Do women really support other women? And how you can be part of the empowerment.

Do women really support other women? And how you can be part of the empowerment.

‘You joining this call?’ Bellows the rude female colleague of mine. I respond with a ‘yep, sure – apologies’ – I get a death stare and she storms off. She is not of the same mindset of mine: Women empower women.

Her rudeness makes me feel uneasy, self conscious and actually a little bit frighten. The blunt, direct yet bullish approach really isn’t the management style I aspire to. In fact, it alienates colleagues and makes a cold atmosphere in the heated office.

There is also another woman in my office who, is just obnoxious – hear me out. She stomps across the office to her desk, she never holds the lift for you and not only did she once let the door slam in my face, she actually physically pushed me to get through the said door. Everytime she breezes by desk, she looks at me as if I am something on the bottom of her shoe. The scary thing is, we don’t even know each other… I don’t even know her name!

I have armed full of more examples dating back to school years of women/girls (and the opposite sex) being unpleasant… which sparked a thought for this blog post.

When I first started to pull this article together, I was simply going to write about how some women should stop being so damn mean. But once I started to dig a little deeper into the topic, I started to question and explore around the support, empowerment and encouragement we have within our world of work, family and friends.

With the rise of female networking groups such as Allbright, The Step Up Club and The Coven. Insta pages like Boss Babe (and of course mine) with social media hashtags #womenempoweringwomen #womenempowerwomen #womenwholead – should I be surprised that some women still don’t support other women and really couldn’t care?

Since writing posts for my blog and hosting networking events, I have always been solely focused on empowering and supporting women as well as learning and progressing. Leading a feminist platform that opens doors, gives advice and provides a sense of belonging.

It’s funny, I used to hesitate on the term feminist, because there are so many varying understandings of what the term means. Thus, perhaps a Modern Feminist is more appropriate for me. I don’t hate men and I will not be burning my bra outside parliament. I believe in striving for equal rights and opportunities of all people. For me, feminism goes beyond gender and is more about diversity, humanity and accountability.

I have had and still have female friends, and yet for much of my adult life I would find myself saying “I get along better with men than women” and recently a close girlfriend and I announced, almost in sync : “there’s only certain types of women I get along with”.

Interestingly, we used women as our friendship term, if you will. Upon reflection and to correct what I said – There are certain types of people I get along with better than others.


I don’t agree with how the media portrays women.

For example, Theresa May. When she gave her resignation speech the media captured pictures of her at the worst points and used emotional, weakening words in their articles. In fact throughout her time as the UK Prime Minister, I don’t remember anything positive that anyone wrote about her – I only remember her shoes and that she ran through a corn field.

Another example is reality TV shows. It bugs me how the BBC have started to portray women on The Apprentice. So much so, I refuse to watch the programme. I get that it is a competition, blah, blah, blah, but the screeching, bullying and poor management manners isn’t how I see myself as a business woman.

So what we see on our televisions are conditioning our brains to have a perception of women (and men).

I once had a manager tell me, that he doesn’t think women make good leaders. When I pointed out that I am a woman, who manages a team under his leadership, he said he wasn’t referring to me. Yes, I too gave that confused look.

Throughout my career, like the stories I opened with, I have had challenges with colleagues behaviour yet I have had times of great success, encouragement and career enhancement wins with the support from both male and female colleagues.

To me, it is clear that an unsupported work culture towards diversity is damaging. Not only towards the individuals but to the company and brand itself.

Women are not often encouraged to be supportive of each other, at least not in a consistent way. From beauty pageants (which are not commonly in the UK), to the reality TV shows like Love Island and The Bachelor (women fighting over a man). And, of course social media where we now have to look, talk, dress all a certain way. And ever heard someone say “oh she just looks like every other girl on instagram…” (Cringe).

When it comes to female friendships, the bonds that were created come from different elements. I have learned which friends I can talk to about work, business, blogging. And those who I can talk to about babies, boyfriends, husbands and makeup etc. I have also changed my expectations from what I get from them as individuals. Why should I expect one of my girlfriends who has just had a beautiful baby girl to listen to me ramble on about work, coaching, blogging and career aspirations. Although I see she is pleased for me, it is about having that mutual respect for each others opinions and stages of life. On the other side, I will say, that whatever stage of life you are in. The support for your female friends is key – whether that is promoting an article they featured in or celebrating that they got a new lipstick!

Empower the women in your life!

Start with you, Give yourself a break: Before you can start supporting others, spend time getting yourself mentally strong and grounded. Know your values and arm yourself ready to spread the infectish empowerment.

Let the Women in your life know you value them: This can be a simple act of complimenting them, listening without trying to solve their problems, and most importantly telling them you value who they are and why.

