One of my favourite months of the year is March. It's a truly celebratory and transformational month. The clocks go back. Spring kicks into full force. My SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) disappears. Daffodils become the popular flower of choice. Mother’s get a day of recognition and globally us ladies unite to celebrate International Women's Day. From this list, how can you not get excited by this month?
So, for now i want to focus on March 8th - International Women's Day. I’m not one for gender segregation but yes, this is a day to remind us that women matter, we are important and we really do deserve to be recognised. On this day women worldwide are celebrated for their political, economical and social achievements. At a talk i attended at Macfarlanes one woman said that her son had asked her that morning “Mummy why do you have a special women’s day? Why do we not have a man’s day?". We all know what the answer to this is, right?
The theme for #IWD2017 was “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030 and #BeBoldForChange. In a message of support, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commented on how women’s rights were being “reduced, restricted and reversed”. With men still in leadership positions and a widening economic gender gap, he called for change "by empowering women at all levels, enabling their voices to be heard and giving them control over their own lives and over the future of our world".
As a career coach this year’s theme truly resonates with me as I work with women to empower them to get their voices heard at work. To push for promotions and to use their networks to help leverage and build a successful career. If you’ve had a coaching session with me or attended one of my workshops you’ll know how much i preach on about networking, networking, networking. I believe that success in nearly every aspect of life comes down to your ability to build meaningful relationships – both personal and professional. Networking is one of the best ways to do this. It allows you to interact with new people, different people and build relationships. It can lead to opportunities for yourself and the company you work for. It’s also a great way to boost your confidence and raise your profile. It's one of the strongest marketing tools and so why not promote your brand "Me Inc". Plus who doesn’t like a free drink and some canapés?
I marked #IWD2017 as a guest speaker at the launch of TPICAP’s Data Analytics Women’s Network. The event was held in collaboration with the FISD (Financial Information Services Association) at the stunning Skinners Hall, one of the ancient guilds of London. It was a breathtaking space with chandeliers, high ceilings, ornate furniture and paintings to rival the National Portrait Gallery. I was honoured to share the stage with two other female speakers who were also women of colour. Having worked in the media industry for the majority of my career I did feel like an anomaly however, we are all women who have, or will inevitably face the same challenges at work on the climb up the ladder. I was able to share my journey and how i rose up the ranks. My talk was titled “10 Years 10 Lessons” reflecting on my time at Channel 4 Television. I shared my "10 Tips to Career Success" and the importance of women networking with one another. Men have been doing it for years with their "old boy's networks". Us ladies need to step up and create "new women's networks" - platforms where we can begin to collaborate, unite and share knowledge and skills.
Women’s Networks are a powerful tool for change to help push the messages in and around gender equality within the workplace. I was on the steering committee that established a Women’s Network at Channel 4 and saw first hand the importance and need of such a collective. Women’s Networks provide an open forum for women, and men (remember i’m anti-gender segregation) to meet, discuss, debate, share knowledge, and information and work toward the goal of a 50-50 planet by 2030.
If you’re company doesn’t have one why not become a leader and take steps to set one up. If you missed out on the great events taking place for this years International Women's Day then ink it in the diary for 2018 and ask yourself how can i get involved?
Till next time...
60 Min Career Coach