American Legion Auxiliary honors founders of R. Riveter with Woman of the Year Award

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The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) named Cameron Cruse and Lisa Bradley, founders of R. Riveter, as co-recipients of its Woman of the Year Award for their support of military spouses through their U.S.-based handbag company. 
“… this is about every military spouse who ever had a dream,” said Cruse.

Based in Southern Pines, N.C., R. Riveter employs military spouses who help make the handcrafted handbags the company sells. This work can be done remotely, offering military spouses flexible and mobile job opportunities in response to employment challenges – such as frequent relocations – which can come with military life.

2016-2017 ALA National President Mary E. Davis called the work opportunities offered by R. Riveter to military spouses “something they desperately need considering the employment challenges that do come with military life.”

R. Riveter had its modest start in November 2011, in the small attic at Cruse’s home near Camp Merrill, Ga.
By 2014, R. Riveter’s brick-and-mortar store in Southern Pines had opened. Another highlight in the life of the company was Cruse and Bradley’s successful appearance as contestants on “Shark Tank,” ABC’s business-themed reality TV show, in February 2016. Cruse and Bradley’s pitch landed them a partnership with, and financial investment from, well-known billionaire businessman Mark Cuban.

“Although R. Riveter started in an attic, we’re now providing income to over 100 military spouses. We’re fiercely dedicated to providing income to military spouses,” said Bradley.

Bradley has a Masters in Business Administration from Chapman University. Cruse has a Masters in Architecture from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Established in 1984, the American Legion Auxiliary Woman of the Year Award recognizes outstanding women who exemplify the values and ideals of the American Legion Auxiliary, particularly those women whose contributions advance the quality of life for America’s military, veterans, and their families. Past Woman of the Year honorees include former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy L. Duckworth, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Army Wife Talk Radio Host Tara Crooks, Patriot PAWS Founder Lori Stevens, and U.S. Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson. To learn more about the Woman of the Year Award and the American Legion Auxiliary, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org.

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The Living Legacy of Dr. Olivia J. Hooker

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Dr. Olivia J. Hooker is the kind of person who’ll credit everyone else for her lifetime of achievements before she credits herself.

And her list of accomplishments is seemingly endless. She has two Coast Guard buildings named after her for being the first black woman to enlist. She advanced psychology for people with disabilities as one of the few black women in the field. She took the fight for reparations for fellow survivors of the Tulsa race riot in Oklahoma to Capitol Hill. She’s been called “fearless” and “an inspiration” by President Obama.

But rather than give herself any sort of credit this, Hooker has her doctors to thank, her roommates in basic training, the teachers who helped her along the way — and her mom.

“She was the person that wanted to see you doing something that was a higher aim,” Hooker says. “We knew as children, don’t let mama catch you idle. You better have a book in your hand, a pen to write.”

Because of this, Hooker has spent the majority of her 103 years learning, teaching, and living out the belief that if you want to see change in the world, you better do it yourself. She’s dedicated her life to serving others with a humility and generosity of spirit that seems, in 2018, almost of a bygone era — an era that she saw and survived firsthand.

When she was 6 years old, Hooker’s family — mother, father, three sisters, and one brother — was attacked in the 1921 Tulsa race riot. The “catastrophe,” as Hooker calls it, began when a black man named Dick Rowland came in contact with a white woman named Sarah Page in an elevator. It’s likely that he tripped and grabbed her as he fell, but the truth didn’t matter. Rowland was arrested, the story escalated, and the city’s white residents, emboldened by the Tulsa police, terrorized Greenwood. They burned homes and businesses, including Hooker’s father’s clothing store, and killed roughly 300 residents. Greenwood, known as “Black Wall Street” for its collection of black businesses and wealth, was decimated.

“It was devastating,” Hooker says, “I did not know about people discriminating because of color. I didn’t know that there were people who hated other people for no reason. It was a distinct shock.”

Hooker’s family survived and moved to Topeka, Kansas. They lived near a brick factory, where the sounds of dynamite blowing up the earth for clay reignited Hooker’s memories of the massacre. She says it was years before she could sleep without screaming or having nightmares.

