Co-Founder Diane Mullex on hear reasons for co-founding the PowerWomen Network:
For the 23 years that I have been a professional woman, I have always dealt with one form or the other of straightforward sexism, unconscious bias or having limited opportunities because I was not belonging to the “right boys club “.
At 28 years old, when I was told that I was “making waves and that I was intimidating” in a very conservative and male dominated firm, I rapidly understood that women do end up at the bottom of the pile when it comes to authority. Unfortunately, we were trained not to use our voices, to be good and to be as accommodating as possible. But also, we were not told to network, to build connections, to plan in advance our next career move or to be vocal about what we thought we deserve financially or what we are passionate about.
Things are changing as everyone does acknowledge that this is not only an unrealistic and ineffective method of doing business but it is now of paramount importance to have a diverse and inclusive leadership to face today and tomorrow challenges. Some of the men are great supporters of this evolution and are our best allies and one can agree that only the underperforming ones will feel threatened.
Even if the number of women on boards in FTSE 100 in 2017 did rise to nearly 28%, we will need a greater push to get to the 33% in 2020. There are only 6% women CEOs in FTSE 100 and in France, the first female CEO of a CAC 40 company was appointed in 2016. The Cranfield school first female FTSE index is a good indicator on how things are changing. Cranfield School of Management female FTSE index
So how do we overcome those obstacles? How do we tackle or even get aware of those opportunities? How do we drive change in this complex situation? Can you really complain about something if you don’t do anything to change it ? Is the concept of sisterhood outdated? How and why this network would be different than all the other networks?
These are all the questions that I have asked myself and shared with my partners in crime, the 3 other founders of Power Women Network.Power Women Network website
First, we need to acknowledge our areas for development and we really need to get better at networking and sharing information.
Second, we need to learn from each others the points of craft and the life lessons. This will impact the way we lead our career, businesses or simply how we solve problems and deliver complicated projects. This P to P coaching where one can share their near term goals or intermediate goals and get feedback from someone that have been in similar trenches is not only the key to intelligent leadership but also lead to personal growth. As our time is more and more precious and we have more and more meetings and demands, sharing the general tactics, the business principles and tips to excellent delivery will yield great dividends for ourselves (the Me Company concept) but also for colleagues and teams.
Third, we cannot wait anymore for the “perfect opening” to get a NEDs role. We need to create teaching moments where we learn from each others, profile raising opportunities and being simply aware of what is out there (not mentioning getting our Cvs ready !).
This is what Power Women Network is all about. The women that are part of this network are therefore embracing this challenge, building loyalty and turbo charging their life and careers.
As Helen Keller once said “Alone, we can do so little, together we can do so much”.