#MobilizeWomen: ​Change the Future by Creating It

By: Masha Maskina

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Ellevate Network’s 2018 #MobilizeWomen Summit was an all-day event on June 21, which gathered over 300 professional women from different industries and cities across the USA, including eleven women from IPC. IPC was a featured sponsor of the summit, demonstrating its commitment to create a diverse workforce that includes female leaders.

Speakers at the Summit included business leaders, entrepreneurs, writers, journalists, activists, and astrophysicists. It was an important event that highlighted the immense value that women bring to today’s workforce. One of the main topics discussed is how companies can create an inclusive and equal culture for the benefit of all employees. Here were some key points discussed:

  • The private sector has the power and responsibility to assist in the advancement of human rights and the creation of equality. Although we might not be able to change the entire world, we can still influence what is going on in our companies. A successful leader needs to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed. The leader gives rather than takes.
  • Betting on talent is the right strategy for a company in order to be prosperous. Emotional quotient (EQ) is more important than intelligence quotient (IQ). Caring and the little things that make us feel good are important because they drive loyalty and empathy.
  • A sense of belonging comes when you ask questions to understand a person’s background. Sometimes you may not understand, but it’s still important to listen.
  • If company culture includes honesty and vulnerability, it can only add to employee inclusion and engagement. Culture is the north star for Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), so companies need to be constantly learning and reevaluating. Companies will not get there by excluding men, but by including women.

[Related: The Lonely, Critical Role of Change Leaders]

Companies can also create D&I by doing the following:

  1. Establishing values which promote it.
  2. Setting up expectations for leadership behavior.
  3. Using creativity to demonstrate inclusive actions.
  4. Being accountable in performance measurement, based on expectation of behaviors.
  5. Showing examples of what can be done.
  6. Developing engagement surveys.
  7. Listening to people.
  8. Using non-discriminatory language, so that employees know their organization protects them.
  9. Having zero tolerance toward sexual harassment.
  10. Making sure that everyone in the company understands the importance of D&I; companies need to repeat and reiterate its message.

[Related: Seven Benefits of Increasing Diversity in the Workplace]

Other topics of discussion concerned how women can empower themselves and provide support to each other. Here are some of the points that were shared:

  • It’s extremely important for women to figure out upcoming assignments, because people who get the best assignments look like superstars.
  • Women often hear a little voice in their head saying that they are not enough or capable, which should not be listened to. Instead, women should be comfortable in their own skin and listen to their voice in meetings.
  • Women must stop apologizing when their ideas are different. They need to own their seat and know that they are enough.
  • Women need to stop to listening to naysayers and bet on themselves. Studies show that 75% of women who bother to negotiate salaries actually achieve an increase.
  • Allyship: Men should not be afraid to sponsor and empower women, especially since we know that inequality costs a lot of money.
  • It’s very important for women to come together, as they have a responsibility to help and empower each other.

We can change the future by creating it. We know the positive data that shows companies owned by women or where women are on the board perform economically better. Getting more women on boards and in leadership roles give examples and create role models for other women.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the summit and look forward to attending similar events for inspiration, motivation, and networking.

[Related: Five Steps for Building Diversity Awareness — Even if You’re Not a Manager]

Masha Maskina has an background in business finance and has worked in financial services field for the last decade. She is also one of the leaders of the Diversity and Inclusion program at IPC.

Originally published at www.ellevatenetwork.com.

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