(BA, Political Science, ’03)
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
I had several great professors, honestly. Dr. Meena Bose and Dr. Rosanna Perotti, both in the Political Science Department, were the greatest. Also, Dr. Brenda Welch, a former faculty member in the Political Science Department, truly challenged me to be unapologetic. Dr. Bose challenged me to think in greater depth. Dr. Perotti was the best support in the world. They were instrumental in my success as an undergraduate student.
- What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first job was at a local medical malpractice law firm in East Meadow in the former EAB building. It was probably the best and worst job ever, and part of the reason I am passionate about supporting high-level professional women. I interviewed for a paralegal position during undergrad, and the day I started, the office manager stated that the partner that hired me decided to train another staff member for the job, so they placed me in the client intake department.
It was a challenging experience working in a tense environment with another woman who was extremely rude and scolded me in public each day. However, it was in close proximity to Hofstra and I did not know if I had the “right” to challenge her authority. I lasted for almost six months before I had to make a decision that would ultimately be guided by my happiness and walked out, as I was in the beginning stages of developing serious health issues from the stress.
The most valuable lesson I learned is that unhappiness is tolerated, not a necessity. Walking away from a secure profession for my happiness truly paid off.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I am the founder of an executive leadership firm for women called The Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership. We support gender inclusion initiatives to assist women in ascending professionally and closing the gap in the C-suite. Our mission is simple: Give women the best tools to break the barriers at the top so we can create gender parity in the workplace and in business. We cover everything from negotiation, sponsorship support, and advocacy, to compensation agreements, exit strategies, business expansion and more.
My passion for gender inclusion started during my tenure in the real estate investment industry. It is difficult to find women in the industry, so I documented my experiences for four years and developed a thesis around my facts and findings. Since I developed The Confidence Factor for Women, my work has been featured at prestigious universities, Forbes, TEDx, Women in Government, Society for Human Resource Management, Society for Diversity, and many more.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
Start connecting and networking early. Do not wait until you graduate. Networking and following up are essential parts of your success after graduation, not just social media. Shaking hands is key.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- How has your Hofstra degree helped you in your career?
It has helped me with my public policy initiatives and explaining my professional views on parity and equilibrium in the workplace. It is easy to sit in a room with other leading women in politics and law, while discussing solutions to this global epidemic of discounting the professional contributions of women. I am thankful to Hofstra for helping me to develop critical thinking skills and the confidence to seek further support from experts and academics when necessary.
- What inspired you to found your company, The Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership?
Essentially, I found myself as the “only woman in the room” during my tenure in real estate. I connected with several women, who often expressed interest in becoming accredited investors, but lacked the confidence to take action. They would negate their ability to be successful and view my success as “impossible to achieve.” It is difficult to support women when they do not believe in themselves, so I had to find a way to meet them on their level.
Today, we work with Fortune 500 companies to identify and train their best talent pool of women, who have the experience to reach senior-level roles, but may lack the confidence to navigate through the on-boarding process. I have also published three best-selling books and provide leadership advice in major publications and news outlets. In addition, I work with businesswomen who have hit a plateau in their daily operations that is affecting their profit margin as well.
- Who is the person who most influenced you, and how?
Dr. Juanita Richardson. When I was a senior at Hofstra, I had an elective to fill and found her name in the Education Department. I made an appointment with her and asked if I could study public policy under her tutelage for a semester. That was the semester that changed my life and allowed me to see that I did not have a true passion for law, but rather a passion for policy change. She held me accountable and was monumental in helping me find my way after undergrad.
- What is the single most rewarding/exciting experience in your career thus far?
I have been a keynote speaker and presenter on some of the world's largest stages, including TEDx, San Jose State University, and SxSW, and have shared my work in front of thousands of leaders. I was the quiet one in class who sat on the side and rarely spoke up. I would have never imagined where my work would have taken me, including speaking at events with politicians and the vice president of the United States, being called by Oxford University in the UK and Biz Divas in India, and much more. It is amazing, and the best is yet to come. There are times when I cry in amazement about how far I have come and the people I connect with daily.
Carol Sankar is a high-level business consultant and the founder of The Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership, a global executive leadership firm focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives for high-level professional women. Carol holds a degree in political science from Hofstra University. She served as a senior paralegal and executive advisor for several leading general litigation firms and Fortune 100 corporations in New York City. Additionally, Carol is a New York state notary public, holds American Bar Association Intellectual Property Executive certification from Long Island University, and is an American Political Science Fellow. She took her experience out of the corporate world and began her entrepreneurial journey as an outsourced legal consultant with several boutique law firms and insurance agencies in the New York City area. Carol began to take interest in real estate and subsequently relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina; she became one of the leading real estate investors in the Charlotte metropolitan area. She founded Wholesaling 101™ to teach her techniques to other aspiring real estate investors. Carol has been a guest or speaker at TEDx, the Steve Harvey Show, Bounce TV, Inroads, The Society for Diversity, and SHRM, and has been featured in The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes and more. For more details, visit www.carolsankar.com.