Tag Archives: Values

For our International Women’s Day event, we decided to turn things around a little and discuss whether some women block other women’s careers. Learn more about the event description, here.

Folllow the Twitter conversation and event highlights, here. If you want to join, please use #WMNIWD

Our wonderful panel was made up of Christine Brendle, Founding Partner of Kids Dailies and Independent Non Executive Director at The Red Flag Group Kimberley Cole, Head of Specialist Sales, Asia at Thomson Reuters andMariko Sanchanta, Asia Pacific Regional Managing Director, Media at Burson Marsteller, with the amusing and candid MJ Jennings, Director, Training & Executive Coaching, Active Communications as Moderator

Brendle: Was the only woman on her first team/ job – and the only one who knew how to use a computer. Therefore, there were no women in senior ranks. After moving to New York, she found supported female bosses… She quotes Madeleine Allbright, “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

Sanchanta: Had good sponsors and mentors as well as some issues – she joined the panel because she couldn’t believe that women would block each other.

Due to a fire, our Hong Kong President, Christina Pantin had to step in for Cole at the beginning. To start us off, she shared some information: For the first time, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y millennials are working together now.

  • Lawyers under 40 prefer working for men who give better direction and constructive criticism.
  • 40% of workplace bullies are women.
  • 70% of the time a woman is bullied is by another woman.

 

 

So, why might women step on each other?
Some women who play the lone female at work might feel threatened by other women that come into the work place. When women work together and become friends, they might also share some very personal stories and secrets – perhaps becoming a root cause for future bad behaviour with one another?

Cole shares that she tries to see which women at work always have their heads down, and then tries to mention to others about their work, to help them connect with each other.

 

Should women working in Corporations play by the men’s rules?
Sanchanta: I’ve always refused to do so – and I’m a small Asian woman so I just can’t take that presence. I’m feminine and a woman and kept a mix of friends. In my experience a lot of workplaces are gender neutral, for instance after work activities like drinking in the pub are quite inclusive.

Brendle: Those rules exist but I don’t think you should play by them. Moving from France to the US, it was like the ceiling was raised by about 50 meters!

But the same company can be a totally different place depending on the corporate culture there. Encourage women leaders. Think about who is replacing you and what that brings. I’ve seen women who I’ve hired and am grooming take a hundred steps back as they become Queen Bees or try to assimilate more with the men.

Pantin: If a man is running the business, then it is under such rules because women have different career tracks and styles. But until you accept and take into account the different biology, those differences will be clear.

Why do women leave the leadership stream? Do they settle or do they just not want it? Fostering women to move up the ranks to the top is a big change that has to be approached at all levels of the company and management chain.

 

How do you juggle your life balance?
Cole: My kids were born in the UK where maternity leave is fantastic and practical. I came back to Asia to have them looked after!

Women feel guiltier going back to work and feel bad – men take it differently. I don’t think you can have it all, at the same time.

Brendle: For my second child I stopped work and enjoyed it because for my first born, I missed out. When you leave and come back to work it’s great to feel welcome – don’t bring them back and give them a second rate job.

 

Women are delaying careers for their family but might still go for new job interviews while pregnant. What are the compromises?
Sanchanta: Most of my colleagues don’t have wives who work. I have a baby and if I don’t leave by 6.30 I won’t see my daughter – I told my husband to stay home with her tonight instead of supporting me. I couldn’t miss bath time for a whole week but I think some men can.

Audience: I started my own business so that I could spend time with my children, when it became evident that between my and my husband’s career, we had no time at all.

In your early thirties in places like the US, you can’t afford a nanny or day care, so the pay gap between husband and wife determines who goes back to work.

I have three boys – once, they were all under five. I’m aware that my boys can learn why mummy shares responsibilities with daddy and why mummy needs to have a good job. We try to balance it as a team but I know my boys will be future workers. I’d prefer a good hour with them in the evening than time when I’m trying to do all of it, working from home, etc.

Cole: I always intended to have it all and have a career and children. I would have gone back even if my work only covered the childcare, but I was probably lucky to have those six months paid maternity leave in the UK.

 

Who do you turn to when you’re afraid? A cultural shift in your organisation or managing your lives better? What about mentors and paid mentors?
Sanchanta: “I’ve had a range of different female mentors in my life – but only ever been sponsored by men (in hiring/decision making positions).

Brendle: I’ve had mostly male sponsors and mentors – usually the same person – but I have also mentored.

I never looked for a mentor but it happens sometimes. At one point I had two men above me in different arms of the company, but I learned a lot. If you’re hiring the staff you might have a lot of wisdom and be a great sounding board.

