In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2016, Robert Walters Consulting hosted a breakfast seminar where women from a range of organisations could embrace and have the opportunity to listen and engage with four incredible, inspirational guest speakers - who really pinned down the meaning behind this year’s theme, ‘Pledge for Parity.’
Tracey Burgess, Head of PMO Core Transformation Customer Service Hub at Westpac, Kristeen Adam-Smith, Head of Digital and Marketing Technology at BT Financial Group, Noelene Dawes, Sydney based author, speaker and executive coach and Leah Callon-Butler from Dress for Success – all took us through their heart-felt, personal journey, which lead them to the fascinating position they’re in today. The entire event really encouraged the whole audience to take action and to challenge the ‘conscious as well as the unconscious.’
Here are the top four things we took away from our IWD guest speakers, to adopt in our personal and professional lives to accelerate gender parity and to achieve the ‘unachievable.’
1. Know yourself
Know yourself, know what you want and know how people perceive you. As Kristeen Adam-Smith touched upon during her story, knowing yourself is one of the first steps you can take to ensure you’re moving forward rather than stalling or going backwards. Make sure you don’t solely focus on personal improvements which will make you a ‘better fit’ for the role. Figure out what you’re good at and channel them into something that will not only benefit yourself, but will benefit others around you, as well as it being something you’re passionate about.
Even if your strengths are not seen as the more traditional qualities of what makes a good leader – every leader has a unique set of skills and strengths which can bring a lot to the table. However, it’s important to stay humble when working your way to the top, learn to accept criticisms and to take feedback with humility.
Always be mindful of how your actions might be perceived and use empathy to create the best outcomes of any given situations. Dealing and managing with things negatively can hinder you moving forward and remember, try not to be overly sensitive - it’s not always something personal.
2. Be a network of support
Everyday, Dress for Success witnesses all walks of life reaching out to their business for support, to gain the tools and confidence to achieve economic independence. As Leah Callon-Butler describes, not all their clients are from disadvantage, poor socio-economic backgrounds. Some of which, on the surface appear to come from ideal, perfectly normal situations.
However, no matter how one’s life is perceived, we never know what they could be dealing or suffering with. This is why it’s so important to not pass judgement and to provide a network of support for the women around us, to build and grow self-assurance and help achieve one’s ambitions.
3. Don’t fear
As Tracey Burgess noted, female candidates tend to underestimate and can often sell themselves short. They don’t always feel comfortable putting themselves forward for things they have had little or no experience with, unlike males who quite often take the opposite approach. Males contain a more aspiring attitude, if they think they have a fraction of the number of requirements, they will wing the majority and learn the rest on the job. Tracey’s advice would be, “not to fear,” we all have the capability and the inner-strength to learn and keep improving our skills. Likelihood is that the majority of us already posses the skills we see listed on job descriptions, or the abilities they ask us during interviews, we just don’t realise we encompass them.
4. Emotional intelligence
A key inspirational statement made by Noelene Dawes, “You need your own strong, internal compass in order to make the decisions to transition through those navigational points of change.”“You need your own strong, internal compass in order to make the decisions to transition through those navigational points of change.” Sometimes life can chuck you all sorts of challenges, whether this is in your work or personal life, so it’s important to tap into that emotional intelligence, to achieve success at your own pace as well as always being your true self. By giving all you’ve got and living up to the high standards which you believe grants you the well deserved success, may in actual fact turn out to be the success you don't really want and result in you feeling surprisingly unsatisfied.
Knowing and understanding your inner-self will help you achieve greater things, even if it is going sideways off the path and moving towards an unknown direction, don’t be frightened to make the transition.
For further information obout our International Women's Day event, please contact one of the Director's from Roberts Walters Consulting.