Jane Ollis: Women inspire others as leaders

If you want a high energy debate, then I highly recommend one around gender diversity in the workplace and leadership roles.

Last month the IoD and event partner Outset UK put together a panel-led conference, chaired by KM Group business editor Chris Price, which revealed new layers of cultural complexity around this issue.

My own experience, growing up as a woman working in the UK, was that I was made to feel pretty average.

The panel debate on gender balance at work held at the Tudor Marriott Hotel in Maidstone
The panel debate on gender balance at work held at the Tudor Marriott Hotel in Maidstone

It was only moving to Australia that I discovered that out there they measure you on capabilities, not gender or status.

At a very early point in my career, I landed a fantastic chief executive role in a very male-dominated Aussie blokey industry.

Winning the job was one thing but then came the bigger task of delivering and gaining acceptance from my peers.

This didn’t take too long, as everybody was very accepting of the pommie girl and was cemented the first time they called me “mate”. Thank you Australia.

My advice so us ladies is to be and act confidently.

Research has shown that we are less confident and less likely to rate ourselves as highly as effective leaders when compared to men, despite the fact that we are equally as capable and competent.

Women are transformational leaders, who seek to inspire and coach those around us, great at influencing and collaborating with others and strong communicators.

If you would like to network and meet and get inspired by some great women, then book yourself in for our event on International Women’s Day 2018 on March 8.

For details of this and other upcoming local events please go to www.iod.com/events-community/events

Or to get in touch, please drop me a line at chairman.kent@iod.net

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