Cole: I’m task oriented so I needed a sponsor – if that person can be a mentor as well that’s great. I now have one woman who was my mentor but she’s been so elevated now is that she could also be a sponsor. But it’s great to have both internal and external mentors and sponsors, because if people leave, what will you do? You get the balance.

 

How do you celebrate success?
Brendle: If you only have one discussion a year about your pay rise, it’s something that most people don’t feel too comfortable about. Doing this, you have metrics that are measured, and some women feel quite trapped by having men measure this – “oh growth in Asia, well, anyone could do that” – make sure you have your facts and proof behind you. Prepare.

Sanchanta: In Japanese culture you should be humble – so it took me a long time to unlearn these things. Working for American companies, you have to learn to trumpet your achievements.

Audience: Have a yey me folder to track and recall your successes.

JJ: Share feedback about people within the organisation, about a team etc – it will impress managers too. What goes around comes around!

 

What helped you on your journey to keep growing and taking a step forward?
Brendle: I waited ‘til after I was 50 to become an entrepreneur, by enjoying the means I could from corporations. I’m still learning a lot – I’m good with the big picture but I find being detail oriented a struggle.

Sanchanta: I have had several catalysts that make me do things differently. Having a child encouraged me to leave my 15-year comfort zone of journalism. Networking is great and amenable here because of the size of the city. I just keep going and perhaps I’ll end up doing my own thing one day too.

Cole: I like a challenge but the reason I keep taking them is financial independence. I was brought up by a single mother and she always taught me to have options and being able to be in control. 



For our event, Secrets of Their Success: Women in Media Tell Their Career Stories, we invited three panelists: Anne Wong, Director of Strategic Marketing at SCMP; Desiree Au, Publisher of Time Out Hong Kong and journalist and Ellana Lee, Managing Editor at CNN International Asia Pacific. Co-hosted with the FCC, Tara Joseph (FCC President – their first female pres) moderated. For more information on them, please view our previous blog here.

The hashtag for the event is #wmnstories.

The event is exciting for us, from the minute we walks in. “It’s a sexy crowd”, comments Au and another audience member says that since women love to hear about other women, the turn-out should be good. But for us, it’s the whole set-up – it’s almost like a wedding, with name place cards and refreshments laid out before we even arrive.

1_breakfast

Another pleasant surprise comes in the form of a group of Journalism students, who the FCC have allowed in for free. It’s great to see the cohesiveness of this, and I’m interested to hear their feedback afterwards. I hope one of the will write a blog of their experiences at the event. Afterwards, they interview HK Chapter President, Christina Pantin.

As the panel introduce themselves, Wong seems charming and confident. Au is funny and says she probably didn’t even deserve her first job in editorial – she’s modest. Lee says she suffered perpetual jetlag for three years after landing in Hong Kong because she landed on a Saturday and had to be at work by 1am, Sunday. But she knows how to motivate her team – who she likes managing – which is perhaps less usual for most journalists (managing things other than deadlines, I mean). She believes in investing in her team, which makes her sound like the perfect boss.

 

So, what makes work exciting for these ladies?

Wong: “News is a 24 hour business, it could be ideas or news, but the most exciting part of the day is when something new comes up.”

Lee: “Success is 99% good luck and 1% hard work – and I believe in that.” She tells a story of her first days at CNN when she had to ask an interviewee to explain some jargon. The interviewee was so annoyed that someone from CNN didn’t know this, that she hung up. It taught Lee that she always needs to do her homework and that the name CNN was probably why the interviewee had taken her call in the first place. There was a sense of responsibility.

“You will find mentors who will support you and help you get from A to B,” she says. At CNN she’s found her superiours around the region are supportive and willing to give advice. “Be willing to give more than just your job spec,” she says. Advice comes as an added service.

Au: “Life is about someone giving you a chance, like an interview and so on.” Au believes that the generosity of others has helped her, so that should be paid forward.

Wong adds that you should think beyond your job but think about the business and go further than just what your boss told you to do. For her, hard work is about 70% of success. “Chemistry is also important in your work place. Can your boss envision the ideas you have? Is your timing and environment right?” If not, she says you can’t push it further than that. Know when to tell yourself ‘it’s not happening, so move on’.

 

What are their experiences of being a woman in the workplace?

Lee: “My mother worked, in Korea, in the 80s. That was unusual. So my mindset is not really about being a women or a man, just walk in to the room, not thinking you have some deficit.”

Au: “In Hong Kong, I don’t feel like it matters so much if you’re a man or woman – if you break a story, you break a story.” She also thinks that we’re all equal, so when she hears women say “I have family commitments” well, men do too. Au also believes in assimilating. Despite working in an English language publication, Au speaks Chinese at work because her team is predominantly native speakers – and we are in Hong Kong – she feels that expats can likewise assimilate.

