Despite the fact that the gender gap certainly still exists across many local and international sectors, women in business are STANDing out like never before.
The slow but steady rise of the economic empowerment of women has been one of the most incredible revolutions seen in the last five decades. Millions of women all over the world are no longer dependent on men – instead, they are taking control of their careers. Even more remarkably, many women are balancing full careers with families and other responsibilities, in ways that the Suffragettes would never have dreamed possible
How can women continue to keep the balance between work and home, so that they are able to truly thrive in not only this industry but also every other one? The following tips apply to every woman on a search for growth and happiness…
- Own it. One of the challenges faced by many women is Imposter Syndrome. Feeling that you are not good enough, not qualified enough or not adult enough is surprisingly common – even amongst women who are seemingly at the top of their career game. The best way to combat the sense of feeling that you do not deserve to succeed is to start owning your career and every aspect of what you do. By taking full control over your career, you are your own pilot who is able to shape your destination as well as your life. Whether that means embracing your leadership potential, putting yourself forward for promotion or simply setting more defined goals, the first step in standing out is standing up.
- Build connections. It’s often lonely at the top. Connections are vital to develop relationships in work and life. Networking plays an essential role in connecting, with a number of local events taking place across South Africa. These include Fine Women; South African Women Entrepreneurs’ Network (SAWEN), the Black Business Women’s Association; Business Women’s Association; Fine Women Business Network; Inspiring Women, Women in Business and our industry’s Women in MICE Mentorship Programme and the Women in MICE Networking Forum, to name just a few. Even if you do not connect to a larger network of like-minded women in business, make time to connect to women in your workplace and within the events industry. One way to collaborate and forge relationships in this industry is to host your own event for women in your company or industry. Whether it is a simple breakfast or a dynamic, interactive show, this is a fantastic way to meet new people and ensure likeminded collaboration takes place.
- Stay true to yourself. A lot can be said for authenticity. A big part of owning what you do is being able to be true to your beliefs, values, ideas and views. Many women feel pressured into competing with their male counterparts in the race to success, giving up their values in the process. Women are unique in many ways, bringing a number of unique skills and personality traits into the workplace. In the events industry, many women have the ability to organise at a far higher level than most men – possibly due to the innate ability to juggle multiple roles, often at the same time. Women also have a natural empathy and compassion that makes them excellent problem solvers and communicators. Instead of trying to hold down your natural skills, learn how to use them to your advantage.
- Embrace your wholeness. Ellen Seidman wrote a beautiful poem for her blog, Love That Max, on the role she plays in her household. The poem sparked discussion on women and the invisible load they carry at home. Being a woman in the workplace, while also being a mother (and the person who often ends up bearing the invisible load) can be exhausting. It can also make you try to compete with co-workers who are not bearing this extra load. By embracing your complex role – as a leader and a mother, caregiver, partner and the person who always remembers the birthdays, kids extramural’ s, library book due dates, check-ups and play dates – you will embrace your wholeness as well.
- Learn to reflect. Another way for women to continue STANDing out is to learn how to reflect and grow through self-clarity. The reason that this can be a difficult task for many women is that insecurities, the dreaded Imposter Syndrome, and other self-sabotaging views can be devastating. Even the most famous of women have dealt with these feelings before. Meryl Streep once said in a 2003 O Magazine interview, “I said to myself, ‘I don’t know how to act — and why does anybody want to look at me on-screen anymore?’ … Lots of actors and actresses feel that way. What gives you strength is also your weakness — your raging insecurity.” Learning how to cut through the negative self-talk to identify your real strengths and weaknesses is key to succeeding and taking advantage of owning your self-development, will help you grow and constantly develop.
‘At Compex, we fully support the massive value that women bring into the events industry. Our team is proud to be a diverse group made up of highly talented women as well as men. This dual-gender collaboration has proven to be advantageous, introducing a diverse range of skills and knowledge and ensuring that the growth rate of our industry continues to increase. Many our senior management roles are filled by incredibly skilled women who bring their experience, compassion, forward-thinking and innovation to our company. With over two decades in the industry, we hope to continue paving the way for more women to STAND up in their abilities and unique talents in the South African events industry.