Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Board member Pam Habner shares, “The most important career advice to women is to ‘stay on the highway.’ At different points in your career, you can move between the fast and slow lanes to balance your whole life. Citi CEO Jane Fraser speaks openly about working part time as a consultant while her two boys were young before later becoming the first woman to lead a Wall Street bank. There have been long periods in my career where my job has taken precedence. Once I had my sons, I was able to move in and out of the lanes as needed.” This Women’s History Month, we lift up and celebrate the women in the NFTE ecosystem who are moving in and out of lanes to lead organizations, businesses, classrooms, and families.
CEO of U.S. Branded Cards & Lending, Citi Board of Directors
EVP, Region President, NY/Northern NJ, Santander Bank Mid-Atlantic Advisory Board
VP, CPG Category Leader, GSTV Midwest Advisory Board
What is your NFTE Why?
Pam Habner: “It’s been a pleasure working with NFTE over the years as a member of its Board, delivering on the mission of helping young entrepreneurs unlock an entrepreneurial mindset and preparing them for future careers. One of the many reasons I love working with NFTE is that ‘a-ha’ moment when a young person realizes the idea they have in their mind can become a reality.”
Yajaira Lopez: “As a minority, I’m proud to be a NFTE Advisory Board member. NFTE’s mission aligns with my personal passion of giving back to young students from low income communities by helping them recognize business opportunities, and by coaching and supporting the development of their ideas.”
Kristal Walton: “I truly believe it is important to support our youth and future leaders in gaining confidence through engaging discussions and hands-on experiences. NFTE allows me the amazing platform to leverage my real-world career opportunities to help support our future leaders.”
What is one piece of advice you would give other women?
Pam Habner: “My best advice is to have a dream, take risks, share your aspirations with others and bet on yourself to get there. Then be willing to take calculated risks in your career to get you where you want to go. Whether it’s investing in your education or taking a calculated risk for your next job move, you should be your strongest advocate. I encourage women to have the confidence to take roles outside of their comfort zone and rely on their proven track record, leadership skills and colleagues to ensure they are successful. I have done this numerous times in my career and it has always paid off.”
Yajaira Lopez: “Celebrate and support other women! Together we can ensure women continue to make history.”
Kristal Walton: “Always bring your authentic self. Embrace your strengths and opportunity areas because that is what makes you special and different.”
Who is one woman who inspires you and why?
Pam Habner: “Michelle Obama. She is strong, confident, passionate, authentic, and lives her values, which is tremendously inspiring to me. I often borrow her words of wisdom — such as, ‘when they go low, we go high’ — with my 10-year-old twin sons.”
Yajaira Lopez: “The one woman that I can reflect as being my role model throughout every stage and journey in life is my mother. She demonstrated resilience and tenacity by overcoming challenges and reminded me to always be my authentic self.”
Kristal Walton: “All heroes from the U.S. Women’s Rights Movement from the beginning to present day. I can not pick just one person but the collective of women who fought injustice so that I could be in the position that I am in today. I am inspired consistently to work hard and ensure their sacrifices are respected.”