Enacting Change: How to Inspire Female Leadership In Your Organization

September 3, 2016

In the first blog of this series, I delved into how my time at Stanford Graduate School of Business led me to experience change as an action. But how do we enact change in our lives and organizations?

Inspirational Moments Take Bravery

One of my most memorable experiences was listening to guest speaker Renee James, former president of Intel, who left me touched, moved, and inspired about what it means to be a female leader in business. Renee often speaks about diversity in the workplace, and in our session, she focused on developing resilience and bravery as key to leading an organization. To me, being brave means venturing out and creating a new type of service offering in our eco-system like Rep Rides, hiring non-traditional disciplines into tech and training them on our industry and technologies, or becoming the organization that values having an equal ratio of women and men.

Today, we have a scarcity of women in consulting, and I am passionate about being an advocate for change to help us become an organization whose focus on diversity will act as a model for others.

Women Leaders in Organizations

At Stanford, I was blessed to spend time with 24 women executives from around the world who shared their journeys into leadership. We created a Women’s Wednesdays group that allowed us to share our experiences and stories with each other. I began to realize that there were several things we had in common as we grew in our careers over the years:

  1. Mentorship
    Almost all of us had a male mentor who helped to guide, inspire, and often take a stand for our careers. For me, that has been our CEO Eric Berridge.
  2. Confidence
    We had all taken on a challenge, or in some cases, an entire department, in which we did not have extensive experience—but we were all willing to take the risk and try.
  3. Resilience in times of change
    Over the course of our careers, we had all either moved geographically or across departments multiple times.

Female Leaders Taking a Stand

I’ve been in the industry for over 15 years now, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with brilliant, bold, and charismatic women at Bluewolf. Some are my closest friends, and some I see as little sisters, but all fill me with admiration when they enter the room. As I take time to reflect, I’m reminded of how much influence we as leaders have to nurture, mentor, and grow our organizations. Over the years here at Bluewolf, I’ve been lucky enough to co-found the Bluewolf Women Innovators Network, and grow the organization from a small group of talented women who met over lunch at Dreamforce to a network of hundreds in our industry. I've also been involved in developing a community of recent graduates to help grow the next generation of talented women through our ABE program. Moreover, we work with universities and industry groups to develop programs that enable women to re-enter the workforce after building their families.

As you reflect on your career, can you identify actions that we as leaders can do to help each other more? Can you:

  • Create an event that allows women to discuss common struggles around work/life balance, career planning, or every day work challenges?
  • Find one or two mentees within the workforce that you can mentor, or who can be your reverse mentors?
  • Host a lunch-and-learn around a topic that is particularly important to women, such as the power of storytelling, negotiation skills, or developing professional and personal roadmaps?
  • Host a book club around a topic that can drive change at all levels of your organization?

Here are two books that have inspired me, and may be great book club material for women-led discussions.

Women Innovators Network at Bluewolf

How do we become a community of women that supports, motivates, and inspires one another to drive social change in our offices and industry to further diversify the workforce?

Bluewolf founded the Women Innovators Network to celebrate the accomplishments and development of women powering business transformation, at all levels and across all departments. Visit our Facebook page to join the conversation.

 

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