In spite of — or perhaps because of — what she witnessed in Tulsa, Hooker decided to devote herself to making the world a better place. She studied psychology and education at Ohio State University and taught third grade until it was announced that the Navy would allow black women to serve. Hooker had fought for this right along with her sisters in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, but after a while, she noticed no one seemed to be signing up.

“I thought, if you have fought for a right, as we had campaigned for the Navy to take in black women, then somebody ought to take advantage of it,” Hooker says. “So I thought, alright, if nobody else comes up, I’ll try.”

Hooker tried to enlist and was rejected twice due to an unexplained “complication.” Her third letter, she says, was answered by Navy secretary James Forrestal, who told her she could start at the bottom and work her way up. She claims her sister’s boss at the Government Accountability Office then told her to try the Coast Guard — where she would be one step removed from those in the Navy who viewed her as a “complication.”

“The Coast Guard recruiter was very welcoming,” she says. “She really wanted to be able to do something for her country by integrating.” Hooker knew nothing about the military: She showed up for basic training with her steamer trunk alongside seven white women and their duffel bags. Nevertheless, she would become the first black woman on active duty.

Continue onto Shonaland to read the complete story.

Want to Run a Successful Business? Hire More Women

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professional women in business

Silicon Valley has long celebrated failure, encouraging founders to aim big and fail fast, pick themselves up, and try again. In that spirit, there’s one big failure to add to the list: Silicon Valley has failed women, period, and it’s time for the industry to own it. At the current rate, with VCs celebrated for hiring their first (first!) female partners and companies ever so slowly achieving single-digit increases in the number of female engineers and managers, it will take us a generation or more to get to anywhere near 50-50. That is unacceptable. Women not only represent half the population but drive 70 to 80 percent of consumer purchases. If only for the sake of profits, women should not be excluded from the process of imagining and creating new products.

There are a few founders who see the opportunity here. Everyone is looking for a competitive advantage, and some tech leaders have realized that there is an abundance of talent and valuable ideas in the populations that, for the last three decades, have been largely untapped. Looking at their new women-inclusive businesses and work- place cultures can give us some idea of the potential payoffs.

I ran into Dick Costolo in April 2016, 10 months after he had left Twitter, and he was nearly giddy, having just hired another female engineer at his new personal-fitness start-up, Chorus, the fourth company he has co-founded in two decades. From day one, Costolo focused obsessively on making sure he hired as many women as men, even if it took longer to find them. “Once you fall behind, if just two out of 20 engineers are women, it’s impossible to catch up,” Costolo told me. “Any one of these companies, the underlying disease is that it’s 90 percent men,” Costolo says. “Everything, literally everything, is reinforcing the problem.”

Jack Dorsey, who returned to Twitter as CEO when Costolo left, is also taking an innovative approach to improving the environment for women at his other company, Square. New female engineers joining the company are placed on teams that include other women rather than alone with a group of men. The hope is to engender camaraderie and networking and mitigate the “imposter syndrome” that women often experience when they are the only female in a room of male engineers. Still, with a limited number of female engineers, there is a trade-off to this strategy: Some teams will remain all male. It’s an experiment, one that Dorsey believes is worth trying. In the meantime, Square has developed a strong bench of female executives. “It’s not just creating a sense of belonging that’s important,” Dorsey told me, “but also making sure women contribute to decision making.”

And then there’s the most straightforward strategy, that having women in charge will naturally attract more women. Julia Hartz, co-founder and CEO of Eventbrite, says the company’s gender balance is 50-50 and that this has happened organically perhaps as a result of simply having strong female role models at the top.

Continue onto Inc. to read the complete article.

Meet Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African American woman to run a $1-billion business

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CEO of Act 1 Group

Janice Bryant Howroyd, 65, is founder and chief executive of Act 1 Group, an employment agency that also provides consulting and business services, including background checks and screening. She’s the first African American woman to operate a company that generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue, according to Black Enterprise Magazine. Act 1, which includes other brands such as Agile 1, A-Check Global and AppleOne, has contracts with 17,000 clients in 19 countries.

