Women’s Month Series: Simple Lessons Learned for a Happier, More Productive Working Life

Cheer Partners welcomes you to celebrate Women’s History Month with us. All month we will be adding inspirational, thought-provoking and educational content on our blog so stop by often and enjoy!

Simple Lessons Learned for a Happier, More Productive Working Life

by Louise Harris,  Chief Marketing Officer at Orbis International

This women’s history month I want to celebrate not only the strong women who make a difference in the world and in our working lives but also the men who support them. Throughout my life and career, I’ve had many role models, both male and female, and I’ve gained valuable insight from them all in different ways.

Some of the lessons that I’ve learned and that I take with me today are to spend time with positive people, do good things and be inclusive. I’ve found these make for a happier and more productive work experience.

Spend time with positive people.

If you hang out with positive people you can’t help but mirror their behavior when you see how effective it is. I am conscious of how my behavior is seen by others on my team and that if I approach a challenge in a positive frame of mind, the results are much better. Without a positive attitude, it’s very easy to get dispirited and it rubs off and influences those around you. Spending time with positive people can give you an energy boost and usually results in better outcomes.

Do Good Things.

I’m very fortunate to be working in a non-profit organization that does well every day, bringing people together in the fight against avoidable blindness. We’re giving people their sight back In places where they have little or no access to quality eye-care and who would otherwise face a lifetime of darkness and missed opportunities. It’s meaningful work.

But you don’t need to work for a non-profit to do good things. It doesn’t take much to do good things on a daily basis. It could mean putting aside your own deadline to help someone else meet theirs, helping a junior member of staff learn a new skill or filling in for someone who’s going through a tough time or personal difficulty.

Be Inclusive.

In my role as the chief marketing officer at Orbis, I appreciate how important our internal culture is for our brand and why it needs to be a priority. How can you have a strong brand externally if it doesn’t start within the team?

We created a new vision, mission, and tagline to better align our organization with our strategic priorities. It was a collaborative process, collecting input from across the global organization. The process was very interesting, it elicited a huge amount of conversation, along with disagreements and some tension. But it resulted in something that everyone felt good about, felt a part of and could stand behind. It’s only when you talk to people that you realize that how you see an organization is rarely the way others see it. It depends on your viewpoint and your role. I found that being as inclusive as possible in this process was a positive way to drive the brand forward.

 

Women’s Month Series: Sponsorship and Closing the Women’s Leadership Gap

Cheer Partners welcomes you to celebrate Women’s History Month with us. All month we will be adding inspirational, thought-provoking and educational content on our blog so stop by often and enjoy!

Sponsorship and Closing the Women’s Leadership Gap

by Carolyn Vadino, Chief Communications Officer at Stroz Friedberg

March is a good month to reflect on women in the workforce, with International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th ushering in important conversations and Women’s History Month keeping them going. I’ve made my career in an industry that is mostly dominated by women, especially in the junior ranks. Yet, even the public relations industry struggles to achieve gender equality at the top. While stats vary, some state that women make up 61 percent to 85 percent of all PR jobs, and while 59 percent of all PR managers are female, only 30 percent of all global PR agencies are run by women.[1] That leaves quite a gap in the diversity of the top ranks of PR leadership.

Earlier this month I participated in a great panel for IWD with several impressive women who work in the field. Many topics were discussed: our professional journey, mentorship and sponsorship, unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion, and whether we believed the workforce was better equipped today to support women, to name a few. The answers varied based on personal and professional experiences. Most of us have had mentors. Some of those mentors were male, some female. Less of the panelists had sponsors—I don’t think that is a coincidence.

A mentor is someone who can guide you through your career, provide advice, and be a sounding board. A sponsor is an advocate—this person is usually in a position of leadership and will actively help you advance your career and provide you with opportunity. Most sponsors are people in leadership positions. In the United States for instance, across most industries, there are more male leaders than female leaders even though women make up the majority of the workforce[2]. This is where unconscious bias may come into play and how just being a woman can work against you.

