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International Women’s Day – Leadership at its finest

To celebrate International Women’s Day we spoke to some inspiring women leaders here at Alberts from various industries, about their experience and advice for younger women. We are proud to have these strong leaders as our members, setting examples for younger women across the network. Let’s find out what they said…

 

Asha Lal

Cushman & Wakefield, Manager Strategy

 

  • What first drove you to your industry?

I was looking at working with a company who support and grow women in the workplace. Cushman & Wakefield was named to Forbes’ list of the World’s Top Female Friendly Companies 2021. It was an exciting opportunity to be able to join an industry leader in the commercial property sector.

 

  • What motivated you to step up and become a leader in the organisation?

I’ve enjoyed working in leadership roles previously and my current manager encouraged me to move into this role.

 

  • Describe your leadership style and how you “lead” others?

My key strengths include being self-aware, a good problem solver and communicator, having excellent time management skills and being an empathetic listener. These strengths have helped me develop into who I am today and to lead others with the same skills and values.

 

  • Who inspires you and why?

I’m inspired by women closest to me, who in tough times still wake up every day and choose to work towards their goals.

 

  •  What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

There’s an unspoken bias in our community of same-gender bullying. Break the bias, always be the woman that encourages and uses her voice to have a positive impact on someone’s day.

 

  • What advice would you give to young women entering this profession/organisation?

Have a group of women around you that help you grow; your cheer squad.

 

Sarah Bailey

Graham Consulting, Director

 

  • What first drove you to your industry?

I came into the industry 20 years ago! Gosh back then I think I was drawn to the people interaction and the client development.

 

  • Describe your leadership style and how you “lead” others?

I enjoy seeing people develop! Everyone is different and I do my best to adapt. I like to see people learn early on in their careers to make decisions themselves and learn from this. I like to create an environment where they feel like can do this, but I am also here to ask questions!

 

  • Who inspires you and why?

Working with a variety of clients, and watching individuals and companies evolve.

 

  • What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

Firstly, make sure you can have fun at work, so important especially when things get tough. Aim high, stay consistent and things will happen!

 

  • What advice would you give to young women entering this profession/organisation?

If you enjoy people, listening a lot and you love a busy work environment recruitment is a great option .. there is never a dull moment!

 

Nicola Tocker 

DCF, Senior Project Manager

  • What first drove you to your industry?  

I moved to Perth, Australia after University and joined a great team where I had a really formative and empowering mentor. I then worked in London for Mace, which is a large, progressive, innovative construction company – this was significant in keeping me excited about construction and the opportunities, it is always changing and always challenging.

 

  • Describe your leadership style and how you “lead” others? 

I think as a Project Manager, the first thing you need to do is gain the trust of your team – do what you say will, and expect that from them in return. Clear expectations and a focus on the bigger picture to keep it all real.

 

  • Who inspires you and why? 

My mum is biggest inspiration – she started a business out of our spare bedroom when I was 7, she now has a team of 100+ across New Zealand– she has innovated, adapted and grown, all the while being the best mum and great role model to my brother and I!  

 

  • What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders? 

Go for it! Females tend to have huge (often unfounded) self-doubt – we need to let go of this, and trust our abilities.

 

Alishia Smart,

L’Oreal, General manager, Professional Products

 

  • What first drove you to your industry?

I began my work career as a hairdresser, I fell in love not only with the beauty side of the industry but the personal connection we have with our clients. Our industry is the only service in the world where you are inside a client’s personal space within the first moments of meeting them. It’s such a unique personal transformative relationship, I love the connection directly to the consumer.

 

  • What motivated you to step up and become a leader in the organisation?

L’Oreal is an iconic leader in beauty and no doubt leads the way in beauty. However the company is so much more than that, L’Oreal is very people focused the commitment to ethical ways of working, sustainability, gender equality, diversity inclusion and the training and development is second to none. To be a leader in an organisation that trains you, supports you in both hard and soft skills is a privilege and inspires me to do my best every day.

 

  • Describe your leadership style and how you “lead” others?

I would describe my leadership style as collaborative and inclusive. I learnt very early in my leadership career “you must move the people to move the business” – having an engaged, empowered team is critical to your success. How I achieve this is through ongoing communication – we love a good meeting at L’Oreal, a sharp agenda, gaining agreement and making sure the team are all on the same page really sets you up for success. I also love to celebrate success and wins… I think acknowledgement and a simple “well done” really makes a big difference to a great culture.

 

  • Who inspires you and why?

While I’m not really into politics I do have to say I’m very inspired by Jacinda Arden, not for her political views but for how in extremely trying times she remains composed and manages herself so well. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to be under constant scrutiny, having to be prepared for any question and challenge every day would be extremely gruelling. I love that she had a baby while being Prime Minister, as a working mother myself I admire she proved we can have babies and still be great leaders.

 

  • What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

My advice is don’t be intimidated, and back yourself…. It is so easy to let those nasty voices in your head let self-doubt creep in. Female leaders have strong intuition and empathy – incredible soft skills which are key to being successful in today’s working environment. So embrace what comes naturally.

 

  • What advice would you give to young women entering this profession/organisation?

My advice for any young person is to turn up and be on and engaged, while social media and digital engagement is now part of the working environment, being inquisitive, motivated and willing to take on anything thrown your way still earns you respect. While you may be working in an environment where the management seems a little old fashioned in their thinking just bear in mind you learn from your mistakes and different experiences, that takes time and nothing beats the wisdom of experience.

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