Gender parity is 217 years away according to the World Economic Forum and the International Women’s Day tomorrow 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.
In the hot seat today we have entrepreneur and LinkedIn personality, Michaela Alexis:
Ottawa based Michaela is something of a celebrity on LinkedIn having over 100,000 Followers on the platform, she is a regular speaker on the topic of personal branding and is also recognised as a pioneer in the use of short form content on LinkedIn. She also talks very candidly about her life including how she went from “penniless to President” of social media marketing agency Grade A within the space of a year. I asked Michaela how she had faced up to the challenges of being made redundant and how she reinvented herself at the tender age of 30 to become such a successful female entrepreneur:
“I think the most important thing that I did when I was laid off was allow myself space to grieve. We think that grief only happens when we lose something we love, but it can also apply to ideas that we have about who we are. I was laid off a month before I turned 30 years old, and I had all these ideas growing up about what 30 would look like. I thought I’d have it all together, but what I found was that I was still at the starting blocks on my career. I had to come to terms with the fact that my actual life didn’t follow the blueprint in my mind, and that was alright.
“The second step for me was to redefine success. Success couldn’t be about a salary, position, or size of an office. It had to mean more than that. Those things wouldn’t make me jump out of bed in the morning. I had to take a good look at what truly fueled me and make personal growth my top goal.”
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.