Ladies, It’s Time To Nourish Your Confidence
By Nathalie Szwagrzyk, HR Project Manager, MSLGROUP France
How can you ensure your career is on the right track? You start by laying the foundations as soon as possible, but it’s really a constant work-in-progress and will take time. The earlier you start practicing, the more solid the grounds of your progression will be. Read on to learn how women professionals can boost their careers and reach their full potential.
Clubs For Professionals
Networking is an invaluable source of inspiration, collective emulation and strength. More and more large organizations are incubating their own women’s clubs. A group of ambitious women in Publicis Groupe run VivaWomen! which now reaches across the US, France and China. From the female board member with four children eager to share her experience to the junior account executive desperately looking for some mentoring to build her confidence, there is something for women of all ages in these clubs.
You meet women who face challenges, women who’ve been where you are or where you’re heading towards. It’s a glimpse into the possibilities, your potential, and maybe your future.
You could also reach outside of the company and join larger initiatives. In Europe, the European PWN.org (Professional Women Network) is quite famous and you can already find a lot of insightful resources by browsing online (I found the “My first 100 days in a job” self-coaching tool particularly helpful and well-documented).
The Women’s Forum – which is part of MSLGROUP - is also a one of a kind experience for women’s leaders. More than 2,000 women and men meet during 2 days in Deauville, France to “give new perspectives to key issues; to create a powerful, global network; to draw up innovative and concrete action plans to encourage women’s contribution to society and promote diversity in the business world.”
It is a great awareness tool and an incredible opportunity for women to meet talented counterparts from all around the world. And if the introvert in you gets cold sweat thinking about connecting with strangers, some networking tips always help break the ice and get the full benefit from such opportunities.
If you could go back…
While attending such clubs or events, a question that is often asked about career coaching is: If you could go back and tell yourself one thing at the start of your career based on what you now know, what would that be?
There are dozens of examples of role models for working women across the globe who will help you live your ambitions. Here are some examples of famous women leaders that are a source of inspiration to me:
Marissa Mayer (SVP, Google)
In an interview for women 2.0 founding start-ups (a very inspiring and energizing blog by the way, by another women’s club), she recently pointed out that a safe environment where women feel valued and supported, help them build confidence. If you want to have strong female leaders, you need to nourish them and help them grow in the company. When presented with a choice of job opportunities, Marissa suggests we should choose the company (or at least the team) that believes the most in you. This will help you speak up and take on new responsibilities with confidence.
Sheryl Sandberg (COO, Facebook)
Her recent interview about how she leaves work at 5:30PM made quite an impression on the blogosphere. Among many other things, it shows just how much women leaders are reluctant to express how their really want to organize their work – when in fact they should speak up. If making it home for dinner is something you can’t afford to miss, it will probably boost your productivity to be able to do so. Actually, studies show that taking the risk to decrease the quality of your personal time could even be counterproductive as it leads to poor attention at work or even burn-outs.
Christine Lagarde (MD, FMI)
There are many reasons a lot of women are so admiring of Mrs Lagarde: she was the first woman to be appointed at the Ministry of Finance in one of the G8 countries, she is the first woman ever to lead the IMF and most recently Forbes ranked her as the 9th most powerful woman in the world. And even though her leadership is often seen to be tough, her impressive confidence has gained her respect from peers across the board.
When Sheryl Sandberg asked her at the Davos Forum 2012 what advice she had for young women pursuing an ambitious career, she said: “Dare, constantly educate yourself to improve your skills, and feel confident about it – there will be women on the way to help you.”
And having found inspiring role models at MSLGROUP, I couldn’t agree more with that!
- The ‘On/Off’ Balance - by Nathalie Szwagrzyk, HR Project Manager MSLGROUP
- Maurice Levy & Laura Desmond On Women & Careers
- Women In Charge: Newsrooms
- The Importance Of Women In A Nation’s Development
- The Missile Woman Of India
- A Conversation with Diana Steeble: young, dynamic, passionate and ranked among the ’40 under 40′ by PR Week.