Taking risks can pay off, strategist says


Kennedy DeRaedt/Iowa State Daily

President of Ovation Global Strategies, Daniella Levitt came to Iowa State on March 22 to talk about how risk-taking is necessary for success in a woman’s career. “When you look at who gets the tough jobs, it’s the risk takers,” said Levitt. Her book, “Ready, Set… RISK! – Positive Strategies and Tactics for Women to Turn Career Risk into Opportunity,” was published in May 2015.

Alison Boysen

A successful strategist helped women at Iowa State embrace taking risks to further their present and future careers and endeavors through self-evaluation.

Daniella T. Levitt is the president and founder of Ovation Global Strategies but is moving forward to continue her work in empowering women in professional and personal settings. Levitt’s seminar was based on her book, “Ready, Set… RISK!,” which includes “positive strategies and tactics for women to turn career risk into opportunity.”

“[Women] have to learn the language of risk,” Levitt said.

Levitt started with addressing the crowd with questions about risk and how women in the past have turned risk into opportunity. The examples she used were Rosa Parks and Margaret Rudkin, founder of Pepperidge Farms.

Explaining her life as a risk-taker, Levitt began with her childhood in South Africa and said that running was her first taste of risk.

One of her biggest risks was when she was working for Deloitte, a major consulting and accounting firm. Levitt was on track to be a partner in the firm but wondered if she should leave and live in the United States and work there. She met resistance from the men in the company who told her that she didn’t have enough experience and was too young.

Levitt resigned from Deloitte and moved to the United States six weeks later to start her new job.

For the women attending the seminar, Levitt asked them to complete her “Risk-Taking Continuums,” which were six spectrums. It prompted the women to ask themselves whether they: blended or stood out in the crowd, moved away or toward something, do well or realize full potential, focus on skill gaps or play their strengths, maintain or change state, and be what others want them to be or stay true to themselves.

“The continuum graph was a really great way to look at yourself,” research analyst Jacqueline Campbell said.

Levitt also made sure the participants knew what their own definition of success was, and not to focus on someone else’s.

Attendees left with their handouts and Levitt’s book, which goes more in depth on the topics she spoke about in her seminar.