"You've got to develop the courage of your convictions. I think you have to be willing to take some risks and some gambles, and to maybe take an unpopular position because you really think it's the right thing to do. I'm very willing to have open, frank conversations that other people just aren't willing to have. "
When she was finally ready to take the leap, she did her homework by learning as much about the industry as possible. But research doesn't just mean looking up the risks -- it means checking in with yourself to make sure you're emotionally ready for a long, unpredictable and sometimes scary journey.
In the 2012 Catalyst census data, women made up 14.3 percent of Fortune 500 executive officers and 16.6 percent of the board members, a small improvement over 1998. So, the question remains: Is there a better way to identify and advance women who have the desire and skill to rise to the opportunity?