Act like a Leader, Think like a Leader

herminiaibarrabroadminded

South Kensington Club, London. November 15th, 2017

We’d seen Herminia Ibarra speak before, so knew she was going to be an inspiration for the BroadMinded audience. Herminia’s presentation and discussion were very thought-provoking for ourselves as we look at our own careers. Making the transition to leadership is a challenge for everyone, but with the many added headwinds of being a woman at work, we sometimes need help in thinking how to get to positions of leadership, and how to be successful in both the process and on arrival. Plenty of food for thought from the evening, but as always we’ve pulled together our main takeaways for you all

  • ‘What got you here, won’t get you there’ – the conversation stops being just about whether you have the technical skills, but about whether you can use your skills and experience to enact change
  • Content is important, but equally so is the way you deliver it. Some of the most successful leaders and speakers are those that can make an audience laugh and engage with the content, not just deliver the facts
  • Do the thing that makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t keep staying up all night, learning every detail, hoping that by working hard your colleagues or bosses will notice. By doing the same thing, you’ll continue to get the same response
  • The often-taught self-reflection model of ‘think, then do’ isn’t always right.  Sometimes start with the do – test new things, try something different, and learn from the response and success of each. Occasionally feeling deeply uncomfortable in the process is not necessarily a bad thing
  • Leadership almost always requires taking risks in yourself, as well as in your role
  • Signal an interest in leadership in your company, don’t just assume your bosses know that’s where you want to go

Notes from Herminia’s recently published book ‘How to Act like a Leader, Think like a Leader’

  1. Redefine your job
    • The biggest tool to reinvent yourself, to exploit what you do well and explore new things
    • Avoid competency traps (concentrating on tasks and work that you’ve become highly experienced and skilled in, that won’t get you to the job you want). To avoid this, position your job in a way that connects your team and work with other teams in and/or out of your organization. Become an ‘importer / exporter’
  2. Extend your network
    • A good network is critical for effectiveness
    • Fight against your tribal tendency to network with people like you. You need diversity in your network. And fight the feeling that networking is a ‘dirty’ activity!
    • Network up, network down, network across. The value of a network can come from various places and levels.
  3. Be more playful with your sense of self
    • It’s who you are as a person and character that inspires others
    • Being ‘authentic’ can trap you into never getting out of your comfort zone.  There may be a conflict between ‘being myself’ and doing what I need to do to get ahead
    • Learn to be inconsistent at times in order to learn. Who and what you’ve been in your career to date may be different from who you’ll be in the future, and as a leader.
    • Act your way into a new way of thinking, rather than think your way into a new way of acting
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Funding the Females of the Future

debbiewoskowbroadminded

12 Hay Hill, London. September 13th, 2017

Debbie Woskow joined us to talk about her entrepreneurial journey, and her latest venture seeking to redress the imbalance in entrepreneurship between men and women. We were fascinated to hear about the wide array of ventures Debbie has successfully run over the years, and thoroughly entertained by her stories and nuggets of wisdom. We hope all you entrepreneurs picked up some useful advice about how to build your businesses, and for everyone else you were inspired by her story and success.

We’re excited about Debbie’s latest venture Allbright, and see a lot of potential for BroadMinded to be involved in making it a success and vice versa. If you’d like to be the first to know about updates with the fund, latest courses for founders and aspiring founders through the academy, and news for UK female founders, subscribe to the Allbright email list or follow their social media here – www.allbrightcollective.com

Our top 10 takeaways from the night:

