Women who successfully scale the corporate ladder don't spend a lot of time worrying about their gender or whether their sex is a barrier to being promoted in business, Geneva Steel's president says.
Joe Cannon told a Women in Leadership Seminar series Wednesday that all young executives, not just women, are trying to get noticed in the corporate structure."My experience with successful women is they don't spend much time worrying about whether they are women or men," he said. "Getting noticed is not just a woman's problem. Everyone deals with that. I find that usually cream rises."
He said men and women can move up the corporate ladder by demonstrating that they can get the job done and by being articulate and hard workers. Women can break down barriers by being willing to make "real, true sacrifices and that has nothing to do with gender," he said.
"Part of it is also overcoming your own fear that being a woman will hinder you," he said. "I could have been Jane Cannon instead of Joe Cannon and I would still be CEO at Geneva Steel."
Cannon also said that many Utah companies may not have an affirmative action program for upper-level management positions, but that should not stand in a woman's way.
"I don't think there are very many companies in Utah that would undertake an affirmative action plan for those top management positions," he said. "That's wrong, but it occurs. But you can't count on affirmative action to get you those top positions.
"I don't believe in affirmative action," he said. "I also don't believe you need it. Women are just as competent as men."
Mary Kay Lazarus, who introduced Cannon, said many corporate leaders she approached to address the seminar refused to participate.
"Many corporate leaders felt is was political and corporate suicide to participate on a panel of this nature," she said.