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Look Who’s Talking – Women of Southwest Michigan Who Mean Business

On a beautiful August morning, we sat down with some of Michigan’s most impressive businesswomen & asked them to offer their best career advice for the readers of Women’s LifeStyle Magazine.

Best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given:

Lynn Chen-Zhang CFP, PFS, CPA, MBA
Zhang Financial Partner, CCO

“You don’t have to act and dress like man to be successful in the business world. Keep your femininity.”

Maria Sorrentino – Always be building your brain trust. I am surrounded by wise, loving & intelligent people. I ask for help a lot!
Jan Barker – Be honest & learn everything you can, while making sure you continue to be curious. Listen more than you speak.
Dr. Turnera Croom – The best career advice I’ve been given during my entrepreneurial stage is, “Find what you love, and create a business around it.” I follow this sage advice as I market my stress-relieving pet CBD products.
Kathy George – Enjoy what your passion is & stay true to who you are. I incorporate a quote by E M Statler, “Life is service, the one who progresses is the one who provides a little more, a little better service” into my life at work and home and it has served me well. I suggest everyone find that mantra that guides you through your passion both at work and at home & it will help to keep you in the right direction even when the road is long or dark or steep or scary.

What piece of advice would you give a young woman starting her career?

Maria Sorrentino
Pest Pros of Michigan, President
Be yourself. The right people will like you for the right reasons.

LCZ – Work very, very hard when you are young, set up a good foundation so you can afford work life balance when you need it later in life.
JB – Your work environment will shape your being, so make sure you work at a place where you can become a better person.
TC – “No matter how high you rise, always lead with humility.” My years as an officer in the Army Veterinary Corps allowed me to utilize and highly value every member of my team, no matter what rank.
KG – Laugh daily, always treat others as you wish to be treated & don’t compare yourself to others as you are on different paths. You must compare yourself to who you were yesterday, last week, last month and past years and be comfortable with who you are when you look at you.  If you aren’t, then you can change that.

What is your best advice for facing career challenges?

Jan Barker
Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, CEO
Be courageous & bold and focus on moving the organization boldly toward its mission with boundless energy. If you build a team of great people, they will work through challenges with you in inspiring ways.

LCZ – Always remember that no matter how big the challenges seem currently, 20 yrs from now, looking back, they would be just little bumps on the way to your success. So keep calm, don’t whine & move on to solve the issues!
MS – Make sure you are taking care of yourself first, everything else stems from that.
TC – My best advice for facing challenges in the Veterinary career field is “No matter what the issue, always keep the welfare of the animal first. Most problems can be solved once the animal is humanely cared for.”
KG – Find a few mentors who have different strengths & talk to them and learn from their experience and tailor your responses & action plans to your situation. Listening to others will help you gather the guidance you need to make your decisions & then trust yourself to make the right decision. Challenges will occur to everyone, how you react to them is what separates you from your peers.

How do you balance your demanding career and your personal life? What do you do for self-care?

Kathy George
FireKeepers Casino Hotel, CEO
My family & friends that are family are very important to me & I spend time with them living and enjoying life. I read, go to movies, time in the water, watch sports, travel, massages, sleep, laugh & smile a great deal while remembering to live a good life.

LCZ – My Chief Executive Pawfficer, Sparky, and I share a office. He is my 17-pound Shih Tzu. He takes care of me.
MS – My husband and my kids are extremely supportive. My partners and team are the best in the business. I have lots of help!  I started boxing at Title Boxing club, that’s been a lot of fun!  I read and spend time with my family and friends.
TC – I balance my demanding career and my personal life by arising before 6 am, and devoting those peaceful morning hours to staying organized, fit, and meditative.
JB – Balance for me means loving your family and working with people you love. Balance happens for me by focusing on the priorities instead of sweating the small stuff, and surrounding myself with caring, capable and committed people who are good at many things.

What are you reading/watching/listening to?

Dr. Turnera Croom DVM
Steadfast International LLC & Veterinarian, CEO
Lately I have been reading a listening to podcasts on the Black Vegan movement. This topic combines my love for learning about Black culture, animal rights, and clean eating.

LCZ – I am not sharing my reading list as they are way too technical and might give people headache just by reading the titles. I am finishing the last episode of Chernobyl: absolutely one of the best that HBO has ever produced.
MS – I love Rachel Hollis, Brene Brown, Cy Wakeman, Simon Sinek, Gary V and Dave Ramsey.  I am obsessed with self-development.  I believe you can learn anything you want to, if you are willing to put in the effort.
JB – Radical Candor by Kim Scott, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, The Influential Mind by Tali Sharot, The Balanced Scorecard by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, English Roses by David Austin, and a book about the history, genetics and cultivation of lilacs.
KG – Where the Crawdads Sing is one book I’m reading. I’m listening to a crime mystery by David Baldacci – One Good Deed

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