Nothing I’m going to highlight in this piece is exclusive to a specific gender. Yet when bundled together, the small of stature example of brilliant leadership I met recently was undeniably feminine. It reminded me yet again of why amplifying the role of women in the world is such an important proposition.
It is said that of all the different leadership traits common among today’s leaders, women shine in several particularly relevant capabilities. These capabilities are their tendency to be inclusive, to have a legacy mindset, to show care for the wellbeing of others and an affinity for collaboration.
I met someone recently who thoroughly impressed both my business partner and I, and highlighted for us (again) why we do what we do. Coming from a childhood with some hardship (financial and other) this woman started her career in technology. From an early age, she developed a strong sense of social justice that has grown stronger over time. She is driven to make a difference to others and to see others afforded opportunities she was not. Now, she is rapidly growing a company that seeks to inspire others in their career choices, to fill a gender void that exists in the workforce that will, if not resolved, be a major challenge to the wellbeing of us all.
In doing this she is exhibiting that which we often see with women: taking on more than she should be able to handle, collaborating with and enabling others, being modest about her achievements and her impact on the world, thanking others for support before claiming her own achievement and quietly, in a seemingly feminine way, making a major positive impact on the world.
She also experienced significantly less career advancement than her male partner in her previous profession, for which she squarely blames herself.
Why is this important? Perhaps it isn’t. To me it highlights firstly the incredible talent that is being under-utilised given women’s low participation in certain industries (STEM based predominantly).
Secondly, I see a connection between what this woman brings to her work and the world and what the world, at a macro level, so desperately needs. She brings innovation and growth and is driving commercial outcomes sure, but more importantly she brings compassion, social consciousness, inclusion and collaboration.
“So do men”, I hear you say, and indeed you are right. However, men are being utilised. Women (in certain industries) are not.
That is why at Open Door we do what we do. We believe that for businesses to continue to grow, for humanity to continue to flourish, for the natural environment to be treated in a sustainable way and for the prosperity of our planet, women must have an equal influence in the places decisions are made.
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