Gender parity is 217 years away according to the World Economic Forum and the International Women’s Day today is aiming to raise awareness of this inequality and encourage us all to try and bridge the delta.
I signed up for their #PressForProgress campaign a few weeks ago and my personal pledge was to celebrate female role models and their career journeys. Consequently, I decided to reach out to my network of female business leaders and entrepreneurs on LinkedIn to understand more about their own unique paths to success.
I spoke with six senior women who hold key positions in their respective industries or businesses either in the US, UK, Canada or China. Each of them provides a unique insight into how they established their careers, how they tackled gender bias and how they have ultimately succeeded. They all have very different, yet equally fascinating, stories to tell which are the embodiment of what the International Women’s Day is trying to achieve.
This is penultimate interview in the series and in the hot seat today we have communications and media expert, Nikki Mendonça:
After 16 years working for Omnicom, most recently as President of OMD EMEA, Nikki has moved across the pond from London to New York to take up the prestigious role of Global President of Intelligent Marketing Operations at Accenture. Having worked with Nikki, I can tell you from first hand experience that she is quite simply a force of nature. She exudes boundless energy, has a well informed opinion on practically everything and is prepared to defend her point of view with real passion. Given that part of the #PressforProgess campaign is all about valuing “women’s individual and collective success” I asked her what she thinks it takes to be a successful business leader?
“I think of business as a sport therefore I think success demands similar skills: focus, discipline, a competitive spirit and excellent teamwork. Great leadership today requires the ability to inspire, motivate and galvanise others to follow your direction.
As companies become more ‘people first’ a very human & authentic approach to team communication is the only way you are going to successfully execute a winning strategy. I have always found success through honesty, empathy & a ‘no bullshit’ approach to making things happen.”
A huge thanks to all the inspirational thoughts provided by my interviewees. The common thread I can see amongst all these incredibly smart business leaders is that they all have unwavering determination, an innate self-confidence and an unrelenting persistence to succeed. Any aspiring entrepreneur or aspiring business leader, from either gender, can learn a lot from these ladies.