“If you visit any of our offices,” Howroyd said, “you’ll see that we live by the mantra that ‘the applicant is the center of our universe.’ It’s always been our belief that if you get that applicant in the right job, then they will be the best representation of who we are as a company.”

Early lessons

Growing up in Tarboro, N.C., as one of 11 children, Howroyd had early lessons in team building. Each sibling was assigned an older one to act as a mentor.

“My sister Sandy was my appointed guardian angel,” Howroyd said, “so it was up to her to see that I’d gotten my homework done, my hair was done, and my thoughts and process were in line with what the family wanted. We were very organized.”

Big move

After studying humanities and English at North Carolina A&T, Howroyd faced culture shock when she moved to Los Angeles in 1976 with just $900. Her older sister again provided welcome advice to “settle myself into knowing who I was, learning the power of that and understanding it.”

Brother-in-law Tom provided a temporary job at Billboard and saw entrepreneurial talents in the way Howroyd interacted with clients. Even when she was ill at ease, “I would revert to what I do well, which is strategize. I love to look at a problem, break it apart, find the better potential, knowing when to eliminate what doesn’t need to be there.”

Word of mouth

Howroyd, who didn’t even own a fax machine, opened Act 1 in a small office in Beverly Hills in 1978. She started out by making full-time job placements for companies needing workers, then shifting to temporary placements. Pleased clients were her best advertisements.

“It still matters in business more what someone else says about you than what you say about yourself,” Howroyd said. “You can have the best advertising, but unless someone else certifies what they are saying, you won’t last long. Word of mouth has always been my best referral system.”

Standing out

Early on, Howroyd employed a strategy that allowed her to compete against bigger companies, preparing her prospective hires by training them in what their employers were looking for in new workers.

“It always works best when you can tailor a hire to fit into a company’s philosophy,” Howroyd said. “They walk in better prepared and it’s more likely to be a very good fit for your client.”

Standing up

Whether it was dealing with racist students and teachers in her youth or businesspeople who uttered the most stunningly insensitive remarks, Howroyd said there were times when she was forced to bite her tongue and muddle through and other times when it was clear a stand had to be made, as frightening as that might clearly be.

“In order to be outstanding, sometimes, you’re just going to have to stand out” and not hide, Howroyd said. “My personal business protocol, my life mantra: Never compromise who you are personally to become what you wish to be professionally.”

Continue onto the LA Times to read the complete article.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun(damental) Workplace Rights

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Elizabeth Bradley

Young women professionals entering the workforce have little to no knowledge on how to handle workplace issues such as harassment, discrimination, and the gender wage gap. “Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge could put an entire generation of women at a disadvantage and seriously affect their earning potential,” said Elizabeth Bradley, Partner with Beverly Hills-based civil litigation and trial law firm Rosen Saba LLP.

“Most women are not taught to recognize subtler forms of discrimination that are less obvious than open harassment, but no less pervasive,” Bradley said. “For example, they may not realize that a man getting more promotions and advancement opportunities than his equally qualified female colleague is just as discriminatory as a man being paid more than a woman for doing the same job. They also may not realize that in several states, now including California, prospective employers are not permitted to ask for candidates’ salary history.”

Bradley, who has handled countless discrimination and harassment lawsuits, explains that gender doesn’t have to be the only motivating factor that is taken into account when filing a discrimination lawsuit. She is available to discuss this, as well as:

  • Important workplace rights that many young professional women are unaware of.
  • Ways that women can document harassment and discrimination so that allegations are not dismissed as hearsay, and without jeopardizing their careers.
  • Why the gender wage gap persists, and how women can advocate for higher salaries even if they have been underpaid in the past.
  • Specific industries where these issues are especially prevalent.

For information about the law firm, visit RosenSaba.com

 

The “She” Suite Celebrates International Women’s Day with Women in the C-Suite and in Leading Roles

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International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is quickly approaching, and six leading business women will discuss their journey to the top of the corporate ladder. Gender diversity and inclusion remains a pressing issue across industries and sectors – and by ignoring this issue, companies may be hurting their bottom line.