Remember the golden rule? Well here is a remix: Treat other women how you wish to be treated. Basically be nice. You don’t know what is going on with that other person – smile at someone on the tube, ask the cashier how their day is going, hold the door open for someone, tell a stranger you love their hair and give your seat up for the lady who looks like she had a rough day.

I was recently at GOSH with my friend and her son (he’s fine), where passing by, the female of Brain Specialist (ok, she had a much fancier title then that sorry) that my friend spoke to for an update… As she walked off, I hooted “Go you, with your great career and thank you for everything you do for these children.” She probably thought I was a bit odd… But hopefully she walked away feeling good and recognised.

Support that girlfriend who is starting a business or going for an interview or even a date. Offer advice, time and experience. Share their post on your own social media and check in with them especially if you know they are having a rotter of a day!

Being a woman who is supporting other women is something to strive towards. Being a feminist, however you see it, you own it! Empower women in your life.

Although, I see we have come along way, there is is still a journey ahead of us. It is unrealistic to expect all women to support other women, but how I and you chose to be – well that is up to us! #womensupportingwomen

IMAGES: All Images, other than my own, that are used in this blog post are from barker, a data driven creative company. To find out more, either click the image or visit the company page: https://landings.barkernyc.com/womensmarch/

Contingency planning: A pandemic across the world where companies are now invoking a Work From Home policy

Contingency planning: A pandemic across the world where companies are now invoking a Work From Home policy

As the number of cases rise for the Covid-19/Coronavirus pandemic, companies are being forced to invoke a Work From Home (WFH) policy. Which for some, has not been part of the job agreement. There are questions around capacity of infrastructure systems, costs of supplying laptops and ensuring staff have the right software installed. There are also concerns around employees home set up, their wellbeing and of course trust that your teammate is online, doing the work and of course contactable.

The question really is, what can you do to set yourself and your company up for success whilst doors are closed on the office block during this time of the unknown?

As part of my passion for Culture Creating: I have produced a list of helpful ways you can support your organisation as well as yourself at any level – whether you are an admin, a manager or a CEO you play an integral part to the success of the new ways of working (from home).

WORKING FROM HOME TIPS

(Please take some, if not all of the suggestion points to your leaders or even to friends or community to be part of the success revolution of WFH.)

  • Set up regular morning and if applicable afternoon check-in calls where teams can discuss workload, any concerns and us this as an opportunity to have contact with the outside world.
  • Set up WhatsApp groups, MS Teams team and ensure your line manager has your personal number.
  • Stress test infrastructure capacity and look to temporarily invest in expanding the band width.
  • Look at options of renting laptops, your IT department will have partner contacts like Computacenter or Softcat who could potentially offer packages. (Just ensure you clean them first).
  • For those who have access to machines at home, look to expand your Citrix platform and offer RSA (Remote Acess) Tokens.
Image result for contingency planning pink
Image is from: HERE
  • Create a Team A and Team B and rotate between weeks. This prevents cross contamination as well as reducing the risk of your staff coming into contact with the virus. Make sure you share this plan with all team members, especially senior management!
  • If there is a team member you are concerned about whether it is their mental health or their home situation (suspecting domestic violence), if you are comfortable enough to do so, reach out the them to check in alternatively speak to their line manager and/or HR who can ensure the right action is put in place.
  • Share your WFH and company changes with your suppliers. Let them know how best to contact you. Can they be added to a WhatsApp group? Or in new Teams group?
  • Do you have a Yammer Page? Can you do something on their to promote and share a sense of a positive community?
Lucy, Laptop, Phone, Coffee.
  • Always get up early, don’t be tempted to snooze until 8:55 then log in 9am on the dot. The truth is, in a few months time you need to get back into your routine again so don’t make it harder.
  • Always get dressed!
  • Set up a clear space for yourself to work, have regular screen breaks like you would in the office (like getting a coffee or having lunch) and make sure you have some natural light.
  • Use this as a opportunity to get fit, time will no longer be an excuse – go for that morning run and start to think about how you can add this to your WFH and normal working routine.
  • Drink plenty of water!

It would be great to hear from you. What are you doing as part of a WFH routine? How are you setting up for success? Do you have any suggestions or stories to share? Comment below!

Remember: keep proactive, power your potential and wash your hands for 20 seconds.

It’s a BRAND new world, of personal branding…

It’s a BRAND new world, of personal branding…

But who are you? It is time that you take a lesson from the brands in the public domain, to learn and understand – what it takes to stand out and prosper!

What’s does personal branding mean?

In short, it’s your reputation. Each interaction you have with others has the
opportunity to create a memorable experience, teaching them what they can expect
from you. When you’re consistent in delivering those experiences, you build a strong
reputation. Delivering your brand clearly and consistently across a wide audience
helps open doors to opportunities. Your brand becomes your personal calling card—a
unique promise of value; a distinct and authentic representation of you. In building
your personal brand, you will define your individuality, maximise your strengths and
manage your choices now to create future opportunities.”

