Sara is a member of Plan International USA’s Youth Advisory Board.
In the spirit of this year’s International Day of the Girl, I had the privilege to partake in a corporate takeover alongside NBCUniversal’s legendary Linda Yaccarino. Thanks to Plan International USA, a girls’ rights organization of which I am a Youth Advisory Board member, hundreds of takeovers have been organized globally with the goal of temporarily putting young women into positions of power, where they are historically underrepresented, to show them their future possibilities and let the world know that #GirlsBelongHere. My experience with Linda, chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships, did just that.
Throughout the takeover, I got to experience what it’s like to be Linda for a day. My schedule started with a speaking engagement for the Mobile Marketing Association, where Linda was giving a 15-minute speech on the importance of transformation in business. Following that, we headed back to the office, where I was able to learn all about NBCUniversal’s mission and projects, and the ways in which it, as a large, influential corporation, is striving to advance gender equality. The highlight of the experience would have to be sitting in on some of Linda’s meetings. As I sat in her office, soaking up every word she was saying, I was mesmerized by the way she commanded the room, embodying all of the quintessential characteristics of a strong, powerful woman.
Girls all around the world need more women like Linda Yaccarino in the workplace. Her success only further inspires more success. Nonetheless, reaching these positions of power is only the first step; the next is what differentiates the women of power from the women who help others see their power, too. It is crucial for these powerful women to give back, mentoring other young women, in hopes of them attaining similar roles in the future. Fortunately, this is exactly what Linda does — she holds mentorship as a first priority. Throughout my time with Linda, I truly felt like I got to know her; she spoke with a sense of genuineness that immediately made me feel comfortable, as if I had known her all of my life. It is this attitude that will further propel her protégés to make it to the top.
Overall, my corporate takeover experience served its purpose: I will use my femininity as a strength to aid in my future success, and I hope women all around the world will do the same. It is something we, as women, should all be proud of and embrace every day. Most of all, I will never forget Linda’s invaluable advice: The world is at your feet, so do not let anyone hold you back.