On this women’s day, we celebrate our CFO and Head of B2B Partnerships in South Africa, Mandy Muchnick, who shares a few of her insights into being a woman in the workplace.
While society has come a long way, women are still a minority group when it comes to senior roles in the workplace. Women are often overlooked when it comes to promotions, pay and opportunities to take on leadership roles, particularly as they get closer to starting a family. It’s important to support women going through big changes and remain cognizant that 1) careers are long and 2) someone who can keep a small human alive and work at the same time is very capable 😉 Companies, and society at large, often over-index on potential lost productivity of new mothers. Maternity leave is a very short space of time when analyzed against a 40 year career. Companies should support women through the early stages of motherhood and help them maintain their confidence.
When it comes to hiring or promoting, organizations can do better to empower women in the workplace by prioritizing a diverse pool of candidates. A leader of a multinational business in Africa once told me that they refused to make a decision until there was an equal pool of male and female candidates in the running for a role and it transformed their business. When it comes to achieving success in business, having strong female role models and leaders can make a big difference. Seeing women in positions of power can inspire other women to pursue their own career goals and break down barriers in male-dominated fields. When we see other women succeed, it reminds us that we're capable of achieving great things too.
It’s important to remember that as women, we can rise to success while uplifting others. It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that success is a finite resource, especially when there are so few women at the top of their fields compared to men. However, as we learn and grow, we should be looking to mentor and support other women. Having someone who genuinely wants the best for you, regardless of where you are in your career or personal life, can have a huge impact. I’ve seen this first hand. In fact, seeking out mentors and coaches should be a priority for any woman who wants to succeed. Just as high-performance athletes rely on coaches to help them reach their full potential, we should be seeking out those people who can help us do the same. And once we've reached a certain level of success, it's our duty to pay it forward by mentoring and supporting the next generation of women who come after us.
Having grown up playing competitive sport I have always known that there is no short cut to success. Hard work beats talent over the long run almost every single time. In the early days of my career I took responsibility for my own development and made sure I was always learning and growing outside of what was perhaps required in my role. This does not happen between 8-5 and requires discipline and commitment. One of my mentors said to me: don’t worry about money or titles, just run as hard as you can to build up your “Skills NAV”. This advice has stayed with me throughout my career, and I would pass it on to anyone starting out in theirs. Go the extra mile and chase learning and skills as hard as you can in the early days of your career, it will set you up as you face different chapters in your life.
Posted by Mandy Muchnick