Opinion

‘Never miss the chance to make a worthwhile comment’

We were delighted to host our inaugural Women in Leadership Alumni event last week bringing together our recent graduates and current alumni to network and hear from three inspiring leaders from key industries.  Joining the speaker panel were Carole Edmond former CEO from Bright Horizons, Harry Berry,  non-Executive Director BT and  Bridget McIntyre, founder and owner of Dream on, a community interest group helping women achieve their best.

Our Women's Leadership Programme is designed to equip women with the ability to help evolve workplace culture and to work with employers to remove the workplace barriers to gender equality, and our speakers gave practical real-life examples to support this.

Carole Edmond, former CEO of Bright Horizons and currently completing a PHD in Female Attainment and development, covered many barriers for Women in Leadership today, including the interesting subject of the ‘imposter syndrome’.

Imposter syndrome can be experienced by both male and female managers. It is where people feel as though their successes and promotion are due to accident or luck, not their own ability. However, there are several McKinsey reports into gender diversity which support the theory that more women are likely to experience this syndrome, and this could be one of the elements which prevent more women from progressing to the top. Despite having all the knowledge, intelligence, skills and expertise, some women are held back by their own self-doubt when it comes to climbing the career ladder. They may feel unable to put themselves forward in meetings, or share their views, even if they have something extremely valuable to say, purely because of a niggling doubt as to whether they are an ‘imposter’ in the meeting in the first place.

It is this type of conflict in confidence which is one of the many issues covered throughout the Women's Leadership Programme, alongside organisational barriers. It is featured as part of some of the key lessons some of our previous Women's Leadership Programme delegates described as learning, with the top piece of advice shared being to be ‘proud of who you are’.

In an extremely engaging speech Carole shared some words of wisdom to encourage those who feel they may be affected by the imposter syndrome. She reminded us all to ‘have a voice and expect to use it’. And backed this up by reminding everyone to ‘never miss the opportunity to make a worthwhile comment’.  These words resonated with all of us, and we hope they will with you as well.

The next Women's Leadership Programme will begin in January 2016. To find out more email Lucy.Plumb@prs.uk.com to reserve your place.