Irene Rosenfeld

Chairman & CEO

New York, NY

Your boss is not a mind reader. Be strong in your abilities, ask for what you want, and know what you are willing to do to get it.

I got one of my most significant promotions by leaning in. I was having a routine dinner with my boss—which included the standard conversation about career aspirations and what my ideal job would be. I mentioned a position in Canada that was currently held by someone else. What I didn’t know was the person in question had just announced his departure from the company.

Three weeks later, I got a call about the role. I was surprised, yet pleased. I knew that my boss would never have considered me for the move had I not shared my interest; after all, I was a mother to two children. In my experience, men don’t want to shake up your family life, so they don’t ask when cross-country or international position opens up. Had I not spoken up about my ambitions or been confident about my abilities, he likely wouldn’t have made the connection.

My children, who were in fifth and eighth grade at the time, were miserable at the idea of leaving New York. I tried to set it up as an adventure: I got them a pet; I paid them their allowance in Canadian dollar; we went on road trips. Looking back, I would say the move gave them (and me) the confidence to go after what they want in life. We’re all back in the States now, but my kids still go up to Canada to visit their friends.

My advice is simple: Your boss is not a mind reader. Be strong in your abilities, ask for what you want, and know what you are willing to do to get it.

Get more from Lean In

Start a Circle

We make it easy to get started, and provide all of the materials you’ll need to run your Circle

Start your Circle

Join a Circle

Women around the world are meeting regularly in small groups to support each other and learn new skills–join one today

Find a Circle

Learn New Skills

Use our library of education resources to build new skills and support your career

Build your skills