International Women’s Day is an annual, worldwide event highlighting women across industries. Their mission is to “help forge a gender-equal world, [and] they are celebrating women’s achievement and increasing visibility while calling our inequality.”
Each year the event comes with a new theme; the 2022 theme was Break The Bias, calling everyone to actively call out gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping whenever they see it happening around them.
The women of MetroStar, HHS, DIA, USDA, NSWC Crane, and Customer Value Partners joined together on International Women’s Day to share their insights and stories on being women leaders in government and technology.
Sarah Lovenheim, Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs, HHS
Iva Hutson, Senior Manager of Experience Strategy, MetroStar
Suzanne White, Deputy Director, DIA
Simchah Suveyke-Bogin, Chief Customer Experience Officer, USDA
Alicia Scott, Division Chief Data Scientist, NSWC Crane Division
Mo Adeyoju, Executive Director, Customer Value Partners
(12:25) This year’s International Women’s Day theme is Break the Bias, referring to challenging gender inequality and bias. At MetroStar, we are making intentional policy and investment decisions to address biases that hold women back in the field. What does “Breaking the Bias” mean to you, and what are some specific ways you’ve tried to empower yourself and other women in your field?
(16:18) The Great Resignation: According to SHRM, "one in three women say they have considered downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce this year, compared to 1 in 4 who said this a few months into the pandemic. Additionally, 4 in 10 women have considered leaving their company or switching jobs—and high employee turnover in recent months suggests that many of them are following through." This labeled "Great Resignation" has undoubtedly resulted in many women leaving the workforce. Most importantly, how can we, as leaders, bring women back? What can companies be doing?
(26:59) Leading with Empathy: In the Harvard Business Review article "Connect with Empathy, but Lead with Compassion" from December 2021, leaders in the COVID pandemic era are acting as de facto counselor-in-chiefs, shouldering increasingly emotional burdens. While this ultimately creates a more welcoming and humane working environment, it can weigh leaders down in a new and unexpected way. How have you managed to empathically lead during unprecedented times while being compassionate to yourself and to those you lead.
(33:00) Imposter Syndrome: The notion of imposter syndrome, or doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud at work, has become an increasingly discussed topic impacting women in the workplace. A 2020 KPMG study reports that seventy-five percent of the executive women surveyed report having personally experienced imposter syndrome at certain points in their careers. Can you share either a personal perspective on imposter syndrome or an example of when you've seen this play out? What can companies do to reduce or eliminate imposter syndrome?
(39:27) Parenting and Working during the Pandemic: The 2021 McKinsey & Company report finds women are feeling even more burnout in the second year of the pandemic, noting that the pressure on women to balance work and childcare leads to disproportionate levels of strain. Can you share your personal experiences with parenting during the pandemic, and do you have any recommendations for supporting this important segment of our workforce?
(45:00) Attendee Question: The glass ceiling is a well-known reference to women's obstacles to achieving increasingly senior or executive positions. How did you navigate power structures early in your career versus later when you had a more formal leadership role?
(51:00) Attendee Question: I am an executive with a small, but growing economically disabled woman in small business (EDWOSB) company. We have seen the majority of our growth during the pandemic. One of our biggest challenges has been employee engagement. Are there activities or initiatives that you have implemented resulting in improved employee engagement, specifically with your female coworkers?
(54:30) Attendee Question: Thinking about your day-to-day experiences, what supportive behaviors do you feel like might be lacking or could be approved upon by your male colleagues?
Explore more thought-leadership and initiatives by MetroStar’s women.
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