Wong: “Media is fairly even – it’s a case of making what you can of it. Various well-known companies do have women in top-level roles here”.

3_panelroom

Is journalism a dying career? Especially with social media, isn’t everyone a thought leader?

Lee encourages students to still go into journalism, because digital won’t end it. It might change the game, but it can be a part of reporting and of course, those platforms aren’t verified. People still want the truth. “It’s healthy for us to have the digital industry, it helps us reach people in far away places and it keeps us on our toes. Verify,” she adds. For the facts, people will still turn to the main, trustable news sources.

Au says that news is personal taste and we know who we want to hear our news from and that having these options helps people to be more interested and involved. People get to know what they want and look for that source. As someone who grew up in the UK, I prefer the BBC for everything, even Wimbledon commentary.

Wong adds that choice is making it better because the audiences know what they want.

Another question brings up quotas because the BBC had said that women should equal 50% of those dispatched to report.

Lee isn’t a fan but has never had to employ or dispatch journalists that way. Au also thinks it’s a dangerous game to play. “How can you put a system in place in an industry that changes every day? It’s about chemistry, not quotas.”

Wong relates to marketing and says “the idea that women and men should be 50-50 is perhaps more of a PR stunt than anything else.” But quotas can be good, she says. “The Women’s Foundation has a 30% quota for boards. If it changes the norm, then it’s not a bad thing.”

 

Is there a difference for women and men in journalism and are women too emotional?

Wong says “well, giving birth is emotional but we handle it quite well!” She adds that there are differences in genders which will change the chemistry and the story. “Women probably have a different emotional approach and reaction to men – a different EQ,” she adds.

Au thinks that men just have a different approach and are more results driven. But Lee, has never really thought about this before and says that empathy is important and perhaps women listen longer to find out what’s behind an interviewees feelings, behaviour and performance. “But in editorial discussions, everything counts. Your age also affects what you are thinking about or care about in your life, so that will be brought to the table when you do your job,” she explains.

 

What do you have to do to be everything you can be?

Wong: “Have faith in yourself and in others and in your future.”

Au: “Hard work and humility”

Lee: “The art of hiring is important. It’s instinctive and gut-driven. I have to think how that person will fit into our environment because every little detail counts so I need everyone in the team to do a good job,” she says, adding, “it’s important also to know you made a mistake and how to amend it.”

 

 

If you have thoughts, questions or readings to share in advance of the event, please talk to us via our social media accounts.

@wmnasiapacific

www.facebook.com/WMNAPAC

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Our next event in Hong Kong, on June 19th, is about your personal brand.

 

This one sparks my interest more than ever, because after setting up my own creative servicescompany, I not only moulded a company around my skills but I became the personal brand through which I was trying to meet clients and earn a salary. Funny how that happens, without you really planning it that way.

For our breakfast event, the objective is to empower women to make career choices that are aligned with their life goals. Making work align with my overall life goals? Wow, that also sounds great. I almost feel a burst of “I can do that?!” even though this is something I’ve been slowly (realising and) doing for the past three years.

 

Our speakers, from Linkage, Vivian Lo and Yulee Teng will share some practical tools for participants to realise and own their goals in order to lead effectively in all aspects of life.

  1. Framework of the 3 Factors of Personal and Leadership Effectiveness
  2. Understanding your values and Defining Your Goals
  3. Women’s Life Cycle and Career Choices:  Making and Owning Your Choice

“What is your personal brand?” asks Yulee Teng. “Knowing what you wish to stand for and how you demonstrate that effectively in pursuit of a happy and successful personal and professional life, is what Personal Brand Management is all about.”

Teng will take us on a guided journey of understanding our own values and needs to be effective in roles that we play in our lives and career. Acknowledging that success may take a different form and definition over the life span of a woman, we’ll explore how tomaintain authenticity while leading ourselves and those around us.

 

 

 

 

But to get you thinking about things before the event, here are some of the things I do, when I’m trying to get my work (therefore, my life) to move in the direction I really want it to.

 

Make a list. It helps you to know what you want. Always have a few things you’re asking for in your life. If you don’t how will you get it?

Think about why. Why do you want that thing? Where will it lead you? What do you need to do to get into position to enable that thing to happen?

Talk to people. Tell them what you want, let it be general knowledge. And listen to what they say. Take note of the overall response you receive, just in case you are crazy… or missing something really important in your idea.

 

Those few things at least, will get you in the right frame of mind for our session. From the point of view of a small business owner, who is basically touting herself in the name of aforementioned business, I’m really looking forward to seeing what skills I’ll learn.

See you there,

Vickie

 

If you have thoughts, questions or readings to share in advance of the event, please talk to us via our social media accounts!

@wmnasiapacific (the hashtag for this event is #wmngoals).

www.facebook.com/WMNAPAC

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