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Omaha Magazine

Women in Business: Never Shrink Back

Nov 28, 2022 08:10AM ● By Veta T. Jeffery

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Throughout my business career, I’ve worked in a variety of positions in both the public and private sphere, including a focus on financial services, banking, and workforce development efforts. I served as an elected official and was a successful business owner. But despite these many different experiences, there has always been one constant: wherever I have been, there was a male-majority environment. Sometimes, as a woman in a male-dominated space, one may feel like they have to assimilate. But I am here to say, we must confidently be who we are.

When I talk with young women in my role as the Greater Omaha Chamber CEO, I often think back to when I first started my business career. I sought advice on how to approach being a successful woman in each role. Now, when I’m asked for advice, I’m able to draw from my own journey and the lessons I learned:

-Perspective matters
-Find commonality 
-Never shrink back

We strive for balance. In addition to this role, I have another two others equally as important–my job as a mother and as a wife. I know what it’s like to have the tug from a mother’s perspective, pulling at you to come back home and drive your kids to practice or help with homework, yet there’s an important work meeting to attend. I also know what it’s like to have the tug from an executive’s perspective, pulling at you when a blue-chip client is in the building but your family is at home. To balance this, I’ve learned to give my everything wherever I am. 

As women, we have to bring perspective for those we serve and for those who should join us at the table to balance out the conversation. I now recognize that being a female executive offers me several benefits. I know firsthand the necessity for women’s voices at the table and I am now able to see to it that we have these important voices at important meetings. 

When we are the minority in the workplace, we must be strong advocates. We have to stop apologizing! It’s true, new doors have opened for us, making many new things possible. But I don’t know a single woman in the business world who is satisfied with “good enough.”  So, together, let’s keep the doors open behind us and bust open the ones that remain in front of us.

Veta Jeffery is president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber.

This article originally appeared in the December 2022/January 2023 issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  
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