Sian Whitnall and Laura Nice, co-CEOs of OMD Australia, generously shared with B&T a thoughtful letter on all women thriving and striving in their careers.
Nice and Whitnall’s words are the perfect pre-read as we gear up for our annual Women In Media Awards…
Whilst this is a letter to all women, let’s first acknowledge that we are all different and unique within this collective group. The result of our own personal experiences is what shapes us as individuals and what leads to more diverse thinking in the workplace.
In our letter to you, we encourage everyone not to shy away from who you really are. You are the product of your life experiences, and let’s be honest, not all of them are good, but often we learn the most from the hardest ones.
The reflection and lessons you take along the way are what make you the leader, the role model and the person you are today.
Far too often, you hear that you need to act into the role you want or ‘fake it until you make it’ – but our advice is the opposite. We urge you to lean into what makes you, you.
As females in leadership roles, we have an incredible opportunity. Fortunately, we are making great strides and moving towards an environment where expressing empathy and vulnerability no longer count against us.
In fact, previously, it would have potentially created bias in how we were treated or created ceilings in our growth that didn’t exist. A better understanding of the importance of these traits in leadership is now unlocking the very doors that might previously have been closed.
Recently, we spent time together as an OMD executive team, understanding the individual experiences that have shaped each one of us.
Why? Because in doing so, we better understand each other. We better understand our vulnerabilities and gain insight into how our actions are being interpreted by others and how our conversations impact those we work closely with.
Each team member walked us through their life journey, from childhood to the present day and within that, shared the highest of highs and lowest of lows. We were at our most vulnerable by sharing our most personal life stories.
Confronting… yes. But the goal was not to force people to overshare or make them uncomfortable. It was to level the playing field and better understand the individuals that collectively make up our team.
Since that day, we now have a shared understanding and empathy toward each other’s experiences. The exercise has allowed us to have greater consideration of the conversations we’re having, how we work with each other, and the impact we have on those around us.
So, to those of you who feel like you need to put on an act, or put on a work game face, our advice would be, don’t. These classically ‘softer’ traits, which would have been hidden from view, are now the collective superpowers that we should be leaning into to deliver better experiences, role models and leadership for all.
Whether at work or home, it’s time to embrace and lean into what makes you, you.
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