You Have the Power: CEO of Me with Peg Weir
As more women are courageously sharing their stories, Jennasis Speaks continues our work of featuring women’s stories in alternate formats. We are honored to share the story of Peg Weir here.
As a child, Margaret (Peg) Weir didn’t get an allowance. Her parents, who owned a dairy farm in upstate New York, instead paid her a share of the farm’s weekly revenue.
That early “pay for performance” was Peg’s introduction to the world of business and the start of her lifelong dedication to empowering herself—and in turn empowering others.
She carried that experience, and others to follow, throughout a career that included leadership roles with national and global business womens’ organizations and that culminated with her role as an executive with the United States Postal Service.
In 2019, The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) awarded Peg the prestigious World of Difference Mandy Goetze Award for her many contributions toward advancing women’s economic empowerment around the world.
In short, Peg is in the business of empowering women professionals. Here’s her short list of what it takes for women to succeed:
Learn from example
Peg learned the value of pay for performance from her parents. And at one of her first jobs after college, she learned how to push for her fair share.
The job was making collection calls for a large retailer. Many of her colleagues were women who relied on their income to support their families. They took their work and their pay seriously. So it was no surprise to Peg that her coworkers took action when sudden compensation changes affected their paychecks: they picked up their coffee cups and other personal items and walked off the job. Management subsequently reverted to the previous compensation.
Peg believes there are three basic steps that women—and men—can take to drive their careers through self-empowerment. These steps are:
- Always seek opportunities
As she looks back on her career, Peg can point to every situation in which she was in the right place at the right time for the right job. At times that meant leaving a job where she didn’t feel valued or challenged, or declining an opportunity that just doesn’t feel like the right fit. And if that right job comes with a seat at the table, don’t sit back. Take that seat.
- Never stop learning
Sometimes conquering the learning curve requires additional training or another degree. Sometimes it requires using a skill in different ways. But it’s important to look at where you are and where you want to be and to take steps to get the training and education you need to continue up the curve.
- Take smart risks
The road to business success isn’t always a straight road from here to there. Sometimes you take a chance on a smart risk.
For Peg, one smart risk was changing jobs even though the change meant a cut in pay and rank because the new job opened new opportunities. Other smart risks include campaigning for a leadership role in a new partnership and leaving the corporate world for academia.
Throughout her career and in her volunteer work, Peg sought opportunities that she believed would pave the way for her consistent professional growth and empower other women’s professional growth.
For example, she sought leadership roles in organizations dedicated to empowering women in business. While still with the USPS, she joined Executive Women in Government and Women in Technology, rapidly moving to take on volunteer leadership roles. She discovered two benefits—finding professional peers to add to her network and finding ways to mentor younger women.
CEO of Me
Peg recently retired, but she’s not sitting still. As “CEO of Me,” she continues to pursue relationships, activities, and advocacies that bring her joy, such as participating in local business women’s organizations and being an informal mentor to young professionals.
Jennasis Speaks is a platform that empowers women to safely share their stories, promoting healing and growth through the power of collective vulnerability and acceptance. Believing that “Every woman has a story… and every story matters,” founder Jennifer Malcolm hosts a new guest each week to tell her story on the Jennasis Speaks podcast—and invites listeners to connect to help find their own paths to passion and purpose.