The official theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge. We want to take this day to celebrate the achievements of women, share advice from female leaders, and challenge each other to take action for equality.
We reached out to our Invoca customer family and asked them to share impactful advice they have been given by women and how they are Choosing to Challenge.
Here are the stories they shared:
Ladies, own your awesome. You have so much strength, power and grace. It all manifests in different ways. Find what it is and lean into it unapologetically. For everything else bring curiosity and don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable - because your awesome will help you find your way through any situation.
I’ve always admired Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook), but have been especially impacted by her book, “Lean In”. It dives into underrepresentation of women, but most importantly, how we may unintentionally hold ourselves back. An excerpt from the book that particularly impacted my career was “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.” I immediately began implementing her advice of “Sit at the table, seek challenges and lean in”, by not being afraid to contribute to conversations or accept challenges that represent my abilities.
Watch for the next challenge and be prepared to accept it. I attribute my career success to doing my very best in my current role while being prepared to accept the next challenge. It could be an amazing new project, or increased responsibility, or an entirely different role. My career has been a series of opportunities that I accepted instead of declined. Be brave! You’ve got this!
Someone told me early on in my career "you deserve a seat at the table, your voice deserves to be heard", I've taken that literally and figuratively ever since. I never shy away from taking one of the last seats in a conference room, or hesitate to raise my hand to give my POV, or ask a question. This is important for all women, but especially young women. Be confident, stand tall, let your voice be heard, and presence be known.
Women in leadership and decision-making roles often find themselves at the table surrounded only by men. They can be brilliant, thoughtful, kind men, but they often have a different worldview and approach solutions differently. You have a unique opportunity to use your voice to advocate for the solutions you believe in, to ask different questions, and to articulate opposing viewpoints. Sometimes it won’t seem appreciated or popular, but your perspective is valuable and needed to best represent your team, partners, and customers. And don’t forget to intentionally pour into the next generation of women.
I am indebted to the key women who have been instrumental to my professional and personal growth – they coached me when I missed, encouraged me when I fell, and gave me the courage to try things I did not think I was capable of doing, and I am grateful for the opportunity to pay that forward.
Based on everything I have experienced in my life: Listen to your own inner voice, not someone else's.
My favorite saying right now is "If you do nothing different, nothing changes." A reminder to break out of my comfort zone, explore new ways of doing things, and avoid getting in a rut.
“By embracing your calling and refusing to hide your glow, you wouldn’t just make your world brighter, you’d light The way for The women who come behind you.” — Rachel Hollis
Don't stress out about the things you can't control.
As a businesswoman, you are business first. So don't be quick to weaken your communication when you ARE the expert (Well I'm not positive, but...") and avoid emotive language like "I feel we should do xyz" - use "we should xyz", instead! No businessperson (male or female) should be apologetic about their knowledge or skills.
"Find out who you are and do it on purpose." Dolly Parton
Don't let something that scares you hold you back. I have grown and learned more about myself and who I am from when I have put myself into situations that are outside of my comfort zone. It forces you to work hard, be humble and to always learn from the people around you. Life is more exciting when there is a bit of a struggle to see the reward!
And a bonus round from two of our own Invoca executives!
Keep a notebook of all your"wins" big and small. Go back and read it regularly to boost your confidence. This helps combat impostor syndrome that affects so many people and they rise through the ranks.
I have high expectations of myself and I was struggling when I was a CSM to meet the demands of customers, company and my team. A mentor / boss of mine sat me down and explained it the most simple way. She said, "Jen...your expectations are here [motions high on the scale]. The company's expectations are here [motions in the middle of the scale]. You just need to come somewhere in between the two. And that is good enough." It helped me release some of the unnecessary stress and burden I was putting on myself. 20 years later, I still carry this message with me everywhere I go - in work, life and even as a mom.
To learn more about International Women's Day 2021 and how you can get involved, visit their official website. How will you Choose to Challenge today?