Sexism and racism at work are far from gone. Succeeding despite them seems simple, but it's not: Work hard. Keep pushing forward. Assume you belong. Tell someone if you're being mistreated. And leave if you have to.

In 2019, as the Fortune 500 reaches a sad all-time high of 33 female CEOs, it appears we are making progress toward leaving behind ideas about (and actions toward) women that are dated at best—and against the law at worst. The reckoning happening in our society clearly communicates that with phenomena such as the #MeToo movement. Backlash aside, as we continue down the path toward respect and equity in the workplace and beyond, how is a woman to navigate the stragglers in her profession? Four women who beat long odds to rise to the tops of their male-dominated professions in Columbus share horror stories, times when they were supported and their best advice for the women following after them. One thing they all have in common? They have not let the challenges they have faced deter them from their professional and personal goals.

Lindsay Karas Stencel on being a woman venture capital partner: ‘It’s not going to be Sesame Street’

Donna James on navigating her way to the top of the corporate world: ‘Assume innocence but don’t act innocent’

Yvette McGee Brown on refusing to rise to the bait and ‘voting with your feet’ if you have to

Joanna Pinkerton on excelling in traditionally male industries: ‘There’s no reason I don’t belong here’

Chloe Teasley is staff writer for Columbus CEO.

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