Standing out in a crowd has always been easy for Cecelia Fitzgibbon, president of Moore College of Art and Design and Pennsylvania Conference for Women advisory council member. In fact, she knew at an early age she wanted to be a leader.
Q: How did your professional journey begin, and what would you say was your defining professional moment?
A: I always knew I wanted to be “the boss;” it never made sense to me that people did not want to lead something. I’ve come to have a great respect for followers as they exhibit the same characteristics as leaders do. My defining professional moment was my first job out of grad school; it was well beyond what I was qualified for, yet they hired me anyway. It taught me to not conform to my own self limitations but believe the people who encouraged me to take a bigger step.
Q: What are the characteristics that you believe define a great company?
A: Strategic, transparent, collaborative, invested in the success of the people who work there and devoted to being a “learning organization.”
Q: What are your top three tips for a woman who is ready to make her next career move?
A: Look beyond the job you think you can get, constantly cultivate and activate your network, and don’t dress like a man, wear color!
Q: What is the top piece of professional advice that you’ve received from a mentor and why do you think that advice still applies to today’s business environment?
A: Never speak ill of your predecessor and never burn your bridges. These are relevant today because we must always be respectful of what came before and it is way too small a world to cut off access. People recirculate, and one never knows the next time you will encounter that previous colleague or employer.
Q: What is the one thing you make time for in your daily life that helps keeps you refreshed and positive?
A: My family, and I am trying very hard to add exercise.
Q: Who is a leader that you have great respect for and why?
A: My dear friend and colleague Peggy Amsterdam who left us too soon. She knew when to delegate, was a futurist, could work a room like no one I ever met and was beloved by everyone who knew her….and she was a great mom!