Disclaimer: Please note that all commentary and opinions provided in this interview are those of the individual and not the organisation/company they are employed by.
What is one lesson you learnt the hard way?
There is no use in trying to do everything like male leaders do. Not every successful (male) manager is a role model for diversity and respect. Often I was the only woman in a managers meeting and I learned to use my own methods to get heard. Sometimes I ponder to raise my voice just as everybody else is getting louder and louder. But mostly I just let the ardent discussion cool off and then lead the meeting back to the agenda.
What is one thing women don’t talk about enough?
A lot of women don’t talk enough about what good they have done for the company (create your own brand) and what their ambitions for the present and future are (such as growth in responsibility, innovations, career and salary). Without really articulating it, us women sometimes expect others to understand and to see what good we are doing and where we are headed. The transmitter-receiver model says that the transmitter is always responsible for the message and that it is understood. So if you have a message, be straight forward to the receiver. Always remember to keep the message short and simple for everyone to understand.
What are you really, really good at?
Integrity and reliability are amongst my strengths. That is not only what I am good at but also what I feel is crucial for me in a leadership position. Every stakeholder (business partners, clients, team members, …) should be aware of what he or she can get out of working together and can rely on each other.
Why is it important that we “choose to challenge” and call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping?
When I speak to other women, they all can tell stories about what happened to them at work, that is not in line with DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion). Some stories are less shattering than they are amusing, but still there is a lot of room for improvement. As long as we still experience unacceptable behaviour on a daily basis, it is our responsibility to make people aware of the mischief they cause. Certainly, the best is to speak to the person themselves. The next steps are to contact dedicated helplines or use other public communication opportunities. The more we speak about DEI and tell our stories, both the good and the bad, the more people become aware of what they do and what it may cause.