  1. 17% of funding last year went to companies with a female founder (shocking isn’t it?). A survey completed by Allbright found that:
  • 1 in 10 women want to start a business but haven’t
  • 1 in 3 women don’t believe they have the skills to start their own business
  • 1 in 3 women don’t believe they have the confidence to start their own business
  • 1 in 2 women don’t believe they have the network required to start a business, and would like a partner to do it with
  1. The most important qualities in a founder – the 3 Gs. Grit, Graph, Grace. It’s good to be bad/ fail at something along the way though – it teaches you empathy.
  2. For each difficult decision and challenge she’s taken on, her mantra is ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ You need to be willing to take the risk.
  3. Your business will never end up as you envision it will at the start. Your ability to move with change is what makes it work.
  4. Be realistic about what your idea really means in terms of business model – their idea for an online home swapping business turned out to be 80% customer service reps which was not what they had imagined.
  5. Sometimes you need to be patient for inspiration to strike. And always turn up, however unexcited you are to go to an event or meet new people. You never know who you will meet. Debbie met the buyers of Love Home Swap at a conference she didn’t want to attend, and her co-founder of Allbright at a party she didn’t want to go to.
  6. Think about how you can amplify your thoughts and perspective for the good of your industry, not just your business. Raise your head above the day to day operations.
  7. As an entrepreneur, you need distractions along the journey. It can feel like forever from launch to exit / maturity otherwise. And have a good team around you to keep you going.
  8. The key requirements to be successful as an entrepreneur are 1/ money 2/ skills 3/ confidence 4/ space. Get up early and get ahead of the day. Debbie gets up at 5.20am for a morning boxing session – you need structure and discipline to fit everything in.
  9. Don’t raise money from wankers, don’t hire fast, develop a thick skin. And surround yourself with your girl gang (something BroadMinded can help with!)

Growing up on 1980s Wall Street

lawtonfittbroadminded

South Kensington Club, London. October 18th, 2017

After a healthy, or rather hearty, dinner of pizza and wine we sat down with Lawton Fitt to hear about how she managed through a career arguably the most competitive company in the world, during a period when you could count the number of female leaders on one hand. Lawton gave us the kind of advice you want to print off and read whenever you feel your career, or life, has jilted off track. For as Lawton said, ‘you are living a life, not just having a career’ so don’t beat yourself up about the ups and downs on that journey. A career is a marathon, not a sprint, after all.

About Lawton

Lawton Fitt cut her teeth at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street during the swashbuckling era of the eighties. It was seven years into the job before she encountered another woman in a meeting, and she was regularly asked for directions to the bathrooms or told to send a fax. Lawton ran the bank’s tech IPO business during the first internet boom in the nineties and became the first female partner of the equity division in 1994. She retired from Goldman Sachs in 2002 and took on a very different challenge: running the Royal Academy of Arts in London. An American who splits her time between New York and London, now Lawton’s portfolio of corporate and non-profit positions include a board role at the Carlyle Group private equity firm.

  • Take responsibility for your own career
    • Don’t rely on your organization to manage your career for you.
    • Make lists at what you’re good at, and what you’re not. Be honest with yourself and play to your strengths.
    • Define what success is for you, without being influenced by what others see as success. Don’t let your decisions be driven by what will look good on your CV.
    • Take feedback regularly. Ask for it, listen to it dispassionately, and value it.
    • Find and invest in your mentors. These relationships are your responsibility to make productive.
  • Believe in your value
    • Try not to fall victim to imposter syndrome.
    • Most women believe they must command 100% of a job to do it well. Men believe they must command 70%, and can wing it for the remainder. If your standard is perfection, then you’ll always feel like you’re coming up short.
    • Remind yourself that you are where you are because you are good at what you do, not because your boss likes you. You were hired, you were not adopted!
    • Communicate your value to your boss. This is not just about getting ahead, but this is part of your actual job. It means your boss knows what is happening, and can feel good about what your team is doing.
  • Learn to love risk
    • Be open-minded and keep looking up. It’s too easy to be looking down, concentrating on perfection, and missing the opportunities that arise around you.
    • Keep talking to people – colleagues, people senior to you, people junior to you, friends, BroadMinded members….
    • Do your due diligence before taking a risk. Ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen to me? If you can live with that thing, then you’re ok.
    • Accept the possibility you could fail. As with every failure, you’ll grow resilience.
  • Learn to lead
    • The transition from a doer to a leader is not smooth
    • Watch leaders that are really effective. Think about what makes them so persuasive, and try and adapt it to your character.
    • Don’t assume you’re either born a leader or not.
  • Invest passion in your work
    • Be someone that creates energy at work, not someone that depletes it. Be a champion of your organization.
    • To be passionate is to be focused. Make lists of other things you want to do and put it aside; allow yourself to focus on what you need to do now.
    • If you don’t feel passionate about what you do, really think about making a change. It’s a great shame not to feel passion, at least most of the time.
  • Don’t forget life is happening while you’re working
    • Sometimes you’ll make life decisions that might hold back your career – for your husband or for your kids. Sometimes that is ok. (Lawton moved to London for her then boyfriend’s job, something that held back her career for some years. Her boyfriend is now her husband of 32 years, so she’s confident it was the right move!)
    • To have a broader perspective on life and interests outside of work will most likely help you in your career. And make you happier.
    • The speed and the way you’re running your race in life may change – that’s ok. Give yourself that freedom.