WHEN
March 8, 2018
7:15 AM – 9:15 AM

WHERE
Washington University in St. Louis – Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall
Snow Way, 1 Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130

WHO
Rebecca Boyer, Chief Financial Officer, KellyMitchell Group, Inc.; EMBA alumna
Andrea Faccio, Chief Marketing Officer, Nestle Purina North America; EMBA alumna
Linda Haberstroh, President, Phoenix Textile Corporation; EMBA alumna
Mary Heger, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Ameren Services Company; EMBA alumna
Deborah Slagle, Senior Vice President, Biologics Technology Cluster, MilliporeSigma; EMBA alumna
Joyce Trimuel, Chief Diversity Officer, CNA Insurance; EMBA alumna

According to a McKinsey study, diversity at the executive level strongly correlates with profitability and value creation. In fact, companies in the top quartile of executive-level gender diversity have a 27% likelihood of outperforming their less diverse peers.

On March 8, Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) will host a special panel discussion celebrating International Women’s Day featuring six business women who demonstrate their value to their companies as leaders every day. They are entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and global leaders representing companies. such as Nestle Purina, Ameren, and more.

One thing they all have in common: their Executive MBA experience from WashU, which is ranked among the top 10 EMBA programs in the country by several noted business publications including Financial Times.

How Being Underestimated Drove These Two Latinas To Publish Lil’ Libros

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two latina entrepreneurs

Have you ever dreamed of going into business with your best friend? Does it stay a dream, or in your mind does it turn into a nightmare? Ariana Stein and Patty Rodriguez, have been best friends since the age of twelve and will happily tell you that adding a business level to their friendship was the best decision they’ve collectively made.

After becoming moms, the duo kickstarted a business partnership with one goal in mind — creating the bilingual children’s book series that every Latina mom would love.

“The books aren’t designed to give lengthy, in-depth history lessons, as they’re only 22 pages long,” explains Ariana. “Instead the goal is to teach the basics, introduce them to culture, and motivate kids to continue learning additional words and languages. The books have always been about starting the bilingual learning journey with subjects that parents feel a connection with.”

Since its launch, Lil’ Libros has steadily become a presence on the shelves of Targets and local bookstores alike. The journey to getting Lil’ Libros on those bookshelves though has not been an easy one.

In her episode of Creating Espacios, Patty stated, “I think there’s so much strength that can be drawn from a bad day” and told a handful of stories of the ups and downs of building a business with her best friend.

But, those small glimpses weren’t enough. Here’s a full look at how Ariana and Patty describe their entrepreneurial success with Lil’ Libros.

Vivian Nunez: How did Lil’ Libros get its start?

Ariana Stein: It was our passion to ensure our children were raised to be bilingual.  Being best friends and knowing each other’s background, both being first generation Latinas, made it easier for us to decide to do this together.

Patty Rodriguez: Ariana and I have known each other since we were 12 years old.  We’ve always tried creating something together. There was a time when we actually worked on a hot dog start-up!  We were probably 18 at the time.  And then there was a time when David Beckham arrived to the states; it was such a big deal back then, we took it as an opportunity to capitalize on it, we ended up making shirts inspired by him!  That didn’t turn as planned, but we did it! I think Ariana’s husband still wears the shirts! So I feel that this was always meant to be.

Stein:  That’s not it! We also started a bilingual entertainment site.  This was actually picking up steam, and going the direction that we wanted it to go, but we weren’t passionate about it.  I think this is why it failed, but everything is a lesson.  Had we not had the hot dog business, shirt business, entertainment website, we wouldn’t have Lil’ Libros.

Nunez: How would each of you define Lil Libros mission?

Stein: Our mission has always been to introduce bilingualism and encourage parents to read to their children at the earliest age by focusing on subjects they are familiar with, and making it as fun and rewarding as possible.

Rodriguez: Each book we are creating is a seed. A seed we hope a parent plants at home with their child. We want parents and children to love to read, to create those moments together.

Nunez: What’s been the biggest entrepreneurial lesson you’ve learned since starting Lil Libros?

