Today, LiveGirls listened to Kate Vanek, SVP of Finance and CFO of US Media at Nielsen, who talked about how being kind, staying tough, and giving back to others allowed her to find success and become a leader of a $2.5 billion organization.

Ms. Vanek admits that math never came easily to her, and she didn’t know she wanted to study finance until after graduating from the University of Richmond with degrees in Spanish and International Studies. After lots of networking and eventually landing a job in financial consulting, she decided that she liked it and wanted to continue to work and move up in that industry. In order to make this happen, she went back to school to earn her MBA from the Columbia University Business School.

While many of the job opportunities Ms. Vanek found out of grad school didn’t come to her with “a big red bow” on them, she realized that she had to show grit by sticking with it, asking for help, learning from her co-workers, giving credit to others, and “rocking her smart”. This demonstrated that she was hard-working and dedicated to her profession, allowing her to move up from lower-level jobs and positions until she ultimately earned the job she really wanted: working at Nielsen Company in New York City.

Ms. Vanek can definitely attest to the fact that strong work ethic can propel you into success and leadership, even when you may not have the experience. But, she also adds that staying humble, as well as being willing to give credit to others, made her co-workers trust her and want to work with her. She advised the LiveGirls to start working on these qualities now so they become second-nature in the future. “Be hard-working and selfless when you're at camp, when you go back to school, when you're asked to lead a sports team, and when you go to college,” she said. “Think about being kind and giving to others, and it will always stick with you.”

After Ms. Vanek’s inspiring talk, the LiveGirls watched Rachel Platten’s “Stand by You” music video to begin the Leaders in Action workshop. Ms. Domino highlighted the lyrics, discussing the girls how they can stand by their friends even if they’re “walking through hell”, and what it means to be a loyal and supportive friend. The LiveGirls then transitioned back to the gym, where they made acrostic poems with their names, writing a positive quality about themselves for each letter of their name. After each LiveGirl read her poem to her mentoring group, they all took turns going around and complimenting each other.

“The things like [the self-love acrostic poems] that we do at LiveGirl are so empowering,” one LiveGirl said. “It makes me feel good about myself, and it makes me so happy to see everyone else building each other up. It’s nice to know that people care about me for who I am, even if they just met me.”

After lunch, the LiveGirls participated in their afternoon activities. The girls who chose the musical theater workshop got the chance to learn a song and dance from Singin’ in the Rain from actors from the Summer Theater of New Canaan!

Remember to keep bringing in your female role model posters for the chance to win an Amazon gift card! See you tomorrow, LiveGirls!