When you register your details to attend a networking event, are you really sure what you are signing up for? Have a purpose for attending any event, a reason for going, a benefit to being there and investing your time and money. I did just that recently: when I saw the line-up of Guest Speakers I just knew I had to be a part of it because it was totally relevant to my business and I could glean some great ideas for my students.
The event was the NAB Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards Event. I joined 400 women from different fields - High End Bankers, Aeroplane Pilots, Champion Surfers, Cricketers, Doctors, Lawyers, CEO’s, Scientists, Engineers and so many other diverse backgrounds. One thing we all had in common: everyone in that room wanted equal rights for women and a reduction in the pay gap.
It was disappointing to have reinforced that the gender pay gap for women in management is still at an all-time low of 45% here in Australia. That is absurd in today’s workplace. A NAB spokeswoman agreed that there is still work they need to do as an organisation themselves and the fact that they sponsor such an event underlines their commitment to improving the situation across the board.
Here’s a thought: don’t turn up to an event, grab a drink and sit quietly on the sidelines. The best networking occurs before the event kicks off! I networked with some women before the event started and made some good connections while learning so much more about certain industries. I took the opportunity to create a moment with our very own First Female Prime Minister, the Honourable Julia Gillard. She was amazingly relaxed, friendly and confident. I asked her what was she most fearful of in her career. Julia responded by commenting on a range of political engagements although the most important factor she said was that it gets easier! That so reinforces messages in my programs.
The first time you do something it may seem tough: the more you do it, the more you build your confidence and it does get easier.
What other information did I take away from the Women of Leadership Award Winners?
Here are my Top 8 Messages:
Build your confidence; be passionate about what you do. Every woman deserves a life full of opportunity.
Stay humble: it’s ok to be surprised, standing tall and except compliments with grace.
Get a mentor: your capability is there, it’s your confidence that needs support.
It’s ok not to be liked: do not bow down to bullying.
Articulate your value to an organisation.
Don’t leave education to chance: go and build on those competencies.
Seek out opportunities - they may not come around again.
Life is not about being loyal to a team: some women find they don’t want to change career or push themselves as they like the team they are in, like the job and don’t want to upset or create change. It’s a choice
Julia Gillard’s final words:
Be robust and resilient.
When you get knock backs in life, go home have a glass of vino and get back in there the following morning with your head held high.