Remember: Regardless of age, position, business and title we are all CEO’s of our own companies: Me Inc.

Questions to get you started

  • What are my values?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my interests?
  • Why should someone hire me?
  • What are the areas I need to approve on?
  • What object could I use to give a visual to my meaning?
  • What other brands do I like? Why?
  • What brands do I hate? Why?
  • If someone looked at your LinkedIn page, what would they know about you?
  • Does how you dress mirror who you are?

Tools and resources you can use

(Some bullet points are links, so hover over so don’t miss out)

Elevator pitch

The elevator pitch is a brief but persuasive sales speech that you use to spark interest in who you are and what you stand for. In practice, a good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator floor hop which is around 20 to 30 seconds… hence the name.

Using the work you have done with answering the questions set out above, form a few sentences that you can use for an elevator pitch.

Remember:

Image result for elevator pitch female examples
Image is from The Balance Careers

Some examples are:

Melitta Campbell, Business Coach for Female Entrepreneurs, Melitta Campbell.com

I am a business coach for new female entrepreneurs. I offer structured and affordable programs to help them put doubt and anxiety aside, build their entrepreneurial skills and confidence, and create a business they love that delivers the results they desire.

Teri O’Neal, Director of Public Relations, A. Bright Idea

Very few careers offer the opportunity to support chemical weapons demilitarization one minute and vineyard marketing the next. At A. Bright Idea, we do that and more. We offer strategic communications services for industries of all types. What started as one person’s vision, transformed into a full-service, coast-to-coast creative playground. With experts in PR, advertising, graphic design and interactive, A. Bright Idea helps organizations achieve goals.

Bridgett McGowen, Awarded International Professional Speaker, BMcTALKS Academy

My name is Bridgett McGowen, and I am a professional speaker at BMcTALKS. I help professional women who want to speak with power and executive presence but who do not want to waste time reading books and watching videos that cannot give them real and honest feedback on their presentation skills.

You can read more on Fit Small Business.

Comment below your thoughts, ideas and how you transformed your personal branding!

There is more to come on personal branding. To find out more, get in touch with me today!

International Women’s Day 2020, a call and campaign for equality

International Women’s Day 2020, a call and campaign for equality

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.

The IWD 2020 campaign theme is drawn from a notion of ‘Collective Individualism.’ We are all parts of a whole. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Collectively, we can make change happen. Collectively, we can each help to create a gender equal world. ”

The subject of equality isn’t something that was invented last week, there is a long line of history of women like the founder of the National Women’s Party, Alice Paul who first introduced the Equal Rights Amendment to Congress in 1923 and let’s look back to 1800’s where The London Society of Women’s Suffrage formed a campaign in 1867 – all fighting for a fair gender balance and women’s rights!

So you see, equality has been on the radar for quite a while now, so don’t you find it kind of disappointing that we still need to have a theme of equality now in 2020?


I read on an Accenture report: “We are at an inflection point. When it comes to workplace culture, there is a large gap between what leaders think is going on and what employees say is happening on the ground. Two thirds of leaders (68 percent) feel they create empowering environments—in which employees can be themselves, raise concerns and innovate without fear of failure—but just one third (36 percent) of employees agree.

In addition, employees care increasingly about workplace culture and believe it’s important to help them thrive in the workplace (reported by 77 percent of women and 67 percent of men). Their voices are rising, loud and clear, while a growing number of companies recognize the importance of equality.

Yet despite growing awareness, progress just isn’t fast enough. Why aren’t companies more diverse and inclusive, when the business case in favor of a culture of equality strengthens each year? And why is the share of women in leadership positions still so low?”

We can take the Gender Pay Gap as concrete evidence of the Accenture report. Women are paid 20% less than men in the IT field, 11% less in civil engineering roles and a shocking 25% less in executive roles.

The fact is, we already know why and how this happened – the question is now: what are going to do about it?

I think it is fair to say that equality is not an issue that just women encounter and have to manage. I think you would agree, that equality should be viewed as a business problem where strategies are need to drive sustainable solutions with the goal to abolish inequality.

As a business , the top three actions a corporation can take are:

  1. Attend and have a present at networking events like Women in Business Expo
  2. Be involved in think tanks and hackathons like Technology for Good
  3. Invest by bringing in expert companies and people like me to help coach their staff and shape corporate strategies.

As an individual, the top three actions you can challenge yourself with are:

  1. Challenge the status quo – whether that is forming a women in tech forum or asking for a mentor, courses and opportunities in your current role.
  2. Attend networking events, what are other companies doing to support their diversity plans? What are individuals doing to be apart of that?
  3. Support other women in their careers – from providing feedback to offering support.

IWD #eachforequal