Unconscious bias can be an inclination for or against a group. Sometimes we subconsciously attract people who are like us. We can even reject people who aren’t. That can manifest in many ways. It could mean we are more comfortable working with (or mentoring/sponsoring) someone who looks like us, someone who went to the same University, someone who was part of the same fraternity or sorority, or someone who participated in the same sports or who grew up in the same region. Familiarity can provide comfort, but it can also lead to lack of diversity in thought and leadership.

There are several things we can do, as potential sponsors and those seeking sponsorship, to help push for progress for women in the workforce in March and beyond.

Commit to sponsoring a woman. It is important that organizations of all sizes create sponsorship programs for their workforce. It’s equally important for professionals, regardless of title, to recognize their own unconscious bias and work to counter it. If you are in a position of leadership, sponsor at least one junior female at your organization and advocate for her through quality assignments and opportunity. If your organization doesn’t have a formal sponsorship program, be the advocate for Human Resources to start one.

Challenge your thinking. If you aren’t in a position to be a sponsor, but can be a mentor, or have influence over work assignments (or people who hand out the assignments), think about how you share your time and how you assign projects. Challenge yourself to provide work to others that will help them stretch their skills, play to their strengths, advance their career, or increase their visibility among key leaders that can become their sponsors. Then publicly applaud them when they do a good job. Often it can take just one project to provide the right exposure that changes the course of someone’s career.

Ask a mentor. If you already have a mentor and don’t have a sponsor, see if he or she is in a position of leadership and can sponsor you. Have a thoughtful conversation about what sponsorship entails and ask that person if he or she would be (or could be) willing to advocate for you and your professional development. Be sure to deliver on any opportunities they present to you.

Build relationships to create sponsorship opportunities. If you don’t have a sponsor or a mentor, take a hard look at your leadership team and start to build relationships with the right people who can introduce you to potential sponsors. If you are junior and you don’t have access to senior leaders, try and establish relationships with mid-level influencers who can make introductions on your behalf or advocate for you behind the scenes.

It is important for all of us, regardless of where we are in our career, to think about our role as a mentor and whether or not we could be someone’s sponsor. It’s also important to recognize our own unconscious bias. Think about the last time you advocated for someone who didn’t look like you or the last time you actively sought to build a working relationship with someone that has a different background. Long after the conversations and hashtags from IWD and Women’s History month fade, the knowledge shared this month can spur action to help effect real change —whether it’s through personal sponsorship, asking for a sponsor, or talking about how sponsorship can help your organization in closing the women’s leadership gap.

International Woman’s Day

Cheer Partners and RF Binder just couldn’t wait for March 8th to begin to celebrate International Women’s day. We shared our #Pressforprogress commitments, reviewed some insightful facts about women in the workforce with some fun trivia contests and watched a video of Indra Nooyi speak of her challenges and strategies for working mothers.   We were also inspired by some amazing, talented women leaders: Koley Corte, Carolyn Vadino, Christin Jones, and Catherine Mathis, who enthusiastically agreed to participate on our IWD panel and share their stories and guidance.  We topped it off with some great purple libations!   International Women’s Day is March 8th!   What will you be doing to celebrate women and promote equality across genders?  What is your commitment to #Pressforprogress?

Cheer Partners Celebrates Women’s History Month

Cheer Partners Celebrates Women’s History Month

Cheer Partners welcomes you to celebrate Women’s History Month with us. All month we will be adding inspirational, thought-provoking and educational content on our blog so stop by often and enjoy!

 

March 2: A Pragmatic Look at the Gender Pay Gap

by Kristen Pressner Global Head of Human Resources, Diagnostics Division, Roche

“’I believe each one of us should be asking ourselves what we can do to make a difference. As a global HR executive and a mother of four children, I have got my hands full. As have many of you. So I am big on pragmatic approaches that make it possible for us all to grab onto something doable.“

https://www.empowerwomen.org/en/community/stories/2016/03/a-pragmatic-look-at-the-gender-pay-gap