Twelve Powerful Narratives by Women for Women.


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In honor of International Women’s Day, we are embracing the concept of “collective individualism” and disseminating guidance for women from sassa leaders who are actively fighting for gender parity.

The fundamental tenet of 2020’s International Women’s Day (IWD) is that people may transform the world by banding togeth”r.

Put differently, a collective individualism that acknowledges that “we are all parts of a whole,” as stated in the IWD 2020 campaign. Our personal habits, attitudes, and interactions may influence our society as a whole.

We are embracing the concept of collective individuality as we commemorate International Women’s Day (IDW) on March 8 and disseminating guidance for women from sassa women leaders who are leading the fight for gender parity.

We wanted to do more than just recognize our female leaders; we wanted to completely explore the concept of collective individuality. We wanted them to share personal anecdotes about the people who encouraged and made it possible for them to pursue a career in leadership, as well as discuss their experiences and how they, as individuals, are contributing to the global movement towards gender equality.

Race Mary-Clare

Chief Product and Innovation Officer

Americas

Since I worked in mostly male-dominated settings early in my career, I didn’t have many strong female role models. Several of the women who were older than I was seemed to lead in an unauthentic manner and took on traits they believed were necessary to be successful in a society dominated by males. I have always made an effort to be authentic because I didn’t want to approach leadership that way.

Luckily, I had some very influential women in my life outside of work, including my mother. She was an extremely intelligent woman who instilled in me the belief that I could do whatever I put my mind to. In addition, I had some amazing female professors and instructors who encouraged me to feel that my gender wasn’t a barrier to pursuing my goals in life. I’ve made an effort to embody that mentality by serving as a mentor and career accelerator for others, particularly younger women. I’m making an effort to emulate the sort of role model my mother and my instructors provided for me.

“Building teams and situations where psychological safety is prevalent has been a major theme throughout my career, and I firmly believe that all leaders should support it. I’ve previously been in circumstances where I didn’t feel like I could be myself or have a voice, and I always found it harder to succeed in such circumstances. Furthermore, I have seen instances in which individuals have been denied chances or held back due to their gender, level of education, history, or even the way they speak. I attempt to confront such conduct in these kinds of circumstances and believe it is our collective duty to call those things out. I’ve always believed that your chances of succeeding and flourishing are highest when you can be completely yourself and give your all to your career.

Hafner Carolin

Senior Vice President, Worldwide Product Manager

Switzerland

“Like many women, I didn’t grow up with a lot of strong female role models. In the financial services and consulting fields where I worked, men dominated the workforce. I did, however, have my mother as an inspiration. She oversaw sales, marketing, and finance for our family firm. My desire to lead change in strategic positions in company was inspired by her example and my early involvement with her.

Overall, I discovered that the more business-related knowledge a woman has, particularly when it comes to financial KPIs that affect the P&L, the more credibility she will have as a person who not only speaks the language of her company but also knows its essential functions. Your reputation for financial savvy and commercial acumen will grow, therefore it’s critical to operate at the proper level.

“As a leader and during my career, I have come to understand the importance of reciprocity. because giving to others is just as vital as receiving from them. I really think that if I give someone anything, they will ultimately give it back to me or to someone else. This, in my opinion, fits well with this year’s #EachforEqual International Women’s Day theme. This illustrates the idea that a society with more gender equality may also be one that is more empowered. We may do it by using concepts like reciprocity.

Batticciotto Carmel

Talent Development Lead, Practice

Australia

Throughout my career, I have had a lot of role models, including leaders who have shown to me what effective leadership looks like and the excellent effects it can have on others.

I have also been motivated by those who have overcome extreme hardship and succeeded after rising above it. Australian Turia Pitt suffered severe burns after being caught in a blaze and had to struggle for her life. She is now well-known, freely sharing her experience while encouraging and assisting others in the neighborhood. She serves as a reminder that, despite our inability to constantly control life’s circumstances, we do have influence over how we respond to them. Her perseverance and never-say-die attitude serve as a great source of inspiration for me.

“Always be studying and looking for criticism. We must always learn and grow while maintaining confidence in our own abilities if we are to mature and flourish. That has taught me a valuable lesson: your confidence and self-belief shouldn’t be affected by your understanding of your own places for improvement. Therefore, you may keep learning, developing, and growing no matter where you are in your job.

Villarreal Katrina

Manager of the Country

Germany

“My grandma Lorene VanLeeuwen is an amazing role model that I am really blessed to have in my life. Being a product of the Great Depression, she understood the importance of hard work and education in achieving success. She worked as a teacher, secretary, and postmaster for her little town at a period when most women remained at home. She returned to college studies at the age of 89 after deciding to study computers. At the age of 105, she routinely contacts with her great-great grandkids, has an iPad, and uses Facebook. She continues to pick up new skills every day.

