LIMA — When Marcelyn Boone was beginning her career, her male colleagues made her do all the jobs they didn’t want to do.
Though it seems negative, Boone looks at the experience as a positive, as the extra work and discrimination helped her learn how to do almost every job in a chemical plant and made her who she is today.
Boone, now plant manager at INEOS in Lima, brought many skills to the position, all due to her time at other chemical companies and mostly due to the blatant sexism she experienced from former male colleagues.
“You learn from it. All the things that happen to you in life are building who you are today,” she said. “I look at it as funny. I think a sense of humor in whatever you do is important.”
Women’s experiences in the same careers often differ from men’s and can give them an edge, or at least a different perspective, in business.
“I think that’s why women are flourishing now, because people are recognizing maybe some different skills or attributes that are helping businesses be successful,” said Elia Lopez, plant manager at Proctor and Gamble in Lima.
Lopez and Boone attended a Women in Business Leadership Roundtable at The Lima News, where discussion centered around women and their challenges and successes in business.
“You did what you needed to do to be successful. You stayed after work to fill the shifts after the hours,” said Karen Grothouse, from Spherion, expressing a sentiment that many women seemed to share.
“It’s the same story: You feel like you have to know more, you have to do more, you have to show up earlier, you have to stay later,” said Judy Cowan, president and chief executive officer of the Ohio Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Center.
Those things are all necessary because people compare men and women, said Debra McCurdy, president of Rhodes State College.
“People do make comparisons to the differences in how a woman would lead with how a man would lead in the same circumstances,” McCurdy said.
That can make women feel like they have to work harder to prove themselves sometimes, which may be why many believe women are better at multitasking.
“I was a multitasker, and I had men reporting to me, and I was always upset because they’d come in and be like, ‘I got this done.’ I’m like, ‘What about the other five things I asked you to do?’” Lopez said. “It’s just a different perspective.”
In addition to multitasking, women’s perspectives on life may be different.
“I personally think women bring … the ability to think globally but relate individually,” said Judy Wells, superintendent at Apollo Career Center. “You have to be a global person, and you have to be able to set the course for your organization.”
Females in leadership positions can also empower other women to “step outside the box,” said Nicole Scott, director of communications at the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce.
“I think it helps women definitely stop and think … They can be a leader too, and maybe they already are,” she said. “We’re in a new era. I feel it’s important for women to not be afraid of who they are and express themselves.”