Women at the Top of Their Game Share Their Best Tips for Success in Work and Life

On the heels of our 2019 Most Powerful Women list, we gathered at Rise Interactive on Oct. 23 for a celebration of “Women on the Rise.” Over 130 guests raised a glass of rosé to toast to inspiring females as a panel of influential CEOs, founders, and directors shared their career wisdom with the group.

According to Fundera, there are 114 percent more women entrepreneurs than there were 20 years ago. Cheryl Berman, former chairman and chief creative officer at Leo Burnett and now CEO of Unbundled, also shared the energizing statistic that female CFOs brought in $1.8 trillion more than male peers.

“Now is a particularly powerful and hopeful time for women. We are truly #womenontherise.” – Susan B. Noyes, Founder and Chief Visionary Office of Make It Better Media Group

If you are looking to grow your career or your own business, here is some valuable wisdom from women who are truly at the top of their game, having made bold moves and learned valuable lessons along the way. And watch a video of the evening’s highlights here:

Women On The Rise

Never be afraid to ask for help and guidance in your career.

“If you let people know what you want to do, they will want to help you.” – Susan Abrams, CEO of Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

Susan Abrams Women on the Rise Better Chicago

Susan Abrams was appointed CEO of Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in April 2014, with more than 25 years of nonprofit and business management experience. Under her leadership, the museum is leading globally in Holocaust and museum education. Abrams previously served as the COO for JCC Chicago. She has held leadership positions at Northwestern University and Chicago Children’s Museum, where she was instrumental in the planning and execution of the museum’s move to Navy Pier. She also has worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company and an analyst at Goldman Sachs. Abrams is also the author of “The New Success Rules for Women: 10 Surefire Strategies for Reaching Your Career Goals” (Random House, 2000) and regularly speaks to students, alumni, and professional women’s groups on related topics.

No matter the stage in your career, always be open to learning experiences.

“Go there with the mindset that you are there to learn and understand, and grow from it. Regardless of who you are, what your title is, what your background is.” – Nooshin Behroyan, Founder/CEO of Paxon Energy and Infrastructure Services

Nooshin Beyrohan Women on the Rise Better Chicago

Nooshin Behroyan is the founder and CEO of one of the fastest growing and leading women-owned consulting firms heavily involved in improving the safety of oil and gas pipelines in the U.S. and Canada. Paxon Energy integrates the latest technologies to monitor electric lines, and helps protect infrastructures and surrounding communities. A “serial-entrepreneur,” Behroyan brings extensive cross-cultural experience that promotes gender diversity and work-force equality in the field of oil, gas, and utilities by addressing barriers and driving change for positive impact, especially for women engineers and veterans.

One of the secrets to overcoming challenges is the ability to adapt, learn and move on.

“And now I’m here for the next level of whatever comes. I’m learning how to adapt, I’ve learned from a lot of professional women, they are very well educated.” – Silvia Orizaba, Founder of Sacred CBD

Silvia Orizaba CBD Sacred Women on the Rise Better Chicago

In 2012, Silvia Orizaba entered the cannabis business. She is now the founder of Sacred CBD, which operates online and with Chicago locations, and an advocate for the industry. She previously had a chain of fitness studios and entered the cannabis business after a client used it for aches and pains. She also served as founder and CEO of CAI, an organization that invested in product development, education, and regulation for companies interested in the cannabis industry and served as an advisor to several cannabis companies across the United States.

Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to move forward.

“I took a 90 percent pay cut to be employee number four; the goal was to build a marketing service organization that would be bought, which was what we did.” – Kelly Twohig, Director, Integrated Sector at Google

Kelly Twohig Google Women on the Rise Better Chicago

Kelly Twohig is the Director, Integrated Sector, Video Specialist & SDM at Google. Before she joined Google, Twohig spent 20 years working at agencies including DDB, OgilvyOne, Leo Burnett, and Starcom, where she and her team won numerous awards including Effies, Adweek Plan of the Year, and iMedia Campaign of the Year. A frequent speaker and mentor, Twohig is a guest lecturer at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.


Macaire DouglasMacaire Douglas lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two sons. She proudly supports the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to prevent the illegal abandonment of newborns nationwide.