You’re probably terrified of graduating. What’s next? How am I going to get my dream job? How am I going to balance a social life? How am I going to overcome the job market? How, as a woman, am I going to succeed? I spoke with Gabie Boko, executive vice president of marketing at Sage North America, a company offering business management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses. As an executive woman, she had numerous valuable insights for our seniors and claimed inspiration from each successful individual.
KD: After college, how did you get to where you are now?
GB: I came into the workforce when there were issues in the market in the mid-1990s. I graduated college in Arizona which was, at the time, the highest bankruptcy state in the nation. I had a communications and history degree but there was no work and I didn’t know what to do. I thought about working as a paralegal or legal secretary but they said “we can’t pay you.” I worked four jobs over two years. Now I work in technology.
KD: What’s the ultimate advice for people who are graduating?
GB: In college, learn what’s offered and how to think. Learn how to communicate and make partnerships. The job of your choice may not be available. It may not be what you need so you have to think of how you’re going to support yourself.
KD: As a woman in the workforce, what are some issues you see for female graduates and how would you suggest resolving those issues?
GB: The majority of women have lower-wage jobs. My advice is to start your own business. Have a job on the side, of course, but entrepreneurship is a gap we should close. What we do about closing that gap is thinking outside of your career - how you impact organizations for great communities and changing how a woman is perceived in the “workforce.”
KD: What can women do to make sure they obtain a job after college?
GB: Men are more likely to get jobs in sales or jobs that involve personality. Strong women need to be the full package. They need to be able to speak, write and be less worried about wages and hours that are put in. You have to have a big opinion and love what you do and you have to be inspired by others.
KD: How have you been able to attain happiness in your job?
GB: I’m proud every day of a woman or man who works for me and is successful. It’s more about doing a good job, being happy and driving change. And take opportunities every time. Life never comes around again.
KD: How do you balance a social life while working so many hours a week?
GB: It’s hard to balance hobbies like my photography on top of work. My motto is “work hard, play hard.” Take vacations as they’re offered. Be passionate about life. Understand that mental breaks provide inspiration. And understand that not every day is easy, but it does get better.