“Aspire to Lead” Workshop Series # 2 – recap

Posted By on May 1, 2014

Despite the rain and sullen skies, we had a great turnout in our second workshop held on Tuesday 29th April. Stephanie Hough, Campus and Relationship Manager at PwC, welcomed attendants and introduced them to Kaajri Vaughan, a Senior Manager in Tax and Private Clients at PwC Melbourne.

Stephanie started off by refreshing attendants’ memories of some of the material covered from the first workshop with another pop quiz on female leadership.

Bonus question for those who were not able to make it: do you think the advancement of women in leadership roles has increased, declined, or plateaued over the past decade?

The advancement of women in leadership roles has actually plateaued over the past decade. What does this all mean though? Why is the lack of women leaders a problem?Out of the many reasons brought up from discussions around the room, Kaajri mentioned how 007employees in large firms are still predominantly male, and that simply does not provide new female employees a positive role model to relate and aspire to. These female role models could be women who balance both family and career, and without one, females may feel that it is not achievable to balance both out.

Stephanie then continued to explain how women are a critical part of talent pool globally, and companies are in fierce competition for top talent. Looking towards the future, innovation and new ideas requires diverse perspectives and women have that different input that companies want.

How does this impact you?

For women: your generation has the opportunity to change the landscape so women can fulfill their leadership potential.

For men: understanding gender dynamics will make you a more effective colleague, coach and leader in the future.

Stephanie then continued on to the next topic of confidence, and the difference between self-confidence and self-esteem. Self-confidence referred to the trust you put in your own skills and abilities, behaviors while self-esteem was the feeling of personal worth.

While self-confidence can be changed over time, self-esteem fundamentally forms during your childhood. Thus, confidence can be built outside in while self-esteem is built from inside out.

Confidence will definitely change as we transition from campus to career: there are no more predictable deadlines, no equal-level playing ground; once stepping into the work environment, we begin at the bottom of the learning curve, given shifting deadlines and less time to prepare and working with people of varied experience levels.

Kaajri gave a little advice on this point: never be afraid of not knowing everything. Ask questions and don’t apologise before asking the question! She continued to explain how she saw in group exercises in the recruitment process, 70% of the time, the men were taking the lead in conversations where women felt unsure of commenting, hesitating because they were afraid of making a silly comment.

But is everything really in what we say? Stephanie moved to the the topic of non-verbal behaviors next, emphasizing their importance in conversation and projection of confidence. Other than the verbal and nonverbal side of self-presentation, components of confidence included a point-of-view, presence, and practice. Kaajri brought up an experience recruiting a student who asked informed questions and provided an unique perspective that nobody else gave, and that itself, left a greater impression than the rest of the interview.

Kaajri wrapped up the workshop with a video of females in leadership positions in PwC. The material provided insight into the work industry and real life advice about projecting confidence in your work environment.

We would like to end this recap with a quote from Nora Wu, a member of PwC’s Global Board of Partners and Principals, which we find particularly inspiring:

“If a woman waits for the perfect time or conditions to be ready to lead, that time may never come. Just be courageous and take charge when an opportunity comes.”

Thank you for all who attended the event and participated in the inspirational conversations throughout the workshop. Photos can be found on our Facebook page. It was great to see so many eager and aspirational students, both female and male, in the room.

Our third and final workshop with PwC will be held on Monday 12 May. Registrations are already open here so book in to secure your attendance. We look forward to seeing you all there!

With love,

85 Broads Melbourne