Stein:  To be fearless. Not be afraid to ask for anything. The worst thing that you can hear is the word “no.” Rejection can be hurtful and discouraging but this is what makes us stronger. Stronger to succeed and prove everyone that anything is possible.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Dollar General Announces Call for New Vendors

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Suppliers, companies and manufacturers with exciting new products who want to reach millions of consumers and partner with one of America’s fastest-growing retailers that is currently listed #128 on the Fortune 500 list and posted $22 billion in FY 2016 sales, listen up!

Dollar General (NYSE: DG) is encouraging new suppliers and those who have not sold products to the Company within the past 18 months to apply to attend its inaugural Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit in April 2018. The event aims to pair potential new vendors with respective Dollar General buyers and category managers. Suppliers must sell items in at least one of the following categories to be eligible to attend:

  • Beauty, Personal Care and Over-the-Counter/Wellness
  • General Merchandise/All Non-Food
  • Grocery.

“As part of Dollar General’s continual commitment to provide quality products at everyday low prices to our diverse consumer base, we are thrilled to announce our first Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit scheduled for this spring,” said Jason Reiser, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. “Having the right products to best meet our customers’ needs is a foundational cornerstone at Dollar General. As such, we look forward to meeting with potential new vendors, learning about relevant products for our customers and expanding the number of unique and specialized offerings available in our stores.”

To apply, interested suppliers, companies and manufacturers may submit their product information at www.rangeme.com/dollargeneral from Tuesday, January 30 through end of day on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Selected companies will be subject to a $500 participation fee and notified via email by Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) of the time, date and location of their meeting with a member of the Dollar General merchandising team.

Continue onto Business Wire to read the complete article.

How to Promote Increased Inclusivity in the Workplace

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Rochelle Ford

By Rochelle Ford

When it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we often view it from two camps: diversity of thought, and race and ethnicity. Both should achieve the same goal: people bringing their unique perspectives, experiences and knowledge to the table and respectfully engaging with each other.

However, it is often not enough to just hire a diverse group of employees. That is an important first step, but once the right people are hired, it is essential that every team member works to promote a more inclusive environment. Crucial to understanding our own role in this effort is recognizing the most innocuous ways we obstruct inclusivity. After self-evaluation, there are two essential tactics we must take: promoting empathy and combatting microagressions.

Cultivating a work environment based on empathy involves implementing programs and initiatives that will elicit positive engagement from team members at every level. Setting up programs for mentorship and affinity groups is a great way to connect employees with people outside of their usual circle.

Mentor programs that focus specifically on under-represented employee groups, such as women or ethnic minorities, can prove monumental in creating a positive learning environment for both mentors and mentees. Not only does the mentee gain advice from an experienced professional on how to navigate challenges, but the mentor also gains valuable insight into the conversations and resources that may currently be lacking in the company. Mentoring relationships that cross race, gender, age and ethnicity are important for people to learn about each other but also to emphasize solving organizational problems together.

Likewise, affinity programs, or employee resource groups, can also help build a more inclusive workplace by connecting Respectemployees who share a similar identity or cultural background and providing them with an avenue to seek support and career advice. These programs give employees the assurance and comfort of knowing their thoughts and opinions are being heard — whether it’s through regular interactions with a higher executive or connecting with team members from similar backgrounds in a familiar setting. Each program has its purpose, but they all aim to encourage team members to listen and connect with the people around them.

The second key step in successfully promoting inclusivity is learning how to combat microaggressions. They don’t have to be obvious, like blatant racial slurs, to be harmful. These actions can be seemingly small, ranging from verbal remarks that demean an employee’s heritage to language or behavior that exclude the feelings of employees who represent a different group. Executives have the responsibility to implement training programs that educate employees about the damaging effects of unconscious bias and microaggressions.

Employees on the receiving end also have a responsibility to combat this behavior and change the conversation moving forward. Knowing how and when to respond when confronted with microaggressions is critical. According to Jody Gray from the University of Minnesota and the American Library Association, the most important thing to do is take a minute to reflect before responding on an assumption. Asking a person to explain or restate their comment can often serve as a check for them to rephrase it in a more inclusive manner. If a response is needed, focus on the event, not the person—this lowers the likelihood of a defensive tone and can make the other person more receptive. Respond how you want to the other person to act, and avoid sarcastic or condescending tones. Gray suggests using yourself as an example: talking about how you’ve “unlearned” certain behaviors is a good way to get on the same level and can help reframe the conversation in a way that makes it click.

