Reflecting on EY's most recent Women in Leadership Summit part of the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 Forum three big things stood out for me:
Undoubtedly we need more men actively engaged around gender and parity. As women we're achieving lots in the the workplace increasing our leadership roles significantly. But while men occupy most of the senior roles it's vital they are also part of the conversation. We need to work together to make real change.
We invited both men and women to our summit but the majority of attendees were women. We know that there are huge bottom line impacts when women are involved so why were so few men interested in discussing how to strengthen the role of women in business? We need both perspectives to strengthen the debate.
Questions for authentic leaders
Margaret Heffernan , entrepreneur, CEO and author of Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes and countless other books and articles had a lot to say about this. “Work out what your game is" was her first piece of advice. She reflected that early in her career she tried matching the style of her male counterparts but quickly learned there was a different way. And it's one she has been advocating to other women leaders since: Don't just play the game - change it.
There was resounding laughter from the audience when Jacqueline de Rojas , President of techUK spoke about "Alphazillas" and the fact that you don't need to leave dead bodies around you to get stuff done elegantly. According to Jacqueline: "Sometimes asking a devastating question can be even more effective.” So, what were the “devastating” questions discussed at the leadership summit? Here are few that I found most thought-provoking. Do you…
And The impact of technology
The Summit also showcased a number of digital and entrepreneurial female thought leaders who set forth a debate about how today’s environment can be a powerful enabler for all leaders, and especially women leaders. But to accomplish this – women need to fully engage with technology. Countless studies show how problematic it is to have few women STEM at a time when STEM fields are ruling the world and it's problematic because:
We also have to teach women about technology. We held a technology master class for summit attendees and we'll be continuing this work stream in the coming year with our Women Fast Forward programme in EY focusing on Digital Leadership for Women. Enabling a culture in which women feel not only welcome but fully engaged is vital to getting women into the game. If you'd like to tell us what particular areas of digital leadership you'd like to develop drop me a line and we can incorporate into our programme of work. Follow our new Women Fast Forward Twitter account to stay up to date for the coming year