March 8th is International Women’s Day and this year I was invited to participate in a panel discussion Deepening the Leadership Capacity of Women Today: A Conversation on Action.
The panel prompted me to look into the history of International Women’s Day which originated at the turn of the 20th century as a political movement advocating for women’s suffrage and equality rights. By 1977, the United Nations General Assembly recognized IWD and many countries began to mark the day in different ways – from celebratory rallies to protests.
Around that same time, my mother, Renate, was getting active in the feminist movement in Toronto and discovering firsthand the many obstacles that women had to overcome to achieve equality in the work place. She took me and my sister to rallies advocating for equal rights for women and signed us up for a “boys” baseball camp to make a point to the City which at the time did not offer girls the same chance to play ball and attend Blue Jay games. We were invited instead to attend the “girls” camp where we would learn to cook and apply makeup. I’m not kidding.
My trailblazing mother taught me to challenge discrimination and prejudice, speak up against injustice, and advocate for change through education and collaborative action. As far as role models in my professional life, my mother is number one!
I recently talked to Renate about her accomplishments as the head of an academic institution in the late 90s. She told me about how she tried to change the employee relations culture. At that time, labour negotiations were male dominated and followed an adversarial model. Renate made it her mission to be participatory, collaborative and less hierarchical, without compromising on results. When I asked her what made her most proud, she said: “When the union leader hugged me after the negotiations concluded, I knew I had made a positive impact. Our focus had shifted from an us and them mentality to finding mutual gains. That was good for everyone and meant a lot to me personally.”
I have learned so much from my mother and many other wonderful women in my life about what it means to be a strong and caring leader, a competent professional, a good colleague, and a supportive friend. To all of you, I will be celebrating your influence and wisdom on International Women’s Day.
Today, I invite you to think about a woman who made a difference in your professional life.
- What impact did she make?
- How can you share what you learned from her?
- What will you do to acknowledge and celebrate?
If you are in a role of influence in your organization, or someone who wants to better support the women leaders in your life, join us on March 8th (11 am – 12 pm ET) for a candid conversation about how to support and strengthen the women among you. Men are not only welcome to attend but must be a part of the dialogue for change to happen.
NEW AND NOTEWORTHY
Women in leadership positions are facing extraordinary pressures these days, particularly with the extra stresses of the pandemic. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Vision Coaching is convening a panel of female leaders to discuss how to better support and strengthen the leadership capacity of women today. Hosted by Dave Veale, founder of Vision Coaching, featuring highly respected leadership coaches Lisa Haydon and Lianne Krakauer joining with career & HR strategist Shauna Cole, we will be discussing some of the challenges and opportunities for women in leadership positions today.
This is a FREE LIVE VIRTUAL EVENT for women in leadership positions in any organization, female entrepreneurs, CEOs and other senior leaders, HR professionals and others who support leadership development, and anyone interested in fostering women in leadership positions today.
Topics to be covered include:
I look forward to seeing you at the webinar!