“Never stop learning is the most important thing I took away from her. Learning leads to growth, and as you develop, you become a better teacher to others. I would also concur with my grandmother’s counsel to always welcome new challenges. We think outside the box and accomplish more than we ever would have imagined when we take on a challenge.

Ramos, Monica

Director of Consultation

Brazil

Making the decision to become a leader is a difficult one that will impact your whole life. Becoming a leader impacts more than just your career; it also impacts your status in the family, as a husband or partner, and as a mother. You must rise to this everyday challenge if you want to improve as a person and a leader. The choice you make to assume leadership roles has a ripple effect on everything, much like choosing to become a mother.

“My parents were among the many individuals who motivated me.” I have acquired guidance and inspiration from a variety of individuals at various points in my life. Like my immediate commander, Jose Augusto Figueiredo. Together, we have worked for over two decades. When I started my work, I was unsure whether I was the best candidate for a particularly difficult project because of my lack of experience. He encouraged me to form a productive team and assisted me in realizing that I may be the ideal fit. He would often say that I had to link the right individuals at the right time.

Later on, when I started to lead myself, he was a great leader coach who challenged me and exposed me to new ideas.

“The first thing I’ve learnt is that being a leader doesn’t have to scare a woman. Furthermore, you shouldn’t expect to be treated any differently just because you’re a woman. You are the same as any other leader, male or female, despite being a woman. Certain qualities that are innate to women may enable us to lead more skillfully and successfully in certain circumstances. Compared to males, we are easier to change, more adaptable, and more organized. Any leader would greatly gain from it.

“I also discovered that becoming an executive leader does not require you to forgo having a family. Many younger women believe that having a family is a prerequisite for becoming an executive. I attempt to clarify that you are able to accomplish both. You don’t have to play the roles of mother and leader apart. You will become a better leader if you incorporate them instead. You can always accomplish both goals in your life.

Kim Spurgeon

Senior Vice President, Sales

Canada

“My mother served as my initial role model. Her idea that women and girls can face any difficulty fearlessly was the aspect that really impacted me as a child. This was a lesson that really benefited me in my first job in criminology, dealing with addicts who had previously been involved in the legal system and in halfway homes. In a field where few individuals resembled me, my mother made me realize that I could still thrive despite the strong male dominance in it.

“My first employer in the consulting industry served as my second role model. Gender did not matter to him. His sole interest was not so much about gender but more about selecting and elevating those who had the potential to do great things. Additionally, he significantly influenced my views on engaging with customers and entering the sales field. He convinced me that a career in sales could be fulfilling and that it may be essential to transitioning into a leadership position, despite my initial misgivings.

“I believe that a lot of the time, women allow presumptions and attitude stand in the way of them. When I initially began out in the consulting industry, I discovered that I was capable of learning new skills. I had a bad impression of the usual used vehicle salesman and never imagined that I would work in sales. As I spent more time with consumers, my perspective shifted. I came to understand that sales is all about establishing trust, assisting customers in solving issues, and coming up with ideas that result in solid, long-lasting partnerships.

The irony was that many older guys had helped me learn the ropes in sales, and I am grateful to them for their support. However, I soon discovered that many of my clients were, in fact, women just like myself. In the end, I realized that I had an edge since clients said they would rather work with me. Had I not been able to shift my perspective on what I could and could not achieve, I would not have been able to do this. Women should communicate their aspirational objectives, be open-minded about what they can accomplish, and recognize that their uniqueness may work to their advantage.

Michelle Anthony

EVP and Head of Marketing

Americas

“Lory Pilchik, my first female boss at Dell, taught me a lot of valuable things, one of which was how to be an influencer. Additionally, try to approach whatever influence you have with as much information as you can to avoid engaging in an argument that is subjective or emotionally driven. It’s the entire notion that the trend, or the facts, is on your side. I still strive to follow the advice from those lessons since they had a deep emotional impact on me. The majority of the time, especially in a strong tech setting where males predominate, female executives will struggle in an emotionally heated discourse.

“I learned about self-care outside of work from Lory and other role models as well. putting money into activities that keep our bodies and minds healthy, including yoga, meditation, and exercise. When things go hard, we rely on those things to keep us going.

The most significant lesson I’ve probably learnt is that work and career are not zero-sum endeavors. By that, I mean that you can win even if someone else loses. That has really remained with me. For this reason, I want to support encouraging people to invest in themselves—especially women—and to show them that they can succeed without putting others’ needs before of their own.

Nieuwenhuis, Sanne

Manager of the Country

Netherlands

The psychologist I saw when I was younger provided me with the finest foundation for who I am now. She made me realize how important it is to take the time to really focus on who I am and to let myself be more open and vulnerable while expressing myself. From there, I developed a foundation that would allow me to reach my full potential at any point in my life. It is crucial for leaders to be open and honest, to take calculated risks, and to give their judgments a lot of thought. I believe that I discovered this quite early in life. Having acquired the skill of multi-viewing, I am able to take into account several points of view while making decisions. One of the best presents I’ve ever received is that.

Being vulnerable is a way to demonstrate to others your humanity. One of the first things I did in the Dutch organization was that. It was quite difficult for people to discuss their errors. I immediately made this alteration, and it resulted in a swift victory. It allowed folks to relax a little bit more, which was very appreciated. However, you cannot be an unsure leader during uncertain times. Being a successful leader means that you must portray strength and resilience while also understanding the human factor and being able to encourage others who are uneasy or afraid of the future. You still need to be approachable and sympathetic during difficult times, but you also need to be the firm foundation of the organization. You still want to be the trustworthy person that everyone knows.

Margo Hoyt

SVP, TLD’s Managing Director

Canada

“Throughout my voyage, I encountered a great deal of individuals who had an impact—bChief Executive Officer Leaders that really supported me and made me feel like I could handle anything motivated me more than their own self-confidence did. Although it may seem corny, I really believe that my mother was the first to persuade me that I could do everything I set my mind to. Although not the first person to have that kind of faith in me, she was the first to really assist me in realizing my potential.

“My mother went back to school at a later age. After graduating from college in the 1950s, she went on to become a teacher. She had enthusiasm, self-assurance, and independence. She was a highly committed teacher and active in the community. She graduated from college when I was seven years old, and it was quite an achievement as she started a completely new job. For me, she was and still is a strong role model.

The most crucial lesson, in my opinion, is that women have the power to surround themselves with and seek out situations that encourage women in leadership roles. When I give speeches to young ladies, I advise them to go out and find a location where they will be supported in achieving their objectives if they don’t believe there are chances for them where they are. Women have no business remaining in an environment that does not support them in their pursuit of and ascent to leadership positions.

Additionally, I think it’s critical that women have the ability to discuss their goals and achievements. It’s imperative that we learn to feel at ease discussing our goals and accomplishments. Many women need to learn to feel more at ease discussing themselves in that manner. We really must learn to feel more at ease disclosing it to others so that they are aware of our accomplishments and future professional goals. We cannot rely on others to speak for us.

Townend, JC

Manager of the Country

United Kingdom

“My sister served as my initial role model. She was 14 years older and a trailblazer in many ways. She paved the road for women in a manner that few others had done before. Her school guidance counselor quickly offered, “Home Economics?,” when she informed him she wanted to pursue a degree in economics.She persevered, earning a PhD in economics and rising to the position of senior executive at the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States. When I completed my economics degree more than ten years later, it was accepted as the standard.

“The most significant takeaway is the significance of self-belief. I was fortunate to be able to disregard gender norms and focus only on my profession. I didn’t really realize that I was often the only woman in the room when I first began working in the energy business. It dawns on me now that I was fortunate to be surrounded by guys who did not consider gender. Their primary concern was obtaining the desired outcome and they were very analytical. Meritocracy was dominant there.

Similarly, when I was five months pregnant, I received my first significant promotion to vice president and group lead. Even though my manager was aware that I would be on maternity leave, he still thought I was the best candidate for the position. He was quite fair-minded and analytical, and his trust in me paid off well for the business. I now see that he was a really unique individual.

Jain Deepali

Managing Director

Singapore

“My first boss, Geetha Rajagopal, showed me the value of living in the present. I discovered that when presented with a chance, the how you use it matters. Your life is within your power. Whether you define success as being a wife, mother, or CEO of a business, it is your choice. Who you become is entirely up to you.

“Nicky Wakefield, my most recent boss and mentor, is another role model. She instilled in me the belief that individuals should be allowed to make decisions that are in line with their own aspirations and core beliefs, and that these decisions should be respected. Rather than imposing our opinions on them, we need to provide them chances to be supported in their decisions.

“Aspire to be exceptional. No matter how difficult the path ahead may seem, have faith in yourself and go with conviction. Never undervalue your capacity for accomplishment!”

María Turolla

Manager of Talent Development, Diversity & Inclusion

Brazil

Luckily, I had a number of significant role models in both my personal and work lives. My mother, grandparents, and aunts instilled in me the value of hard work and treating everyone equally and with respect. My professors encouraged me to love reading and learning, and they demonstrated to me—even in those early days—that a woman could be self-sufficient and content on her own and that employment could be a significant catalyst for personal growth. I was inspired to go beyond my boundaries and anxieties by both male and female leaders. Of course, I had many friends who supported me through thick and thin and showed me the value of sisterhood. At last, I have a life partner who constantly forces me to think about and work on improving myself.

“I had to grow up in order to really comprehend what lifelong learning entails. It may be quite perplexing and annoying when we are confronted with the need to change. However, every time we make a change, we take a little step closer to a better world. As a leader, I’ve also discovered how important bravery and empathy are.

Learning how to “be you” has occupied a significant portion of my life. To become the greatest version of yourself, you must devote time and effort to discovering who you are and acting accordingly. You can then give the world your best.


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