This is my 5th post on the blog, and I’d like to thank you for taking time out to read this post, much appreciated. Please don’t forget to leave your comments below. Let’s engage as I’d like to hear your views on the material that I share on this platform.
I recently attended to the Women In Finance Network Dinner, which was held at Radisson Blu Hotel at the V and A Waterfront in Cape Town.
The Women In Finance Network was established in Johannesburg in 2013 by Kim Potgieter, Director of Chartered Wealth Solutions. The purpose of this network is to create a forum where women who operate within the financial services industry can meet and share their experiences; and in the process mentor each other.
I am very honoured to have been in the presence of authentic, forward-thinking professional women from various backgrounds and nationalities. It was so refreshing to interact with women who operate in different fields within the industry. I was reminded, once again, that a multigenerational workplace is sustainable as I observed women from different generations share and learn from each other.
The guest speaker, Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, spoke about the concept of Mindfulness. She shared her personal experiences and how mindfulness helped her be more present and attentive in daily interactions – both in the professional setting and at home. Her talk was not only inspiring, it was relatable as well.
She shared a few tips on how one can be more attentive and in tune with their thoughts and emotions. She also reminded us that gratitude is a virtue. She urged us to practice ‘Yesterday’s Best Thing’.
Yesterday’s Best Thing is an exercise that must be practiced daily; where you reflect on the previous day and literally think of one good thing that happened. This forces us to remain grateful despite the hurdles we encounter daily.
One of the speakers, Nazmeera Moola, shared the following career advice:
Nazmeera reiterated the importance of having someone to confide in at the workplace. She suggested that we all have a “work spouse”. This is someone you vent to (constructively), seek advice from and basically share your thoughts with. The work spouse serves as a support structure, and you obviously reciprocate accordingly. Nazmeera emphasised the importance of supporting each other as women. She expressed the view that women generally are supportive of each other; and while it is often said that women undermine other women the most, it is certainly not the norm.
Take control of your career
Nobody is responsible for your career other than yourself. Do not sit back. It is important to decide where you want to go, this responsibility lies solely with you – not your employer. Nazmeera emphasised the importance of taking charge of your own career, believing in yourself enough to be able to convince the next person that you actually deserve a certain amount or type of reward and recognition. Nazmeera also touched on the self-limiting decisions we make in our respective careers. A McKinsey study on women in the workplace revealed that, on average, women only applied for jobs where they felt they met all the criteria. Men, on the other hand, applied when they met only 60% of the criteria. Sheryl Sandberg discusses this point in her book, Lean In – which I will review under a different post in due course. Essentially, what Nazmeera is saying is that, we are a lot harder on ourselves than we need to be at times. This can be very limiting.
Nazmeera shared how having a child changed how she viewed herself. Having a child made her realise that she didn’t have to take everything so seriously, in some ways. She learnt not to take things too personally, and this was enormously empowering for her in other ways.
She also shared how empowered she felt after having her child and encourages us women – in particular women with children – to demand flexibility from our employers. (Sheryl Sandburg, in her book Lean In, shares how during her final trimester; she demanded special parking for expectant mothers from her employer.)
Nazmeera’s talk was short, but impactful – I like that.
The above neatly summarises the evening’s events and in closing, I’d like to encourage you to support and mentor one another as far as possible. Let’s change the narrative that women suppress other women.
Remember, empowered women empower other women.
Until next time, love and light.