Recognizing Women in Leadership

Every March, we celebrate Women's History Month. This time last year, I blogged about the 100th anniversary of Women's Suffrage, marking a century of women winning the right to vote after decades of struggle. A year later, so much has changed, and the lives of all women have been so affected by the pandemic we've endured. You may have seen the reports of a recent McKinsey study that noted that the impact of COVID-19 has been more severe for working women, and the troubling news that women are leaving the workforce in large enough numbers that decades of progress for women in the workforce have the potential to be erased.  

As the pandemic has worn on, we've worked hard to enable flexibility for our working moms, and where operations rendered that less than feasible, we've helped with access for childcare facilities and alternatives. I'm grateful for the many women across the Company who've stepped up in times of need – for the Yoh health care professionals who staff the testing and vaccination facilities, to the operations employees on the front lines hard at work who took the time to craft much needed protective masks for our essential workers, and to the working parents who have been getting it done for D&Z while also managing the needs of children learning at home. That burden has, in many cases, fallen disproportionately hard on women in the workforce, and we appreciate everything you've done and continue to do. Thank you.

March 8th marked International Women's Day. The theme for this year is "Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world", recognizing the challenges women continue to face, while navigating our current reality. As a woman in a leadership role, I want to personally share my commitment to ensuring that Day & Zimmermann is a workplace where women can build their careers, can thrive, and can continue to develop and advance. I feel honored and privileged to lead the HR team, who share my commitment to making D&Z a place where everyone can have their voices heard, and can do their best work.  

So how can we all help make that happen? Sometimes it's through the little things:  

  • Have you ever been talked over in a meeting? (Yep.) Be an advocate for your colleagues, and if you see that happening, step in and remind the group that someone is trying to weigh in, or follow back up to capture their thoughts, such as by stating, "You looked like you were about to say something…I'd love to hear from you." (If you're a in a leadership role, that is doubly important to do.)  
  • Have you ever had someone else take credit for an idea? (Also yep.) There are good ways to advocate for yourself, such as mentioning that you would be glad to partner in making your idea a reality. 
  • Ever had someone dismiss an idea before you got the chance to fully articulate it? (Yep again.) When the person dismissing you finishes speaking, start over again by saying "I don't think I had the chance to fully articulate my idea, so let me finish my thought." Utilize the language from "Opening Doors to Teamwork & Collaboration" tclarify how strongly you feel about it. "This is a stake" helps signal that you're serious about it, but open to discussion, for instance. Please note: "Opening Doors to Teamwork & Collaboration" is a book that provides a great framework for how we need to work and communicate as we achieve our goals and objectives. You can learn more here.
  • Look for ways to help women thrive and succeed. Share your experiences – what's worked and not worked throughout your career. Showcase and express appreciation for what individual women bring to the table. And when you go up a step, turn around and extend a hand to the person behind you so that they might also succeed. Success then becomes a mutual thing: it's an "and", not an "or".  

I recently came across a quote from Maya Angelou, which I thought was just beautiful, and I wanted to share it with you as food for thought. 

 "I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life."

~ Maya Angelou

And I'd add: Do something great in this life, too. You know you can.