On November 9th the ICMA centre held a Women in Business session with the theme “The Changing Role of Women in Business.” The speakers came from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles, different levels of management, and very different companies. Managing Director Charlotte Weir from EMEA, Founder and Director of Hyden Talent Joanna Abeyie, HSBC Compliance and Financial Crime expert Bukola Adisa, and Enterprise Local Area Manager Jennifer Paul were the panel speakers who were asked a range of questions from the panel chair and also the audience.
The women were insightful and inspirational, talking about their passions inside and outside of the workplace, from starting their own companies to speaking on boards of ethics and diversity. When asked for their top tips to future businesswomen, they had this to say:
Ask questions. When asked about the interview process for a new job, they really highlighted the importance of asking questions. Learn who the company is, what their culture is like and who the people are, but also how the company will work for you. Mention what you do outside of work, whether that’s a hobby, a second job, or family commitments. Hiring managers want well-rounded people on their staff, but you can also find out what kind of company they are based on how they will fit you and your life and needs. Key takeaway? You should be interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.
Don’t be so grateful. It’s obviously important to be grateful for getting hired, but only to a certain point. It’s important that you realise that at the end of the day they need you, and your ideas, and your diversity, and your perspective. No one else is quite like you, and you should use that to your advantage. You need to realise the value that you bring to the company, and ask: “what can the company do for me?”
Be brave. If you are going to fail, fail forward. Don’t stand still and wait for change to come. It may be scary, because no one has attempted what you’ve done before, and maybe you won’t get the result you want. But, as is so often said, we learn more from our failures than from our successes. Every failure is a learning opportunity, so be brave and fail hard.
- Rethink the term “leader”. Every woman on the panel was a leader in her own right, whether she was a co-worker, manager, or director. That’s because each woman saw leaders not as someone who necessarily leads the team and gives the orders (a supervisor of sorts) but as someone who nurtures the ideas and strengths of others so that they can be the best version of themselves. Basically, leaders don’t need followers, because they are busy building others up to become leaders in their own right.
Overall, they encouraged the audience to speak up, embrace their individuality, find drive and passion, and keep working hard for their dream and goals.