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6 Business Leaders Talk How To Excel In Business For International Women’s Day

International Women's Day (March 8) is a global event that celebrates achievements of women and raises a call to action for gender parity.

Many in Australia today don’t feel as greater impact of gender inequality as women of our previous generations - we have women astronauts, we can vote and school girls are welcomed into university.

And yet, women only hold…

  • 14.2% of chairpositions
  • 23.6% of directorships
  • represent 15.4% of CEO's (Australia Gender workplace statistics at a glance Australia 2016)

And the World Economic Forum is predicting that the gender gap won't close entirely until 2186.

I believe career success as a woman should not be solely focused on adjusting the pre-existing male-dominated status quo or by amending workplace culture, but rather by embracing what makes us unique, our strengths, whereby empowering women in the workplace to reach their full potential.

Here’s a few things you can do to help close the gender parity gap and help you advance in your industry (and no, this is not limited to women):

1. Build a strong social capital

Your social capital is the value or resources available to you in your personal and business network.  Essentially, it’s the value behind your social contacts.

By building a strong social capital you can connect with influential contacts within your industry, increase visibility to advance your career and you can open-up doors for new opportunity and business.

But it’s not just about networking over a glass of champagne and clocking up Facebook friends.   Be proactive with your social contacts, stay in touch with them regularly, offer advice and expert leadership and reciprocally, you can begin to count on your contacts when you need support.

“Your network is a chance to get access to a diverse skill set, information and power.  Forge a strong connection with leaders in your industry but also the new comers, so you can share knowledge, spark your imagination and have a reciprocal relationship that you can both leverage personally and from a business perspective for many years to come.” - Melanie Munro, Associate Director.


2. Make the time to develop your skills

Work hard and develop your skills.  By being smarter in your trade, better at what you do and more productive, you will get noticed.

Arm yourself with the right skills that align with your career objectives, so you can be as prepared as possible for the highs and lows of your career.  Developing skills will empower you, giving you the resilience to be able to face the highs and lows and to keep persevering.

“Ongoing development and training is a great way to increase your confidence.  And then you have to jump in take some risks, have the vision to succeed and believe in yourself.  And remember, Happiness leads to success.” -  Angela Stringer, Associate Director.

3. Know your Value

Take the time to understand your worth in your industry and the positive impact your role has in the organization. What exactly do you bring to the table?

By working to your strengths and recognising your value and what you bring to the business, you’ll get more confidence so you can go that extra mile, outperforming all expectations.  Most importantly you will expand your value.

“Too many women underestimate their own worth and what they offer a business.  Stop guessing what you offer a business and quantify it.  Put facts and figures around what you bring - What sales do you bring in? What business relationships? What tangible numbers can you put around your role and what you do?  That will help you see your worth in the business giving you more confidence to hold your head high and keep striving towards career progression.” - Anna Caelli, Practice Leader - Business Support.


4. Make your own opportunities

Don’t wait for someone in your organisation to ask you want you want in your career.  Drive your own agenda by setting and reviewing your goals regularly and then go and get them!

The only way to achieve your goals and not get side wiped buy the million tasks you have on your desk and the millions of requests, phone calls and knocks on the door, is to always keep your vision and end goal in mind.  If the task given to you isn’t going to get you closer to your goal, delegate or outsource where possible.

Don’t allow yourself to be taken off task. Keep your eye on the goal.

And don’t expect to get handouts along the way. Garner your own status through hard work, dedication and your proven achievements.

“How do I celebrate IWD?  I'll be working harder to show utmost respect for the women who fought for equality in the workplace, and to show gratitude for the position I am in, but mostly to continue to climb the career ladder until I am the best in my industry and can lead others to success."   - Nicole Dickmann, Creative Director.

5. Find a strong Mentor

Find a contact to be your mentor, someone who you believe in, a leader in their field, who can help inspire you, counsel you and bounce ideas off when you need it.  A mentor can help walk with you on your sometimes lonely and courageous path to the top.

"As the Mentor Lead for She Says (a global network for women in advertising" I have seen some great success stories from women who set and achieve their goals with their mentors. Having someone to help you assess your current career, set achievable milestones and bounce ideas about the future is invaluable" – Naomi Easson, Senior Consultant | Digital & UX


6. Be the change

Most research states that one of our greatest flaw’s haltering women’s success in business, is lost confidence.

Your network, financial acumen, skill level, defining your own success and having a mentor can all increase your confidence, continually giving you the strength to aim higher and to persevere with your career goals.

Whilst the statistics can be unsettling, focus on the immediate things you can change, rather than blaming or hiding behind the statistics or the workplace culture and don’t let them get in your way of climbing to the top.

“Women are increasingly securing the head finance position in large, often traditionally male dominated industries. This year, Fortescue Metals have announced the appointment of Elizabeth Gaines as their new CFO and as of this month, Susan Panuccio has transitioned from News Corp’s Australian CFO to the US-based position of Group CFO. As recent as October 2016, L’Oreal announced a majority female Executive Committee (seven females to four males), including again, a female CFO. We still have a way to go, with women holding just 10% of CFO positions in the ASX300 firms, however don’t be discouraged as these inspirational women are certainly paving the way for future generations.”  Peta Scott – Practice Leader, Finance Support.


7.  Pay it forward

As you no doubt begin to climb to the top of the career ladder, you will get busier and have more on your plate.  But along the way you are destined to have a knock on your door one day by an eager younger you, who sees you as their inspiration and asks for guidance.

Rather than shooing them away and getting back to your work, or worse being threatened by their eagerness to succeed, open your door and make time for the woman standing there who could very well be the next CEO or Prime Minister or who may make a positive impact on this world.

Remember, you stood there once too.



So how are you choosing to spend your international women's day?  And what message would you give you a younger you as a woman in business?


Nicole Dickmann is a Creative Director with a passion for creating brands and marketing campaigns to sell a vision. She thrives on helping people chase a better version of themselves - be it their health, wellbeing or their career through storytelling, brand development and content creation.

Follow Nicole on LinkedIn

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