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Inspiring global women for growth — moving the dial on gender equity

by | Mar 14, 2023

Inspiring Global Women for Growth was the theme for a day of inspiration, networking and discovery to celebrate International Women’s Day at the Institute of Directors in London.

It was a unique opportunity for women and men to come together in support of global women and use their expertise for positive good.

The  feedback on the day was overwhelmingly positive with shared feelings of support and motivation to keep moving the dial and accelerate growth for women, particularly in international leadership roles. It was clear to see that we are better together, and the time for impactful action is now. Here are just some of the highlights.

Accelerate women into leadership

With a focus on removing barriers to accelerate women in to leadership within international organisations, the room was filled with experts from the global business, global mobility, DEI, HR and relocation communities.

Fiona Murchie, founder & Managing Editor of Think Global People and Relocate Global began the day by telling her own story of how, as a young woman, she started her career providing insights and information to the oil and gas industry in Scotland.

Watch video highlights

Dr Susan Doering, author of Smart career moves for Smart Women, called on women to support each other and appreciate that they had many options throughout their career.

Ellen Shustik head of programmes and external relations at the Inner Wings foundation spoke movingly of the many schoolchildren that the charity had helped to find their inner confidence.

THINK WOMEN - Fiona Murchie

Taking an international assignment early in a woman’s career offers a huge career advantage and a lot of experience in terms of understanding different cultures and ways of working.”

Learnings from women in international careers

A lively workshop followed in which delegates discussed their career defining moments and the biggest surprise or the lessons they learned as an international woman in the workplace.

Summarising the discussion on her table, Dr Sue Shortland, Professor Emerita at Guildhall Business & Law at London Metropolitan University and a Senior Lecturer in HRM at the University of Westminster, described how many women had found that taking a risk and moving out of their comfort zone had helped to further their career.

Other groups emphasised the importance of networking and support, how women were naturally good at making connections and creating communities, and how having more women in senior leadership roles helped to change the nature of an organisation and enable both men and women to consider working more flexibility and being more authentic at work.

Journalist Marianne Curphey then interviewed Julia Palmer, COO Relocation and CHRO at Santa Fe Relocation.

Julia spoke about her early childhood and how her formative years moving around the globe gave her resilience and ambition to work in global teams.

She discussed how the nature of work and the requirements of assignees were changing and how women could be more supported in international roles.

Julia Palmer Santa Fe Relocation Speaker Think Women

Marianne then introduced panel guests Caroline Thorley-Farrer, Group Mobility Director at Worley, Jenny Hinde, Executive Director at the Clear Company and Salma Shah, founder & coach at Mastering your Power and author of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging in Coaching.

The discussion focussed on how diversity and inclusion presented great opportunities for organisations, and how to overcome challenges and difficulties.

Caroline Thorley-Farrer spoke about how international assignments might be made shorter in order to appeal to more potential candidates, especially in cases where assignees were sent to hardship locations like Mongolia, where it was difficult for families and partners to follow.

Jenny Hinde described how many organisations were keen to incorporate DE&I into their policies, but many were at a loss at where to start.

Salma Shah said that women’s advancement needed to be looked at through an intersectional lens, because women were not a single homogenous group but were from many different cultures, backgrounds and experiences.

Our speakers and all three panellists have been profiled in our 40 Outstanding Global Women. This series recognises the high calibre of women working in international leadership roles, learning more about their professional journey and lifting the lid on their unique leadership styles.

Think Women Panel

Women’s advancement should be looked at through an intersectional lens – women are not a single homogenous group but from many different cultures, backgrounds and experiences.”

— Salma Shah, founder of Mastering Your Power

Moving the dial to make global working more accessible for women

There was then a lively discussion around the tables on how to move the dial for women working in international careers. Delegates exchanged insights and experiences on how to support women to be more confident, resilient and gain more exposure to help them flourish in the fast changing global workplace. Many spoke of the importance of support networks and mentoring, and particularly for younger women to see representation and have access to, role models and allies in leadership positions.

There was also a consensus that having the opportunity to take an international assignment early in a woman’s career gave them a huge career advantage and a lot of experience in terms of understanding different cultures and ways of working.

After a delicious lunch, keynote speaker Dr Anino Emuwa, an advocate for gender balance in leadership and founder of 100 Women@Davos and the Africa Women CEOs Network, was introduced by Fiona Murchie.

Opening her speech by quoting Carla Harris, Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley and a former Vice Chairman of Wealth Management at the firm she said, “Hard work does not complete your success equation”, and she explained that there is more to managing a career than hard work, because you also need sponsorship, and you need visibility.

“That is, having the attention of people who are making the influential decisions,” she said.

“In order to fast track and improve their agency women need to be ‘TMA or Top of Mind Awareness’.

 

Women who articulate their value and describe why they are perfect for a role, are the ones who will succeed.”

— Dr Anino Emuwa

In order to fast track and improve your agency she described how women need to be “TMA or top of mind awareness”. “Women who articulate their value and describe why they are perfect for a role, are the ones who will succeed”, she said.

“It’s being clear about your values. You are we are all unique and you have to be clear about what you do. You have to have career goals for the next 12 to 18 months and look to how you can leverage the next step with your unique value proposition,” she explained.

This could include creating content, blogs and thought leader articles, ensuring your LinkedIn profile is up to date, and using social media to communicate where you are going in your career, and not where you actually are now.

“In thought leadership, you can share your deep experience and your unique perspective,” she said. “How do you influence people’s thoughts? It’s about giving, and coming from a place of knowledge and giving in order to inspire and influence.”

Speaking engagements can start locally with schools’ associations and local clubs. Even for those who are natural introverts, public speaking need not be daunting.

“It’s a skill that you require, and it’s important to remember when public speaking that people are not there to judge you. They’re to get from you. And that enables you to have less focus on yourself.”

She also recommended networking, which can give you support and opportunities through word of mouth. Online networking and conferences can also enable you to interact with a global audience.

Men should be part of the discussion around using the talent of women, and she suggested that given the huge talent shortage in technology, women could step forward to fill the talent gap, move the discussion forward and be part of the future of success.

Dr Anino Emuwa Keynote Think Women

How do you influence people’s thoughts? It’s about giving, and coming from a place of knowledge and giving in order to inspire and influence.”

— Dr Anino Emuwa

ENJOY HIGHLIGHTS FROM our THINK WOMEN EVENT

Hear from our Keynote, Speaker and Panellists from the day as they talk about how to move the dial and accelerate growth for women, particularly in international leadership roles.

Our Speaker – Julia Palmer, COO of Relo at Santa Fe Relocation talks about the additional pressure on women when taking overseas assignments.

“Realising that female assignees are still expected to do a lot of the moving—and having the help and support to do this is crucial”

Julia Palmer, Santa Fe Relocation

Our panel focused on how to help leaders to embrace DEI strategies

Caroline Thorely – Farrer, Group Global Mobility Director, Worley

Salma Shah, Founder of Mastering Your Power Coach Training and author.

Jenny Hinde, Director at The Clear Company

“In order to tackle DEI, you need to do it with authenticity”

Jenny Hinde

Our Keynote — Dr Anino Emuwa, Managing Director of Avandis Consulting talked about the power of communication, community and putting yourself out there.

“Let people know what is your expertise and how you are adding value”

Dr Anino Emuwa