Brave New World of Technology

Harriet green broadminded

IBM HQ, London. November 30th, 2015
Whatever industry you work in, technology, big data and artificial intelligence will play an increasingly pivotal role, but women continue to lag men in the skills necessary to manage this changing landscape. While many of us may not aspire to be a coder or data analyst, having a grasp of how to take advantage of new technology and manipulate data may differentiate you from the crowd.
Harriet Green, global head of Watson Internet of Things, education and commerce, former Thomas Cook CEO and 2013 winner of Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the year, joined us to talk about her own personal career, the implications of technological progress for women’s careers, and the importance of relearning to adapt to this new world. We were thrilled to have Harriet joining us for the evening, and were very inspired by the evening.
For those of you not there, we had a few very important takeaways

1. Women should be acquiring skills the world needs. e.g. digital skills. There are only 16% women in the tech industry.
2. Chose carefully the person you will work for, rather than the organization. Look for the person who will nurture your development.
3. Know yourself: know what makes you tick.
4. Seek out experiences that are outside your native language and comfort zone.
5. Take a bit more risk.
6. Don’t take yourself too seriously, on the upturn or on the downturn.
7. Great leadership is the will to lead and the will to learn. Be good at the here and now as well as the bigger picture.
8. Don’t be obsessed with what people think. Worry less about being loved and more about being respected.

[And lastly…it’s all about “asset management…”]

Fighting Unconscious Bias from Within

Genderbiasbroadminded

WeWork, Holborn. June 6th, 2017

With Christobal Smales, top solicitior at Pemberton Greenish and Annie Auerbach, a specialist in working culture intelligence

Research shows that unconscious bias can heavily influence recruitment and promotion decisions. It is one of the major obstacles to gender equality in a workplace. So what can we do to identify this bias in our workplaces? Is it something that we might even be prone to? And what can we do to eradicate it? Our panel discussed their insights and experiences of this much misunderstood phenomenon, as well as offered some great advice on how to combat it.

Our two speakers offered very interesting perspectives on unconscious bias we can all be guilty, as well as victim, of. From Christobal’s personal experience taking her wedding ring off for an interview, to Annie’s own experience going back to work, we appreciated greatly their honesty, openness and insight.

What exactly is unconscious bias? We googled it.

“Unconscious biases are the result of our limited cognitive capacity; we implicitly and automatically both group and categorise people to avoid having to conduct completely new assessments for every new person. Unconscious biases are our unintentional people preferences, formed by our socialisation and experiences, including exposure to the media. We unconsciously assign positive and negative value to the categories we use.”

As Annie discussed, there are multiple studies that provide evidence that unconscious bias continues to infiltrate almost every decision made within businesses, from hiring decisions affected by the age and marital status, to promotions and partnership decisions. These biases start at very young ages, exacerbated by advertising promoting ideas of who boys and girls are. Sadly we weren’t surprised to hear that results from a Princeton study showed that by the age of 6 years old, girls assume that boys are more likely to be ‘really really smart’ than girls (ugh)

We learnt that unconscious bias can take varying forms. Affinity bias results in people looking for others that mirror their same qualities. When there are more CEOs called John in the FTSE 100 than there are women, this makes it difficult for women to get hired or promoted to the top. There is also Halo bias, which results in people looking for a particular attribute they consider attractive (read not great at public speaking, but went to the same school as me).

