Every year, B&T profiles women doing amazing things in the industry as part of our annual Women in Media Awards presented by Bauer Media.
Today, we’re excited to hear from Aliya Hasan, national head of strategic planning at Vizeum. Check out what she had to say below.
I believe the Women in Media Awards are important because such events are great forums to celebrate and profile the amazing women in our industry. It not only gives a chance to showcase capability and contribution but also serves as recognition of brilliant efforts in an industry that can be quite unforgiving.
I also think that the awards provide a valuable talent identification and career progression opportunity. I’ve had the privilege of being a WIM finalist and must admit the disappointment of not winning was fleeting. Moments after the announcement, I was filled with admiration for the winner. Her achievements made me feel motivated to kick bigger goals and I’ll probably give it another go in the near future!
Another reason I believe the WIM Awards are vital is that they help dismantle the biggest impediment to equality in the workforce, which I think is the unconscious biases we all have. There will always be conversations and social circles that feel ‘natural’. Unless we take the time to reflect and willingly put ourselves in situations of unfamiliarity and discomfort, lasting change will be hard.
Whilst there’s plenty of conjecture out there on gender stereotypes, there are behaviours that ring true from personal experience- things like women often underestimating themselves and understating their abilities compared to men. When I was younger I would always doubt and second guess myself. It’s only with time that I’ve learnt to be more decisive. Looking back, I would have loved support in this area. Confidence is key to self-belief and equality, which is why we need executive coaching and leadership training to be made readily available to women as they rise through the ranks. It can’t be a ‘nice to have’. In my opinion, it’s a ‘must have’.
In everyday situations we must make an effort to recognise our biases and step into the shoes of others around us. We need to bring more empathy into the workplace and our daily interactions. Modern icons such as Jacinta Ardern have repeatedly demonstrated the profound impact of this style of leadership. For me, equality comes from believing that it’s in our hands. Whilst company policies will be a contributor, true change will only come when each one of us has an open mind.
Reflecting on who I am today and my own achievements, I wouldn’t be who I am without the influence of my grandmother. Even though I didn’t know it at the time, I was absorbing some of her resilience and courage. Her actions showed me the importance of backing oneself, against all odds. Despite a rather sheltered aristocratic upbringing, she single-handedly took control of the business after my granddad’s passing and got her three daughters married. She then continued to be a pillar of affection and inspiration to her two granddaughters. I was clearly born into a highly atypical Indian family. It was matriarchal in all its glory. Whilst estrogen levels were at an all-time high, the men in my family taught me a lot as well- particularly the value of patience and pragmatism.
If you were PM, what law would you change/introduce right now to improve equality?
I’d make it mandatory to have a benchmark for various roles (varying by seniority, tenure etc) and make them fully transparent at an organisational level – to both current and prospective employees. Merit should always come before everything else, be it in hiring or progression decisions.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
“Work hard in silence, let success be your noise”. This wasn’t advice per se, but a quote I came across that has stayed with me over the years. I strive to stay hungry and humble as I move through the daily paces of work and family life.