2020 Enterprising Women: Mariah Gratz
Mariah Gratz, CEO, Weyland Ventures
Years in position: 3.5
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received?
Early on in my career when I was working at a medical device company, I was put in charge of a high visibility project. There were several people in the engineering group who didn’t think I was qualified for the role and presented roadblocks to the team’s success at every turn. Not knowing what else to do, I kept pushing forward. At a performance appraisal about six months into the project, my supervisor, Bill Bolt, told me that some of my co-workers had complained to him that I had no right to “boss them around” in my quest to get the project done. He told me, “Don’t worry about them. Do your job, get results, and prove them wrong. You have my support.” I finished that project successfully and went on to become the youngest and only female manager in the engineering department.
What’s your proudest accomplishment from the past year?
Leading my company through a year of growth.
What’s the biggest thing you want to tackle in 2020?
Doubling down on our growth in 2019 and continuing that through 2020
Which female leader inspires you?
What are you doing to help the next generation of women coming behind you in the workforce?
My goal is to be a role model and a trail blazer. I think I do this most effectively through leading by example and sharing my story.
Has the #MeToo movement changed the way business is conducted? How?
I think the #MeToo movement shined a light on behaviors that are unacceptable in the workplace, or anywhere for that matter, and showed that they have been entirely too prevalent in many workplaces and industries. Now that those hard truths have been exposed, we need to focus on how to redefine the rules of the workplace to strive for a culture where every person has the opportunity to achieve their true potential in a safe and respectful environment.
What’s the biggest challenge you see for women in today’s workforce/workplace?
At a macro level, the biggest challenge remains the lack of gender equity. The latest Global Gender Gap Report released from the World Economic Forum in December was sobering. Despite all the focus and discussion on women in the workplace and pay equality, the United States has dropped in the rankings from 45 in 2016 to 53 in 2020.
At the micro level, the continued gender equity gap plays out for many women as day-to-day challenges around work/life/family/self balance and dealing with gender bias and marginalization in the workplace. These issues lead to women dropping out of the workforce or not reaching their full potential. Imagine the economic and community growth that could be realized if we unleashed the innovation, productivity, and differing perspectives that women bring to the table.
What advice would you give to young women who hope to pursue a career path like your own?
Do it. I firmly believe that an engineering education is a great foundation for any career. There are infinite options and opportunities to move into new careers as long as you are equipped with a strong sense of curiosity, the ability to be comfortable with uncertainty, and a commitment to life-long learning.
Where do you expect to be in five years?
CEO of a larger Weyland Ventures that is more prominent at a regional and national level and continuing to revitalize neighborhoods and communities through the built environment. I will also continue to be involved in the community and working to drive economic growth and quality of life initiatives to move Louisville up the ranks of its peer cities. In my spare time, I will probably be found coaching 3rd or 6th grade school sports for my kids.
What do you think is Louisville’s best-kept secret?
Louisville is its own best kept secret. We need to get out and tell the world what they’re missing out on if they haven’t experienced our city
What’s your “desert island” album?
Probably something by Rodrigo y Gabriela.
View the original article from Business First online here