March is Women’s History Month. There’s no better time to honor and celebrate the women who have pushed past expectations and boundaries to do more for our country, paving the way and inspiring women to continue accomplishing bigger and better things.
We have one such woman right here at Taylor Morrison—our very own Chairman and CEO, Sheryl Palmer. Sheryl is an example that no matter what your dream is, with hard work, determination, and a little thinking outside the box, you can achieve more than imaginable. She leads a large national company that helps others achieve one of the greatest dreams of all: the American dream.
The Best Route to Success? Building Relationships and the Willingness to Learn
Sheryl’s childhood dream wasn’t to become a powerhouse CEO, breaking the glass ceiling at one of the top homebuilding companies in the nation. But with her drive and passion, she’s carved out an incredible career and she’s not looking back.
Starting in her teenage years, Sheryl began a job at McDonalds, working her way up through the ranks to eventually become a marketing manager in San Diego at just 20 years old. The skills she learned during this foundational time in her career were invaluable and set the tone for how she would handle leadership and define success.3
Today, she’s the lone female CEO in the top 20 homebuilders in the country.Typically male-dominated, the number of women in these roles is climbing—and the key to success, according to Palmer? Being willing to learn and cultivating relationships.1
A New Approach to Leadership from a Woman’s Unique Perspective
Building on her curiosity to learn, Sheryl’s fascination with the interconnected parts of the business early on led her to approach things differently. She began by getting to know the men who actually constructed the houses, which then led to a wealth of learning about construction and floor plans. This was a vital bit of knowledge that set her apart from other leaders and helped her develop trusting relationships at all levels of the business.
When she went to her first CEO round table, there hadn’t been a woman’s voice before. But that didn’t stop Sheryl from forging on, even though her thought process and problem-solving approach was different from the rest of the table.
Diversity of thought is about being OK to express yourself and feeling comfortable [to communicate that]. I ran from this for a long time. Now, I face with true appreciation the fact that maybe I lead differently because I’m a female. It’s not weaker, and emotion and humility are traits that could help anybody in business. It brings a softer touch, and that doesn’t mean it’s not with business savvy and the ability to get things done or with intellectual curiosity. It’s a human touch. 2Sheryl Palmer, Taylor Morrison Chairman and CEO
This nurturing element is the very reason the Taylor Morrison Difference is so impactful—because it’s exactly what people crave in every relationship, but especially those centered around big life decisions like buying a home.
With a focus on building relationships and a woman like Sheryl Palmer at the helm, it’s also no wonder that Taylor Morrison has been voted the Most Trusted® Home Builder in America 4 years in a row.
Overcoming Challenges as a Top CEO
As Sheryl learned throughout her years in business and leadership, no dream comes without challenges that must be overcome. Success or failure is all in how you handle these obstacles when they arise.
One of her biggest challenges during her ongoing 12-year tenure as Taylor Morrison CEO was the financial crisis in 2008, just a short year after she was appointed to the CEO position. However, through her brave and thoughtful leadership, Taylor Morrison has flourished. Not only did the company become publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, just five years after their IPO, Taylor Morrison is fully floated and is high on the list of the largest homebuilders in the Builder 100 list—lucky number 7 to be exact.2
3 Attributes You Need to Be A Great Leader
When it comes to her leadership style, Sheryl is all about building relationships and putting people first, no matter the task at hand. From that basis, there are three attributes featured in her leadership style that are most important:
- Communicating with people in a way they like
- Respecting others’ knowledge and having the humility to know what you don’t know and listen to others who do
- Having the courage to try new things while still being accessible, approachable, and authentic
But the most important thing to remember?
This role is what I do, but it’s not who I am, and I stay grounded with that. 2
Best Advice For Women in Business
Following that, Sheryl’s top advice for being a woman in a prominent role is to maintain sight of who you are. Many women fall into the trap of feeling like they need to put on a façade and be someone else when they’re at work in order to succeed—but Sheryl coaches women to uncompromisingly be themselves no matter the situation.
When you have to be someone different and you can’t be your best you, I think so much is compromised, certainly your self-respect, and if you lose that, your ability to lead is compromised. My counsel is to own it and own it proud. Our differences are good. Don’t compete by being someone you’re not. Compete by being every bit of who you are.1
Golden words of wisdom from Sheryl that we agree with whole-heartedly.
Paving the Way for Tomorrow’s Leaders
Women’s History Month is as much about celebrating past women who’ve made great strides for America’s women as it is about preparing the next generation to carry the baton forward. Sheryl urges young women not to cave to the pressure of defining success in your early twenties but to instead keep an open mind about what gives you passion and energy—and be agile and flexible enough to go after it.3
No matter where you are in your career, create relationships, seek to understand, seek knowledge, expose yourself to as much as you can, stay open and then go for it. There’s no replacement for hard work.1
After all, no matter if your dream is to be a president, philanthropist, or CEO—you only get one shot at it, so you may as well make it a good one.
Additional Helpful Information
- From the Corner Office of Sheryl Palmer, Taylor Morrison President and CEO
- Proud to Continue A Winning Tradition
- Start living your trademark life today with a new Taylor Morrison home.