uhura2.jpgThis might sound strange, but Uhura from Star Trek was sort of my role model growing up. She was smart, tough and she was of the only women helping to run things on the bridge — the Enterprise’s corner office.

Most everyone agrees, role models are a key to building confidence, confidence we all need to make it in the world.

But too often, women just don’t have enough successful women around them to learn from and emulate.

Many women top executives and leaders I’ve talked to say it was male role models they most looked up to, often their dads. While that’s a great thing, gals also need a dose of gal power.

That’s why I was so excited when I checked out a new online interactive offering for college women and recent grads called Career Gal Road Trip.

The Forté Foundation, a consortium of major corporations, business schools and non-profit organizations that promotes women in business leadership, created the interactive application allowing young women to hear from successful women who have followed a similar path, or a path they may be considering.

“Our research of Forté members found that an overwhelming majority would have been interested in pursuing a career in business if they were aware of the options during college,” said Elissa Ellis Sangster, executive director of the Forté Foundation. “We created this site to help increase the odds that young women will be exposed to career opportunities in business, educated about the many paths to a successful career, and provided with access to role models to help them visualize their future.”

The interactive game, which is what Forté calls it, has a goal to help college women and graduates who are undecided about their career goals, but also those women who are considering a career in business. You can click, “accounting major” for example and get a choice of three established women who had that major. I clicked on Haruka Fashimi.

“Straight out of college I decided to go into auditing,” she explained, about her decision to go into public accounting. “The industry develops people quickly. You are pushed to jump the ladder professionally, which I thought was a great experience for me. One of the best times in my life. You work hard, play hard.”

She then decided she wanted to go into a career where she could “shape something.” She ended up with a job at Paramount pictures as a manager in group financial reporting but said it wasn’t glamorous as people think; went back for her MBA and interned at American Express doing product development. Today she does consulting and product development for Univision.

“One of biggest things that I’ve learned if that it’s not what level you’re at but what you do,” she stressed. “Early on in my career, I thought I needed to be the vice president of a company by such and such. I had road map for myself. But what I’m realizing now, it’s much more important for me to do something I really enjoy and have a strong interest in rather than thinking about what my title is going to be next year.”

It’s rare to get an opportunity to sit down with even one successful woman and have her tell you about the ups and downs in her career. I wish I had something like this to inspire and guide me when I was in college.

As far as the business world, my dad was indeed my main inspiration. But my mom also did her part, running a small sewing business out of our basement. And Uhura of course. Although I’m not sure what she ended up inspiring me to do.

Who was your role model?

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