Women in Business panel share advice on obtaining success


Adenike Makinde has found her true calling.

After graduating college, Makinde enrolled in an executive management program.

“It was 20-plus years in leadership development, HR, training, project management across tech, nonprofits, all kinds of industries,” Makinde said. “All that led me to understand I really wanted to find more purpose and joy in the work that I did and really identify my strengths.”

In April 2019, the Westfield resident started JoyFully Coach & Career Strategy.

“It’s been a joy to help people figure out their purpose and their strengths and really move into meaningful work,” Makinde said.

Makinde was part of a Women in Business panel Aug. 19 in a combined Chamber of Commerce luncheon of Westfield and Zionsville at Finley Creek Vineyards in Zionsville.

Panelist Jackeline Diaz-Ayala, a Westfield resident who works at Abbott Labs, said she was always interested in science and math.

“Growing up, I had very good teachers that mentored and advised me in middle school and high school,” she said. “My leadership ability comes from my dad. My dad is a natural leader. I learned from him how to respect people, which is very important when you are in a leadership career, and I learned how to work and get along with people.”

Diaz-Ayala graduated from college with a chemical engineering degree.

“I like problem-solving and I like figuring out issues in a creative way,” Diaz-Ayala said.

Panelist Dawn Bunting, a Geist resident who is on the Westfield Chamber of Commerce board, earned her master’s degree in higher education and student affairs, but her career took a turn because of her husband’s military career.

“When we got to our first duty station, I was gifted some amazing advice,” said Bunting, a director of human resources at SEP. “Find a job you can be good at Day 1 because you are going to be moving so much. That couldn’t be higher education and student affairs because it takes you too long to get ramped up. I landed in a training and development and human resources job.”

Bunting said she had success early and continued to develop.

Makinde knew she liked working with people and wanted to find a career where she could do that.

“I was a heavy reader,” she said. “I read a lot of biographies and would see things about what people can and can’t do.”

Makinde said it’s important for women to overcome the “imposter syndrome” of self-doubt.

“As women, we tend to be planners, we tend to want things perfect, we tend to be a little bit scared of risk,” Makinde said.

Makinde said she had powerful women role models in her family, so she has never suffered from imposter syndrome.

“My advice is, if you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, it is probably because you are trying to be a little too perfect,” Makinde said. “You are probably scared of failure. You are probably not taking enough risks. You are thinking about it too hard. What is the worst that can happen? Just jump in and you’ll surprise yourself.”

Diaz-Ayala acknowledged she has suffered from imposter syndrome on occasion.

“One thing I always tell to myself is, it’s OK to fail, it’s OK to make mistakes,” she said.

There are opportunities to learn and get better from those mistakes, Diaz-Ayala said.


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