Additionally, if someone witnesses what is seemingly a microaggression toward someone else, the witness needs to follow the same steps but adding in the question of “Why am I offended?” Once that understanding occurs, keep the focus on oneself and not the supposed recipient because that person may not feel offended and may not want or need the witness to “come to the rescue.” Instead, follow the same steps of clarification, focusing on the event, using yourself as an example and creating a possible learning opportunity.

At the end of the day, creating an inclusive environment simply comes down to respect—authentic and mutual respect for your team and the common goal you are working to achieve. It’s important that employees understand and utilize the resources and programs that are in place to foster a workplace based on growth and personal development. From top to bottom, employees at all levels and backgrounds want to feel supported and valued for their different perspectives, and achieving inclusion requires full commitment and patience from all team members in order to succeed. What are other programs or initiatives that have been used in your own workplace that have proven successful in promoting diversity and inclusion?

Condé Nast Chooses a Digital-First Editor to Run Glamour

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When Samantha Barry was growing up in Ireland, she and her family would gather around the television to watch the 6 o’clock news. They also told stories around the dinner table and read a number of newspapers and magazines, including Vogue and old issues of Time.

“Irish people are such storytellers,” Ms. Barry said in a telephone interview on Friday. And, she noted, “The ’80s in Ireland was an interesting time for stories.”

Ms. Barry has continued to tell stories from places as near as New York and as far as Papua New Guinea in a career that has included stops at the BBC and CNN. And so, although she has never worked at a magazine, Ms. Barry had no qualms about the job she is about to undertake: Condé Nast has named her the next editor in chief of Glamour.

When she assumes her post the week of Jan. 15, Ms. Barry — who was most recently the executive producer for social and emerging media at CNN Worldwide — will become the eighth editor of the women’s title since its founding in 1939 and the first person with an exclusively digital and television background to lead a Condé Nast magazine. She will succeed Cindi Leive, 50, who said in September that she was leaving the magazine after 16 years at its helm.

Both Ms. Barry, 36, and the company that hired her are aware that she may be perceived as an atypical choice for the job.

But with her appointment, Condé Nast is signaling, once again, that it is barreling headlong into the digital age — if as much to reach its screen-obsessed consumers as by the financial realities of the magazine industry.

In a statement, Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of Vogue and Condé Nast’s artistic director, said Ms. Barry was “fearless like so many leaders of the moment.”

“We recognized at once that Sam would be the perfect editor for a new more ambitious era of Glamour’s future,” she said. “We can not wait to see her vision unfold.”

Continue onto the New York Times to read the complete article.

Hershey’s CEO on Professional Growth and Women in Business

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When Michele Buck was tapped to run Hershey (HSY, +0.73%) in March 2017, she became the first female CEO in the company’s 123-year history. Fortune included her on our 2017 list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business for the first time. And she is now a member of the elite club of women CEOs running Fortune 500 companies—there are just 32 of them.

So what is the secret to her success? “Hard work,” she tells Fortune. “I grew up in a very humble family,” Buck says. “My mother lived on a farm with no indoor plumbing. My father was the first in his family to graduate from high school and I learned very early, the values and virtues of hard work. I think there is no substitute for hard work.”

Buck certainly has been a hard worker in her 12 years at Hershey and the 17 years before that at Kraft. She says she always accepted tough assignments even though she didn’t feel prepared for them. “The times I learned the most and developed the most are when I took those opportunities that were outside my wheelhouse,” she recalls. “I grew so much as an individual and learned that I had something in me that I didn’t realize before.” She is credited with leading Hershey to make several strategic acquisitions outside its traditional confectionary product, including the purchase of Krave beef jerky.

What is Buck’s advice to working women? “Make an impact in every single assignment that you are given. Look at it as how can I take this to the next level. And be confident in yourself,” she says. “I think women just don’t have as much inherent confidence in themselves. They tend to be harsher critics of themselves than they need to be. So go for it.”

Continue onto Fortune to read the complete article.