How 9 St. Louis Women in Business Overcome Challenges

The conversation about women navigating their careers often deals with questions of how women can “do it all.” Very rarely do we consider that women who are leaning into their careers have defined tactics for overcoming the small and large challenges they face.

To clarify how to navigate balancing work, life, and everything in between, we spoke to ten St. Louis women in business that work in multiple industries – nonprofit, finance, education, grocery, and energy – and asked them for advice on overcoming challenges.

These women are leaders in our St. Louis community and understand the importance of preparing for obstacles. Their insightful words on overcoming challenges address everything from developing professional supportive systems to focusing on their families to push through difficult times.

Here’s what they have to say:

“One advantage of being a ‘woman of a certain age’ and having been in the workforce for so long is the knowledge that things will get better. I also find strength and comfort in the support I receive from other women, my peers – preferably over a nice dinner and a glass of wine!”
Villie Appoo, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois

“I have found that difficult situations create opportunities to strengthen relationships and trust, opening the door for transparent conversations. As I’m experiencing the trials, I try to focus and expect positive outcomes.”
Cheri Combs, Deloitte

“I stop and consider all my options from quitting to doing the most difficult task. I try on each alternative to see how it would make me feel and what the outcome would be. Usually, this process makes the decision to persevere seem less burdensome than the other options. When I acknowledge that I do what I do by choice, it is always easier.”
Nancy Droesch

“I stay motivated when I have a clear vision of the end result, then the ability to move it forward with minimal resistance. Short-term successes along the way always help keep the momentum going.”
Kim Brandon, Save-A-Lot

“I draw motivation by looking around at my colleagues who are working as hard or harder than I am to achieve our common goal. I also try to focus on the small wins along the way to ensure that I am keeping the challenge in perspective and not allowing challenges and “setbacks” to overwhelm the team or me.”
Ellen Theroff, The Laclede Group, Inc.

“I am a prayerful person and rely on my strength and courage from that source. I also take Zumba four times per week and do strength training. These two habits keep me focused on what really matters and having the mental and physical energy to get things done.”
Cenia Bosman, YMCA

“During challenging times, I reflect on all of my blessings and start with gratitude. I know I will never be given more than I am able to handle, though sometimes with the big stuff I have wondered if I may be outside of my comfort zone. When things get really challenging, I break down the day into small chunks and agree that I can handle the next minute, hour, day or week. I am also blessed with a wonderful husband and support system.”
Anna Doyle, Sense Corp

“I welcome challenging times because I believe that how you handle challenge is a true measure of personal growth.  One of my strengths is problem solving, so when a challenge presents itself I am excited to think through it, see past the clutter, in vision the best outcome, put a strategic plan together and then spring into action!  I am a true believer that if you leave a situation unchanged then you have wasted your time.”
Jackie Snyder, Regions Bank

“When you’re working in the not-for-profit world, staying motivated is pretty easy. I see the faces of the people we serve every day. When I was in the corporate world, I had a great boss who told me that if we didn’t go a good job, people who worked on our production line in New Jersey would be negatively impacted. I’ve never forgotten that.  It’s even more motivating now that I’m in the not-for-profit world. If the leaders of our organization don’t do a good job, people in the community will have to go without important programs and services.”
Lynn Wittels, Jewish Community Center

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