This is the fifth post in the Be Your Own Best Blog’s Inspirational Women series. This series highlights exceptional women across a diverse spectrum of occupations and industries, and allows them to share some of their insights with an equally diverse audience.
Meet Cynthia LaConte
CEO and President,
The F. Dohmen Co.
How would you define a “successful” career and what needs to happen for more women to achieve that level of success?
I think success is about finding fulfillment in what you do every day, knowing that it’s a match to your gifts and capabilities, stretching to learn new ways to be useful to others and always being a little uncomfortable. For me, a successful life is more important than a successful career, and I measure that by how many lives I can positively impact.
What is your proudest career accomplishment and why?
I’m proud of the work I’ve done to redefine and transform Dohmen, a fifth generation, privately-held company in its 158th year of operation. We’ve successfully transitioned Dohmen from a regional wholesale supplier to a BPO that supplies compliance, financial, supply chain, technology and patient services to more than 200 biopharma companies. We were able to dramatically change what we do, without changing who we are. Our strong culture gave us the foundation to change and grow.
Please describe a challenging problem that you had to overcome in your career and the steps you took to do so.
I think women in general have an added obstacle of overcoming a confidence deficit. Some weird combination of social programming has left women feeling self-critical, and it’s really insidious. It took me until my mid-40’s to even be aware of this perception in my own life, then it took me even longer to correct it. It’s one thing to be self-reflective and strive for objective improvement, but if you’re spending even a minute listening to some voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough or that you can’t do something, you need to stop that behavior. Meditate, find a mentor, make a list of your achievements – whatever you have to do, but shut that thinking down. That’s time you should be using to dream and visualize all of the things you’re going to accomplish.
If you could be mentored by anyone, who would it be and why?
I was mentored by a Canadian banker that I met randomly from a plane ride. Ed was smart, savvy, a little bit gruff and completely objective about my business. He passed away many years ago now, but I think of him so often. I still try to see things through his eyes, and I wish I could share our progress with him.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Get over your fear of public speaking. The only way to advance positive change is by communicating your vision. The more people you can reach the better.
What words do you live by?
Ghandi’s “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
If you would like to suggest an inspirational woman for consideration, please e-mail Lisa Mueller at firstname.lastname@example.org.