Firstly, it means a ton to the person who did the heavy lifting to have their efforts acknowledged. A thank you is often far more motivating than a bonus or raise—although those are awesome too! Plus, a great leader understands when it’s better to stay under the umbrella and let her team take in the sunshine.

MD: What makes a great employee stand out?

AB: For me a kick-arse employee is voracious about learning, thrives on change but most importantly just loves rolling up their sleeves and digging in. I look for  “do-ers.” I especially love folks with a background in production because they know how to make the show go on.

Russell Yip for The San Francisco Chronicle

Julia Hartz

WHO: Julia Hartz, Co-Founder and President of global events marketplace Eventbrite.

MYDOMAINE: What’s your #1 career tip?

JULIA HARTZ: Don’t second guess yourself. Surround yourself with people who believe in you, and bring out the best in you. Other career tips:

  1. Don’t let fear get in your way or build a confidence gap. One remedy is to power pose in the morning, before big meetings, or when you feel overwhelmed (see this TED talk to learn how).
  2. Learn how to ask for help. Everyone thinks it’s brave to go out alone. I think it’s even braver to ask for help when you need it.
  3. Surround yourself with people who make you stronger and better. Build a tribe of teammates, advisors, investors, who will inspire you, push you and support you daily.


MD: What did you learn from a former manager that has influenced your management style today?

JH: When I worked in Hollywood as a television executive, I was often the sole woman in the room, and the youngest. I had a wealth of ideas and thoughts, but struggled to find my voice in a conference room full of big personalities. One day, my boss pulled me aside and asked me to speak up more. He knew that I had many valuable ideas to contribute, but needed the airtime. I took that to heart and started making my thoughts heard. It felt great to participate, and I encourage others to speak up often.

Since I started Eventbrite with my husband and Renaud Visage when I was 25, I haven’t had a traditional career trajectory. I didn’t rise through the ranks to become president of a 500-person global organisation. So I take time to observe and learn from other leaders, both internally and externally. Based on my learnings, I’ve identified my own guiding principles for good management, which are to:

  1. Listen and absorb. Truly listening allows you to respond, and not react—there is a real difference.
  2. Create consistency with action (and make it a point to follow up).
  3. Walk the walk. Act on your values rather than just talk about them.
  4. Be brutally transparent, in good times and in bad.   
  5. Trust your gut. When it doubt, your gut is a strong force and will usually guide you in the right direction.


MD: What makes a great employee stand out?

JH: We’ve built a really diverse team that makes the impossible happen on a regular basis; but if I were to pick out a few things that all great “Britelings” have in common, it’s grit, curiosity, and what we call the “make-it-happen spirit.

Grit is an invaluable trait; our team is incredibly driven and passionate about our mission as a company, and singularly driven to get us there. People with natural curiosity, who never stop learning and are always in pursuit of what’s next, always stand out to me as well. Lastly, the make-it-happen spirit, that has become an unofficial company-wide motto, describes those who go that extra mile to solve a challenge or help out other teammates.

Maria del Rio for Refinery29

Julie Carlson

WHO: Julie Carlson, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Remodelista, an online sourcebook for considered living, as well as author of Remodelista, the book.

MYDOMAINE: What’s your #1 career tip?

JC: Perseverance. Try not to be discouraged if your first attempt at wedging your foot in the door fails; I've been amazed at how often jobs and opportunities have come through even an initial interview didn't work out. If you're lucky enough to know what you want to do and where you want to work (or if you're brave enough to start your business), keep pounding on the doors until they open. One of my favourite quotes is from Woody Allen: "Showing up is 80 per cent of life."

MD: What did you learn from a former manager that has influenced your management style today?

JC: Two things, both of which involve generosity of spirit. One: If you hire passionate and dedicated people, don't be stingy with time off. I was a style editor at a city magazine in San Francisco and the managing editor did not believe in the concept of vacation time. Or dentist and doctor visits. Trust your employees to manage their schedules. Two: Never underestimate the importance of staff lunches. I worked at a store on Nantucket for three summers during college, and every couple of weeks, the owner would close the store down and take the whole staff out to lunch at a local restaurant (wine included). We felt so indulged and appreciated.

MD: What makes a great employee stand out?

JC: Loyalty, tenaciousness, an in-check ego, a collaborative spirit, and a sense of humour. Plus a great eye and a way with words. And the ability to make a reservation at Zuni, order lunch from Postmates, and pick up breakfast at Tartine. Lunch is very important at Remodelista and Gardenista.

Courtesy of Carats & Cake

Jess Levin

WHO: Jess Levin, Founder and CEO of online wedding vendor directory Carats & Cake.

MYDOMAINE: What’s your #1 career tip?

JL: You can spend your life building someone else’s dreams or you can build your own.

MD: What did you learn from a former manager that has influenced your management style today?

JL: Supporting your team as individuals is the most important thing. For me, this means listening to where people want to ultimately go and encouraging them to use their experience to help build Carats & Cake as way to build towards their own goals.

MD: What makes a great employee stand out?

JL: We are in the service of small businesses and are a true startup ourselves, so we look for people who are resourceful and self-directed—essentially, someone who gets what it means to do big things without a lot of hands and helps move the needle everyday.

Justin Coit

Katherine Power

WHO: Our fearless leader Katherine Power, Co-Founder and CEO of Clique, the content and technology company behind Who What Wear, MyDomaine, and Byrdie.

MYDOMAINE: What’s your #1 career tip?

KP: Find something you love to do, and then figure out a way to make money doing it.

MD: What did you learn from a former manager that has influenced your management style today?

KP: The one piece of advice that has really stuck with me is: ONLY do what ONLY you can do. Spend your time wisely and learn to delegate, so that you have time and creative brain power to work on the important things that only you can do best, instead of general tasks that can be accomplished by others. This requires you to choose your support staff wisely. This applies even to assistants who can delegate busy work to interns while they work on more important items.

MD: What makes a great employee stand out?

KP: When someone takes the initiative to go outside of their job description in order to improve a function of the business. I want to see someone step-up and own a particular project or go above and beyond what has been asked of them. Once I see that, my interest is sparked and I am inspired to help guide them towards success.

Interested in studying up on management? Shop a few of our top picks from Time's list of most influential business management books below.


How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie $9
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman $13
The Human Side of Enterprise by Douglas McGregor $23

The Human Side of Enterprise by Douglas McGregor ($23)

John P. Kotter Leading Change $19

Leading Change by John P. Kotter ($19)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People $9

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey ($9)

On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis $11

On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis ($11)

What have you learned from a manager that has influenced your professional outlook? Please share with us below; we’d love to hear!

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