Being a powerful woman in today’s digital workplaces
The Google Partner Academy taught three strong Orange Digital women how to best flourish in today’s ever-changing digital industries.
At the end of March myself, Jenna Coles, and Cintia Souza had the pleasure of travelling to Melbourne for a Google Partner’s Academy workshop. As Orange Digital holds Premiere Google Partnership status, we have the pleasure of being invited to workshops held around Australia.
Orange is a workplace that’s very passionate about the team and creating up-skilling and growth opportunities, and it was to our lucky advantage that we were selected to represent the agency at the WomenWill workshop. We were promised an empowering workshop, and that’s exactly what we received.
What is WomenWill?
WomenWill is a Google founded global initiative, focusing on digital programs providing economic empowerment for women. This initiative educates members on biases, industry gaps and advocates for equality and empowerment of women. Google believes digital is their tool for success and aims to use this to make the world more equal — one woman at a time.
When women have equal access to information and opportunity, anything is possible.
Currently, WomenWill is focused on empowering Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Mexico. These countries were chosen as women are found to be at a serious disadvantage or unnecessarily challenged in their workplace. However, this isn’t the only objective of WomenWill the global initiative also focuses on:
What does WomenWill focus on?
The WomenWill session attended by myself, Jenna, and Cintia focused on women in leadership. This session looked at how women are often faced with entrenched barriers in today’s workplace, especially when it comes to leadership roles. This program was designed by women, for women. The training course addresses gender disparities in the workplace. The goal of this course is to foster future women leaders by inspiring and training them to be more successful in their careers.
Sneak peek at the inspiring panellists
A highlight from the day was the incredible panellists organised by Google, in particular, Tabitha Bertron, Head of Performance at Google Customer Solutions spoke on effective communication and teamwork. She highlighted three key tips for achieving effective communication; speak in headlines, cave ‘women’ talk, and less is more. This phrase really stood out to me, and I have often thought about how true it is after the workshop:
“Strong teams are diverse and coachable — don’t hire people that are like you/all the same!”
Finally, Jodie-Marie Preddy, Digital Director at Initiative, spoke on negotiating and mental health. For example, “when negotiating, remove the emotion from it.” Preddy also made it very clear that when it comes to mental health and anxiety “it’s okay, to not be okay.”
Mentoring and Sponsorship
Based on a survey of more than 70,000 employees from a range of 82 companies, women are less likely to have their work showcased when compared to entry-level men. Additionally, results showed women receive less access to senior leaders than men do. Yet employees who interact regularly with senior leaders are more likely:
- To ask for and receive promotions,
- Stay at their companies, and
- Aspire to be leaders.
Only 18% of companies have structured programs in place to develop women’s careers. Therefore, it is now more important than ever that women seek out mentors and sponsors to help better their skills and assist in advancing their career. Often these methods only work well once you have established your own personal brand. Refining your brand includes reviewing your performance (and learning how to articulate your work to others), building a unique images that you are proud of, and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone to gain exposure.
WomenWill MC, Sarah Liu, highlighted interesting areas of psychology, in particular, unconscious bias. Prior to attending the workshop, we were to complete a psychological test which would indicate if we had an unconscious bias towards women/family and men/career or vice versa. To our surprise, most participants had this bias but did not believe they had it.
Sarah spent a fair amount of time talking us through the different types of bias and how to work to prevent it. This isn’t a ‘snap of the fingers and everything is fixed’ type of situation, this will take work.
Sarah stated that this type of bias requires a change from everyone. We need to educate one another on the little things we do that can indicate bias. It’s important to empower one another, we want to empower everyone, not just women. Only then, will we see change.
What did we take away and learn from the workshop?
The WomenWill workshop packed so much information and learning outcomes into one huge day. There is no doubt that we all learnt so much and looked forward to sharing this newfound knowledge back at the office. In particular, I now have a better understanding of the issues surrounding gender disparity here in Australia, as well as across the world.
WomenWill addressed how we can better approach and overcome systemic and personal barriers. I now feel more confident when creating connections and advocating to secure the training I need to progress in my career. Finally, develop a five-step personal plan which will guide me closer towards my career goals.
If you are ever presented with an opportunity to attend a WomenWill workshop, I certainly recommend it. In the meantime, WomenWill has a bi-weekly podcast where top female leaders raise awareness, share their secrets to success, and stories of life and leadership. There is also Google’s free Primer mobile app, where you can learn business and marketing skills, as well as a selection of leadership lessons.
One final thing while we are on the topic of empowering women, some of the Orange team put together a short video about what International Women’s Day means for us. You can check out the video below. #BalanceForBetter