CVS' CEO on taking up space

Karen Lynch, president and CEO of CVS Health, says she once considered herself "the plainest person you could ever meet." 

In a March 14 LinkedIn post, Ms. Lynch described her upbringing in a Massachusetts mill town and said that if you asked her what her career goal was in high school or college, she likely wouldn't have aimed very high. 

"At that time, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a specific kind of individual considered to be leadership material, and as a result, able to access broad professional opportunities," Ms. Lynch wrote. "Those individuals didn’t look like me or have my background."

Despite working hard throughout college and landing professional roles for years thereafter, she was told she didn't fit the profile for a senior executive role at a large company. She recalls one incident, early in her career, when she was invited to a meeting of senior managers in her division. When she asked one where to sit, he said, "Sit in the back, not at the table, because women just take up space."

Now, at the helm of a $357.8 billion company, Ms. Lynch has been named one of the most influential CEOs in the world. She has also been selected as Fortune's most powerful woman in business, three years in a row. 

She explores her journey in a new memoir to be published soon called "Taking Up Space: Get Heard, Deliver Results, and Make a Difference." Read her full LinkedIn post here

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