Empowering Change: Insights from the Women in Transformation Breakfast

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I recently had the wonderful opportunity to attend my first Women in Transformation Breakfast hosted by Sullivan & Stanley. Surrounded by remarkable female leaders in transformation, we came together to discuss the topic of inclusion. It’s hard to put into words the amazing impact this event had on me. From the incredible women I met to the stimulating conversations we shared, the experience left me feeling inspired and eager to continue the dialogue. This blog post aims to share some of the insightful discussions we had during the event.


Making an Impact: Navigating Inclusion

Our first discussion centred around the question: “How do you inspire and make an impact in your role?” We explored various aspects of inclusion in the workplace, highlighting both the challenges and opportunities. We talked about the importance of having diverse perspectives in decision-making processes, which can lead to more inclusive practices. An example was shared where a female leader intervened during a promotion discussion requesting the room not assume whether a woman wanted a promotion or not and instead ask her, highlighting the benefits and importance of female representation in leadership roles

We also discussed the issue of attrition rates among women as they advance in their careers, especially in certain industries like law. A Harvard business review article highlights that at entry level the balance is predominantly 50/50 with this reducing to 21% in C-Suite positions. The need to equip leaders with the skills to champion diversity effectively was discussed and it became clear that driving change is not just the responsibility of organisations, but individuals as well. With inclusion being seen as a ‘buzz word’ by some we discussed the sense of “inclusion fatigue” in some corporate environments.  An example shared was an organisation running a corporate diversity training one day and actors openly displaying non inclusive behaviour the next – not one employee spoke out despite actively participating in the training the day before. The room discussed how to respond to this fatigue, the importance should not be placed on corporate campaigns and agendas but instead ensuring everyone in the room is seen, heard and recognised.


Nurturing the Next Generation

As our conversation progressed, we turned our attention to the age at which gender disparities begin to emerge and how we can empower the next generation to overcome these barriers. We were shocked to reflect on the Always ‘like a girl campaign’ showing that young girls experiencing puberty start to internalise societal norms about gender. Breakfast attendees shared their experience with biases towards and from girls and women at different life stages. Attendees also discussed the impact of  the COVID-19 pandemic on young girls gender-based attitudes and behaviours.


Taking Action: Steps Towards Change

The breakfast concluded with a discussion on tangible steps we can take to promote inclusion on a daily basis. We talked about advocating for more inclusive meeting schedules (considering school drop off and pick up times), embracing reverse mentoring, and encouraging vulnerability and empathy in leadership. We also reflected on our own biases and conditioning, recognising the importance of holding the mirror up to ourselves and maintaining a level of self-awareness in driving change.


As I left the event, I felt not only inspired but also empowered to make a difference in my own sphere of influence, while reflecting on my own biases and learning opportunities. 


If you’d like to know more about our Women in Transformation Community, we’d love to hear from you at [email protected] or visit https://www.sullivanstanley.com/women-in-transformation/ for more information.

Ellie Jarvie
Written by Ellie Jarvie
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