As a female leader, Joumana Mcdad encounters challenges her male counterparts often don’t. But as with any challenges, she embraces advice her sister offers on a regular basis.
“My sister is the one person I can count on to listen and talk me off the ledge when I need it,” says Mcdad, executive vice president and chief strategy and innovation officer at $55 million asset One Detroit Credit Union. “Her famous words for me are, ‘control what you can.’”
Instead of focusing on what’s out of her control, Mcdad looks at what she can control and crafts a solution around those pieces.
Part of that control means developing a leadership style based on empathy, flexibility, and work-life balance. Yet, she can also be “tough” and push employees out of their comfort zones to achieve their best.
“It’s a win for me,” Mcdad says. “If I see people moving up the ladder and I see their personal and professional development, that’s rewarding.”
She also understands professional development can be scary but necessary for growth.
“You need to be okay with change. You cannot be complacent in what you do,” Mcdad says. “You can’t be complacent at home. You can’t be complacent with your family. You can’t be complacent at work. This is what’s going to get you to move forward.”
Also important—and advice she gives young female professionals in particular—is to “show up for everything. It doesn’t matter [if] you don’t have a seat at the table. With everything you do, assume you have a seat at the table. Come with your opinions, come with your advice, and don’t be complacent.”
As Women’s History Month draws to a close, Mcdad says it’s an opportunity for her to look back at what she’s learned from the women who came before her and how she’s applied those lessons to her own life.
“We get to celebrate past and present women who have paved the way for other women leaders. It inspires me to hear their stories and their challenges, and how they work through those challenges,” Mcdad says. “It gives me a minute to reflect on myself and who I am today as a woman leader and as someone who was faced with these challenges.”