#MobilizeWomen Recap: Death of the Queen Bee: It’s Not Competition, It's Collaboration
#MobilizeWomen is a movement propelled by change makers in business to commit to taking action against gender inequality. Ellevate Network hosted some amazing speakers in NYC on June 21st, 2017. This is a recap of part of the event, with the most relevant concepts you can use to take action in your everyday life. Download the Mobilize Women Action Guide here.
In a society where women are taught to compete with one another, we learned at the #MobilizeWomen Summit that competition is not an efficient way to get ahead. During the Death of Queen Bee: Turning Competition into Collaboration panel, we heard from a group of dynamic women on why inclusion and mentorship is the key for women getting ahead in the workplace. The panel included:
- Angelica Perez-Litwin, Ph.D., Founder/CEO, Latinas Think Big
- Romy Newman, Co-founder and President, Fairygodboss
- Nellie Borrero, Senior Global Inclusion & Diversity Managing Director, Accenture
- Jordan Brooks, COO, United State of Women
- Kristy Wallace, CEO, Ellevate Network
Alliances to Support Collaboration, not Competition
It was established early on in the panel that female relationships are vital for the advancement of women in the workplace. And it starts with the women in leadership positions.
Nellie Borerro, Senior Global Inclusion & Diversity Managing Director at Accenture, discussed the importance of empowering your female colleagues. Whenever a leader promotes or praises you, it allows colleagues to respect and acknowledge your work. “It feels really good to lift other people,” she said.
Romy Newman, Co-Founder and President of Fairygodboss, spoke of the same concept. Sharing knowledge and information is how women will get ahead, which is the thought behind Fairygodboss. By creating a space for women to post reviews about various businesses, it allows them to come together and inform each other. She said, “We all have to help each other because it’s going to have to come from us. We can’t wait for the men.”
Women supporting women is a concept not only vital in business but in our government as well. Jordan Brooks, COO at United State of Women, knows very well the importance of collaboration. After working with the powerful women the Obama Administration, she knows that there is strength in numbers.
Being involved is extremely crucial, especially when it comes to women’s roles in our communities and politics. Jordan said, “The really important thing that we are all realizing we need to do right now is really dig down deep and get our hands dirty, but do it in our local communities.” Jordan reminded us that women’s involvement in the community can make a huge difference for our future.
The Benefits of Mentorship
The process of mentorship remains important, but it has changed a bit, and nowadays it’s considered a little old fashioned to have just one person with whom you only speak at a monthly scheduled meeting.
“Some people use the term ‘career board of directors,’” said Romy. “It puts the onus on you to report to your board of directors and get their input, which is critically important.”
Angelica Perez-Litwin, Founder and CEO of Latinas Think Big, adds that as a mentee, you have a duty to engage actively in the relationship. Bring something to the table for your mentor, too. And make sure you’re not just turning to the person in the next cubicle.
“Don’t limit yourself to looking for mentors inside of your company or institution. Go on LinkedIn and find someone who might have the same title, or a higher title you’re looking for. Connect with them, have lunch — it’s important to think outside the box.”
How Companies are Stepping Up
If you’re in a corporate position, there’s only so much you can do as an employee to create an impact. Seeing the top leaders in your company acknowledging and acting on gender disparity is critical for company culture.
“We see a trend of companies feeling a sense of tremendous accountability and responsibility to collectively impact in a really good way what’s happening in our society,” said Nellie. “Companies have to unite around this topic. We do more if we work together.”
For Accenture, taking responsibility means being transparent with their goals in order to close the gender achievement gap. They’ve announced an initiative to reach a balanced workforce, with 50% women, by 2025.
“It sends the message to the culture, to your talent, and to your people, that there’s room for a lot of you, and that everyone is valuable and incredibly important to the success of the business.”
Other organizations, like The United State of Women, are stepping up by offering resources and training for women on running for office, entrepreneurship, and organizing for creating impact.
“We’re hosting summits on a smaller scale across the country, and they’re about making sure we are talking about taking action in specific communities, as well as lifting up the women in those communities who are doing great work,” said Jordan.
The panelists left our audiences with final pieces of advice on how to kill the Queen Bee and focus on creating collaboration in their communities.
Nellie: “Think about your brand — your personal and professional brand. Are you known for supporting women, not supporting women, or neutral?”
Jordan: “Find five or six people, friends, not your friends, and maybe with different opinions. Sit down and have coffee, and find something that you all believe in in your community and work towards it. Take some action.”
Angelica: “I believe that you can change the world one woman at a time. Let’s talk about the way we talk about ourselves. It’s OK and actually important for women to promote themselves.”
Romy: “We should all be each other’s lions. Let’s all get each other promoted and rise ahead. Let’s work together to help each other. Let’s tell women how they can do something better, and compliment them when they do things well.”
The women on the panel taught us that in order for women to get ahead in the workplace we have to invest, not only in each other, but in ourselves.
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