International Women’s Day 2019 - Empowering Women in the Workplace
It was a pleasure to work in partnership with Robert Walters and attend their Empowering Women in the Workplace event in celebration of International Women’s Day.
Hosted at the stunning Radisson Blu Hotel in the heart of the city centre there was an expert panel of five professionals from various backgrounds, who shared their thoughts and experiences on 3 key topics:
• Imposter Syndrome
• How disaster can lead to your greatest opportunity…
• How can we give more women the confidence to return to the workplace?
The panel was hosted by the inspirational Julie Goddard, MSc, FCMI, an authority on Authentic Leadership and ‘The Science of Motivation’ and ‘Imposter Syndrome’ and included:
Pam Rowland, COO Paragon Banking Group
Helen Lumb, CFO, Shire Leasing
Roger Dix, CRO, Wesleyan
Chiz Onuora, COO, Finance HSBC
Mary Kaye, Partner, Shakespeare Martineau LLP
- Dial down the self-doubt in your mind – remember, it is different in the real world. Think about successful experience and fight that imposter syndrome devil!
- Focus on aspects other than yourself e.g. if you complete something or play a part in something, what are the benefits to others? Can they learn from something you have to share?
- Focus on your skills and remember you don’t have to be an expert at everything!
- Retain a sense of perspective but thinking outside of where you are; go to the gym, listen to some music, do something that helps you get into the right ‘mood’ and don’t neglect your well being
- Talk to yourself, get into character! Speak to your inner-self and give yourself positive affirmations
- Don’t pressure yourself to be perfect. Believe it or not nobody is perfect. Read this blog by Julie Goddard: The almost murder of Mary Poppins.
- Add a magical, confidence boosting power word to the end of your sentences…. Want to know the magic word? It’s YET…. so instead of saying ‘I don’t know that’ try ‘I don’t know that YET’, see, magic…
How disaster can lead to your greatest opportunity…
- Take steps to upskill yourself. Take time to educate and prep yourself. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail…
- You have a power base. KNOW WHO THEY ARE. Your power base is people who are subject matter experts, mentors, sponsors, coaches. Make a list of these key people who can help you on your journey. These people can add valuable input into prep for meetings, interviews, presentations etc so when they give you constructive feedback be prepared to flex and take that into account
- Talking of mentors, coaches and sponsors; organise yours. If you enter one of these relationships it needs to work for you so if it doesn’t work for you then have the confidence to be honest about it.
- Don’t assume the person at the top of your management structure isn’t going to be sympathetic.
- Think about what was happening around you when you made the mistake then control the influences and distractions and prevent repeating it.
- Mistakes happen and it’s ok – it’s how we learn. If you make a mistake, manage it, handle it with integrity and prevent it from happening again.
- Grab opportunities and back yourself always! Take some risks, what’s the worst that can happen? Do not set limitations on your self-belief!
- There are no such things as failures, you either succeed or you learn
- Mary Kaye, Partner, Shakespeare Martineau LLP shared with us that someone gifted her a plaque with the prayer ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference’ which has stayed on her desk throughout her long career and whenever she needs that ‘breather’ she reads the plaque and it helps her clear her mind. How beautiful!
- You only regret the things you don’t do. What’s the bet the Blockbuster regret not buying Netflix and Kodak regret not developing the world’s first digital camera?
How can we give more women the confidence to return to the workplace?
- It can be daunting to return to work after a period of absence (maternity or sickness) and keep in touch days are a great tool to communicate changes in the workplace and keep colleagues engaged in office activity while they are off
- Keep colleagues in the loop with newsletters
- Flexible working patterns can be explored e.g. change of hours, incorporating a non-working day or even working from home. Remember the patterns need to work for both the individual and the business.
- Phased returns are great for a steady, structured return back to work
- The key with any of the return to work topic is clear and open communication between the company and the individual.
Networking at the Robert Walters Empowering Women in the Workplace event following the panel discussion which was a wonderful way to round up a successful and eye opening evening.
Words by Nix Bhachu