So what can companies do to fight against this?

– companies can commit to drawing up 50/50 male/female short lists when recruiting for new roles

– ensure both women and men are on hiring teams

– commit to pay equality

– measure the value people bring to a role, rather than the hours spent sitting at their desk

And what can we personally do?

– Call it out!

– Check ourselves, and the assumptions we make about peopl

– Be conscious of how we raise our kids about gender roles

We recommend everyone to fill out the Harvard unconscious bias test which can be found here – our results from this suggest we have further work to iron out our own unconscious biases!

Inspiring Girls to Dream High

Broadminded Miriam-Gonzalez-Durantez

WeWork, Soho, March 22nd, 2017

Miriam is founder and chairwoman of Inspiring Women, a UK mentoring campaign which now has a global focus on raising the aspirations of young girls around the world by connecting girls and female role models. Miriam re-ignited the fire in our mission to educate the next generation of girls to be strong women, and personified a BroadMinded role model – ambitious, focused, and pushing to take other women with her to the top.

Some of the insights Miriam shared were shocking but maybe not surprising; that
confidence starts to drop for girls from as young as 10 years old, that girls start to believe their career opportunities are limited to the 5 Cs (caring, catering, cashiering, clerical, cleaning) from as young as 6 years old, and that girls stop speaking up when boys are in the classroom. Clearly there is a lot of work to be done encouraging girls to share the confidence young boys have in their abilities and position in the world.
We hope you were therefore inspired to join her brilliant campaign Inspiring Women – they ask for only one hour of your time to spend at a local school sharing details of your work and career to inspire young girls about the options available to them. We’re signed up already!

Click here to read more about the campaign

Financial New Year Resolutions – starting 2017 on the right foot

WeWork, Holborn. February 7th, 2016

For this important topic we were excited to have both Claer Barrett, the FT’s award-winning personal finance editor, and Emilie Ballat, the founder and CEO of Vestpod, an exciting start up designed to help women get smart about money, to lead a full and frank discussion. We were thrilled with the value of the advice offered by Claer and Emilie, and the quality of the questions afterwards. As one of our members said afterwards, who knew finance and investment advice could be so interesting!

We always pick the top 10 lessons we learn from an event, but this time we had pages of the stuff! With much difficulty we whittled it down:

  1. Women are statistically not as good at managing their finances as men, but changing this bias will be increasingly important – by 2028 women will inherit two thirds of the world’s wealth
  2. “Expenditure rises to meet income” – be warned! Commit to putting time aside to manage this on a regular basis, looking at this once a year isn’t sufficient.
  3. A good rule of thumb is to spend 50% of your salary on fixed expenses, invest 20% of it, and leave 30% for additional spending (the fun stuff). Look at new challenger banks such as Monzo who provide a brilliant interface to show you how you’re spending your money
  4. Save! Even if it’s small, the benefits of compound investment will start to benefit you. Look at investment or Lifetime ISAs. Women are over invested in cash ISAs which offer very low returns
  5. Additional income can be put to overpaying your mortgage to reduce future mortgage repayments (although in this interest environment that may not be the best use of cash), or go and talk to your HR teams about over investing in your pension – a highly tax efficient way of saving for your future.
  6. Ask for pay rises – while women ask just as much, we don’t have as much confidence we’ll get it. Don’t expect to be recognised and paid more by osmosis, you need to regularly communicate the value you add to your company. Don’t just wait until your pay review to do this.
  7. Passive investment funds are more often a better investment than active investment funds.
  8. If you want to invest in individual shares, make sure it’s money you can afford to lose. It is a gamble.
  9. If you need to manage down credit card debt, move the debt to a zero interest credit card. Divide the balance by the number of zero-interest months offered, and set up a direct debit to pay this much each month. Then cut up the credit card until you’ve paid it off.
  10. Pension or mortgage – ideally both. You shouldn’t look to sacrifice one for another

And remember, April is just round the corner so you should be reviewing your Finances and particularly ISAs now before the end of the tax year. Go forth and manage those finances!