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In celebration of International Women’s Day, we would like to take a moment to honor all the Women of Confirmit. While our company is full of smart, talented women, we’ve chosen to interview our Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources, Heidi Brumbach. Heidi has been part of the Confirmit team for 13 years and is responsible for Confirmit’s HR activities around the world, focusing on developing and executing HR strategy in support of the company’s ambitious strategic plans. In this interview, Heidi provides advice for women in the workplace.

Define a great leader. What are some traits you think great leaders possess?

A great leader is someone who knows what they don’t know. They are humble enough to acknowledge it and secure enough to surround themselves with the best and brightest people. They listen to their team, make the hard decisions, and take responsibility for the decisions they make.

Great leaders trust their people, respect them, and challenge them. Most importantly, they are fair, every single day. The compassion and empathy that many women possess are great traits for leaders to have. These traits help leaders understand other’s perspectives and motivations more clearly.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

While it may seem counterintuitive, I don’t think women need to do things differently just because they are women. Unfortunately, sometimes we fall into a trap based on society’s shallow thinking or our own insecurities. Many women feel that they aren’t good enough or have to do things differently to appear equal. This just isn’t true. Oftentimes, we can be our own worst enemies – giving up too easily or unintentionally sabotaging our goals with negative self-talk. One of my favorite mantras is “you have to believe in yourself when no one else does”. Women are incredibly strong beings. We can achieve anything we put our minds to it!

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Regardless of gender, the way to get ahead in business is to work really hard and do more than is expected of you, over and over again. If a company doesn’t recognize your abilities or potential because of your gender (or any other reason not related to your work), then that’s not the right place for you. Honestly, if that’s your employer’s organizational culture then the company is destined for failure anyway. Another company will appreciate what you bring to the table. And while it can take time to find the right place for you, it’ll happen. 

What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

One of the most important lessons of my career is that no one achieves success in a vacuum. Whether it’s in business or in your personal life, someone was there to support you. It’s really important to recognize those people first before you accept any accolades for yourself. There’s nothing worse than a leader who takes credit for all the success but then throws the team under the bus when there’s a failure. Thank the people who have helped you to be successful and also be personally accountable for the things that don’t go well.  

What woman inspires you and why?

There are so many inspiring women, but the first women that come to mind are the women I have met through my son-in-law, an Osprey pilot with the Marine Corps. I’ve been very fortunate to meet the most incredible female pilots in his squadron. The bravery and dedication of these women is so inspirational. Their commitment to our country is so strong and the sacrifices they make for all of us are remarkable. Traditionally, the military is a very male-dominated workplace and these women face gender-related challenges all the time. But despite that, these women are knocking down barriers and kicking ass every single day. I really admire their strength and determination.

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