I heard a story this week on NPR about Kathleen Kennedy who produced the new Star Wars movie and is the president of Lucas Films. She started as a secretary for John Milius, who had written Apocalypse Now. She would interject her creative ideas at the meetings where she was just there to take notes. She was unapologetic about her participation but contributed a lot to the conversation. So much so that Steven Spielberg asked her to come work with him. Even with her style of interjecting ideas, the people at the studio recognized that she had a real skill communicating.
She has succeeded by being forward but approachable. This can be a tricky tightrope walk for many women. People expect women to be nice but when they’re too nice they get trampled. Because women don’t want to be seen as pushy / bitchy (a big no no in our patriarchal culture) they don’t always reach out or speak up when they could and therefore create opportunities for themselves and others.
In this article, she also talks about how important it was to her to reach out and help other women.