Women in leadership roles are an essential part of any organization, and great leaders deserve to be honored. With this in mind, United Concordia Dental is pleased to celebrate Vice President of Strategic Business Development, Donna Hunter.
Since starting her career 30 years ago, Hunter has held numerous roles with increasing responsibility. Prior to joining United Concordia in 1997, she worked in finance at both Sprint and Pennsylvania Blue Shield. Once employed by UCD, she held many leadership positions in both finance and sales. Now, she serves in a senior leadership role, which oversees a variety of areas within the company.
Highlighting Women in Leadership
The following is an interview that was conducted with Donna Hunter on the topic of women in leadership:
What are some strategies that can help women achieve more prominent roles in their organizations?
— First, as women, we must become more comfortable promoting ourselves and the value we bring to an organization. Women also need to advocate and sponsor other women in internal and external settings. Studies have shown that when women are part of the decision-making process, a broader perspective is provided.
Second, network throughout the organization and build strong, meaningful relationships. Women need to have purposeful conversations when they are in social and hallway meetings—a simple pleasantry is OK, and then women should be prepared to discuss a relevant issue or topic.
Finally, be a positive role model for aspiring females in the company and emulate the behaviors needed to be a successful leader.
What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?
— I have learned that good communication is key in leading a team of individuals toward a common goal. You must set clear expectations, influence through relationships, foster collaboration and treat people with respect and honesty.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
— We must build a workplace culture that empowers female leaders to be authentic and true to their values, rather than meeting expectations set by society.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you? What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
— The biggest challenge will be to continue transforming gender roles and build a societal culture that empowers women to make the family and career path choice best suited for them. We must embrace women for their decision and support them in leading a happy and fulfilled life.
My advice to women aiming for leadership roles is to look for opportunities to gain experience in other areas of the business. Always surround yourself with people who will build you up, and always feel confident to move forward in your career.
In what ways have you found that United Concordia supports and/or encourages women in leadership positions in the organization?
— United Concordia has embraced women in leadership positions and supports their growth through numerous development opportunities. As a company, we actively advance women and encourage them to participate in:
1. Our Women’s Networking Group
- This group meets quarterly and helps women build relationships inside and outside the company, learn from one another and grow their skill sets.
2. Development Programs
- We offer an Emerging Leaders Program for female and male employees who are new to management roles. The 12-month course helps new leaders develop their strengths and enhance the skills needed to lead a team.
- We also offer an Individual Contributor program for female and male employees who exceed expectations and are on a path to become management. The 12-month program enhances their leadership skills and readies them for upward growth.
Have you recently honored the women in leadership roles within your organization? Their hard work and efforts deserve acknowledgment. If you are one of the many women leading your companies, pause to encourage and support the other women in your organization who are just beginning their careers.