Today, we celebrate International Women’s Day 2023!
This year, the theme is ‘Embrace Equity’ with the aim of starting the conversation:
Why equal opportunities aren't enough.
As the IWD website advises:
“When we embrace equity, we embrace diversity, and we embrace inclusion.”
Here at Strive, International Women’s Day, is not just one day to us – we are constantly looking for ways to improve our diversity internally, support our clients improve their workforce diversity and also look at how we can support relevant charities and give back to our community.
Over the coming months, we will be announcing some of the challenges and schemes that Strive will be supporting with over 2023 – more on this to follow, but hard work is already happening behind the scenes!
In the meantime, some of Strive’s female employees have taken the opportunity to share some of the best career advice they have received – we hope some of it helps you today and beyond:
The best advice I have been given is based upon communication:
The art of communication is key.
Whatever the gender of your Line Manager, it is critical to ensure a strong line of communication – by not communicating how something has, or may make you feel, you run the risk of affecting the quality of your work. Good managers adapt their leadership style to suit their colleagues - this is extremely important due to the difference of personality types.
Since taking this advice, my working relationships have only improved – communication is key!
On a similar note, I love the good old saying of:
There’s no such thing as a stupid question!
This couldn’t be truer! Never sit in a meeting or a business conversation and not ask a question out of fear. The right professionals respect and welcome questions and you will only benefit yourself through learning the answer!
When I was asked to give my best piece of career advice, I struggled to narrow it done to one piece as I am lucky enough to have been given so many good pieces of advice!
Some of my absolute favourites and ones I try to live by every day are:
If you don’t believe in yourself, then who else will?
Focus on living your dream and not someone else’s.
Trust your instincts.
Working as a Business Development Manager at Strive can be a hard job at times. For every yes you hear, there have been multiple no’s, which can of course make it hard to keep motivated.
So, a very role specific piece of advice for anyone in a similar outbound sales role would be:
If you give it your all…..money will follow!
The best advice I’ve ever received is short, to the point and very memorable:
If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
I love to be challenged. To learn from others. To continuously develop.
Putting myself in the ‘right room’, no matter how un-nerving it can be sometimes, leads to me getting better at what I do every day.
Whilst we can learn a lot from books, webinars and podcasts - learning at-desk, daily, from experts around you is, in my view, career changing.
I think it is also important to have your views challenged, to not just be in a room with people who all have the same opinion and experiences.
Through having our views and our ways of working discussed and debated, we will see better performance – both personally and at a company level.
A piece of advice that has always stayed with me, was parted to me by one of Strive’s owners, Harrison Scott, when I joined Strive.
In a male dominated environment, don’t try and fit in and behave as your male counterparts would.
At a point in time, where I was concentrating on the negatives of ‘being different’, this advice turned that on its head, and made me see how this could actually be a USP and allow me to differentiate myself in a positive way:
Embrace the differences between women and men - and embrace them to stand out and get ahead of the game.
This gave me the confidence to not feel I had to pretend to be someone I’m not and showed me that difference can be powerful.
This keeps me focussed on doing the right activities and maintaining energy every day, knowing that my hard work will be rewarded.
I will be showing my age now, but I feel very fortunate to have grown up in an era where my world was dominated by ‘women in power’.
Going to an all-girl’s school, day to day my life was overseen by women – at a time when we also had a female Prime Minister, as well as female Monarch. I never therefore saw a limit as to what women could achieve, as there were ample role models for me in every aspect of my life.
What a lot of these women had in common then however, was the need to almost hide being female.
Hiding emotions for fear of being perceived as weak; Thatcher infamously “pulling the ladder of equal opportunity up behind her” for women; those delightful power suits we all witnessed. To get ahead, you had to ‘act like a man’ (as our definition of this stood in the 1980s and early 90s).
I think an amazing thing now, and the best advice I’ve ever been given is:
It’s short, its simple, it’s true. We can develop ourselves, continuously improve ourselves – but we should always embrace who we are and be ourselves.