In the second in our series celebrating International Women’s Day, our Chief People Officer, Wendy Christie is in the hot seat. Wendy shares her key takeaways from her career in marketing as a women, and talks about her role models and inspiration, how to celebrate what you’re good at, and the importance of paying it forward.
Strong and compassionate leaders inspire
It’s great to have strong female role models and colleagues who embrace their talents yet are also compassionate and easy to work with.
Wendy finds inspiration from her colleagues on The Social Element’s exec team (Treena, Ashley, Emma and Tamara). Each one brings unique strengths to the party, and the team (and company) is stronger because of it.
Tamara’s compassionate leadership style stands out for Wendy:
“Tamara proves every day that compassionate leadership is not only possible but kind and the right thing to do. It’s also really good for business because it’s a great way to bring the best out of your team.”
Achievement often isn’t enough for someone to be seen as an inspirational leader. They need to be human, approachable and relatable. It’s much easier to find someone inspirational when we can see ourselves in them.
Find – and focus on – your talent
Many of us start our careers somewhat unsure of our abilities and talents, never mind understanding how we can use them effectively.
To her younger self, Wendy would say spend time exploring and understanding what you’re good at and celebrate these strengths. Focus on honing these areas rather than worrying about the things you’re not good at – leave those to someone else.
“We’ve all got something that we’re really good at, that we think everybody can do, but they can’t. So work out what that is, work on it, celebrate it.”
Women often downplay their achievements and strengths. But there’s nothing wrong with knowing what you’re good at, and making it work for you.
It’s important for women to pay it forward
There may be occasions when you’re the only woman (or one of a few) in the company of men, particularly in leadership roles. Having an ally or allies can help you thrive.
Wendy has been lucky enough to work with many strong women who’ve supported and elevated her in the workplace. None of them saw other women as competition or tried to pull the ladder up behind them, instead offering encouragement and support.
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt that battle as a woman in the workplace, and long may that continue,” Wendy said.
Paying it forward is important. If you are in a position to do so, be an advocate for the women just starting out on their journeys in the industry.
Best advice? To understand your strengths
The best advice Wendy has received has been to understand your strengths and to use them to contribute to the team that you’re on. Celebrate your own success and the success of others.
“You’ll be more successful working effectively as part of a team and celebrating each other’s strengths,” she says.
Wendy’s career has been shaped by strong, confident women who aren’t afraid to support and celebrate each other’s success. It’s when we know our strengths and are not afraid to use them that we do our best work.
Read more stories from women leaders at The Social Element: