Condoleezza Rice: ‘Don’t Let Somebody Else’s Racism or Sexism Be Your Problem’

Source: Time

June 28, 2017

The former Secretary of State and KPMG CEO Lynne Doughtie spoke to Motto about KPMG’s leadership program

Condoleezza Rice won’t brook microaggressions.

When she started her career in national security as an expert in Soviet affairs, she walked into many meetings feeling like her colleagues thought she didn’t belong. “You are going to run up against people who think you shouldn’t be in the room because you’re female, or because you’re black, or whatever. But that’s their problem,” the former Secretary of State told Motto. “The everyday garden variety glance or interruption, you just can’t let that get to you.”

Rice delivered the keynote speech at KPMG’s Women’s Leadership Summit in Chicago on Wednesday. Part of the proceeds from the summit fund KPMG’s Future Leaders Program, which aims to support high school seniors with college scholarships and mentorship, and for which Rice serves as ambassador. She and KPMG CEO Lynne Doughtie spoke with Motto about their experiences with sexism and how to ensure more women reach leadership roles.

Rice: I’m a university professor and I’m very often asked, “Why aren’t there more women in C-suites, in politics, in various aspects of our national life?” I always say you have to start early. You need to develop a pipeline of young women who are going to college and succeeding and who have a vision or image of themselves as able to reach the heights. What I like about this program is these young women, many of whom come from challenging circumstances, are being encouraged to reach high. We need to do more of that, because I don’t think there are barriers in the same way there were when Lynne and I were coming up, but you have to be able to see yourself in positions of authority and leadership.

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