Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
My name is Michelle Ferguson. I've been an Elevate member for some time. I spent most of my career at McGraw-Hill (now S&P Global) where I was the founder of the company's first ERG, WINS and a cofounder of a Mentoring Program. I held various general management, finance and operational roles during my "first" career. Among the highlights were turning around businesses in Southern Europe and Latin America and standing up a Global Business Services operation to allow greater flexibility and enable the sale of McGraw Hill Education. I'm now launching a coaching/consulting business which focuses on Professional Women who want to transform their lives and the the people and organizations that support these women.
How would you define your professional mission?
To support the advancement of professional women and their organizations.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
I am the founder of a global women's network at McGraw Hill. WINS operates around the globe with half of its regional networks outside the US. I called WINS my "work-work balance." WINS provided me with the opportunity to meet thousands of fabulous women around the world. The biggest highlight was participating on a panel with Gloria Steinem.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
I spent the final decade of my time at McGraw Hill running large projects. That work was very rewarding but I now want a bit more control over my time and efforts so that I can focus on the advancement of women.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
I'm a big proponent of mentoring and want to take that to a higher level.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
No, but my children are grown. I schedule my non-work time (it's on my calendar and non-negotiable).
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
Do things that you are passionate about... in every aspect of your life.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
Be better than the men. May sound a bit controversial but my unfortunate experience has been that in most cases, if a man and a women are equally qualified, the guy will get the job.
What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?
Your children will not remember a dirty room or a botched meal. Outsource what you can. They will remember when you were there for them when it really counted.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
My favorite Ellevate memory is an 85 Broads memory; I had the honor of participating on a panel about women's initiatives at a Columbia Women in Business conference. Janet Hanson was also on that panel. She was an inspiration and reignited my passion for supporting other women. I am a member of Ellevate because I realize the power of women's networks and enjoy both the networking and educational opportunities.