Women can't afford to be shy; they have to promote their own accomplishments, said Sharon L. Allen, the former chairwoman of Deloitte, at the Women on Wall Street conference. Other lessons from the conference include the idea that it's fine for professional acquaintances to become friends and that success is not linear. Rather than refer to the career ladder, women should think in terms of a "career lattice" that reflects the more complicated nature of career advancement, Allen said.

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