Technology

Why I founded PowerWomen Network

Founder Tanuja Randery on her reasons for co-founding the network:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland
This exchange really does put into perspective where we are on Diversity & Inclusion and what we must do to change the trajectory and accelerate the outcomes. Unfortunately, walking long enough – and it has been a 100 years since women got the power to vote – is not generating results fast enough. We must better define, as women, where we want to go and at what pace. We must come together, as women, to support each other in achieving our goals. The Suffragettes relentlessly campaigned for women to be granted the right to vote, through “deeds, not words”. Today, men and women need to work together in a similar manner to create the diverse environment we require in the business world. The best organisations have worked it out and have outperformed those that have yet to figure it out, so it just makes sense.
There are 3 tips I was lucky enough to learn early in my career thanks to the amazing men and women who sponsored me throughout my journey. I am sharing them with you now because they sum up the reason I founded PowerWomen Network and the value we want to create for women through it.
Plan, plan and then plan some more
Irrespective of whether you are a man or a woman in business, you shouldn’t rely on the organisation to define who and what you want to be. Given the percentage of women in leadership roles today, it’s even more critical for women to be well prepared. I have lived by this in my career and I am a firm believer in looking forward to get ahead. I tell all those I mentor to take charge of their trajectories. Map out where it is you want to go, and then work with your employer, family and external support system to build the network you need to find opportunities and convert the plan into results. Whether you decide to stay in one organisation for a long time or change companies, having a plan enables you to make better decisions. We make use of plans for almost everything on a daily basis, so why not plan your career?

How does PowerWomen help with the plan? The power of our network is the network itself. It creates access to a group of senior women from across multiple sectors, cultures and backgrounds who can engage with each other on their plans, be a sounding board and also a pathway to potential opportunities, all helping a plan become a reality.
It takes a village and you have to build it
Many people talk about having a mentor: someone who can guide them and share their experience. I prefer to talk about ‘sponsors’ – people who are advisors but who also challenge you. What most people don’t realise is that mentoring, or sponsorship, is a two-way process that benefits both parties. While at EMC, I worked very closely with the president of the Americas business and became his right-hand person; someone he could rely on to get the job done, be a sounding board and challenge him as an equal.
This wasn’t a relationship built purely on friendship – it was about the impact we could create together for the company. He became, and still is, one of my closest advisors. The relationships you build will be some of the most important stepping stones in your career, so make sure you nurture them.

How can PowerWomen help you build your village? We have created a network that is purposefully small and intimate, where we can create close and meaningful connections. This enables us to be effective sponsors and find opportunities for each other. We aim to become the sought after talent pool for non-executive directorships and executive committee members.
Manage your energy: 40-40-20
I get asked a lot about how I maintain my energy, even when times are tough. Most importantly, I believe you need to do what you love and love what you do. When this is true, it’s easy to be energetic. Secondly, I follow a rigorous rule of 40-40-20, which I learnt from a senior director at McKinsey. I spend 40% of my time with customers, 40% with my team and keep the remaining 20% to myself – to learn, reflect, strategise and refuel. Time is precious! You need to surround yourself with people who are going to challenge you constructively, enable you to execute and coach you to the next level of performance.

How can PowerWomen help you manage your energy? The network provides a peer-to-peer coaching environment which is always available – senior executives with a breadth and depth of experience who can help you when you are using your 20% – our learning, advice, coaching, and networking events are designed to be both informative and fun so you can refuel.
And finally, play to win, not just to fit in
As women, we need to work harder to stand out from the crowd. Most of us have heard the words “you won’t make it” or “you aren’t ready” at least a few times in our career. Believe in yourself, keep working towards your plan, seek advice, create your personal sponsor network and be relentless in your focus on performance and health. Then when you succeed – and you will – take a moment to cherish your victory.

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