As little girls, we’ve been trained to compete to be the prettiest, the most popular, the skinniest. It’s engrained in us – thank you Disney for all those princess movies.
At the first ever Ceridian Women’s Network (CWN) Summit at our INSIGHTS customer forum, it was all about linking women together and creating a network of support instead of competition.
In corporate speak, the CWN Summit gave women (and men) the chance to share their thoughts on gender diversity hot topics and their impact in today’s workplace. In other words, 200+ women and brave men building relationships, learning, and debating about gender diversity issues.
Most superheroes wear disguises, from Batman to Superman, but at the CWN Summit there were 250 superheroes in plain clothes – save for the keynote speaker, Reshma Saujani – founder of Girls Who Code – rocking the signature red-soled Louboutins. Those women are my superheroes.
Teach girls to be brave, not perfect says Reshma Saujani – Check out her TED talk video below.
Lisa Sterling, Chief People Officer at Ceridian, mom extraordinaire, is one of the most inspiring people (not HR) leaders I’ve encountered in the almost ten years I’ve spent in the HR tech industry. She challenged us to decrease the time to gender parity. With the World Economic Forum predicting 177 years until we reach gender parity – a fact that none of us want to stomach for fear that we lose our hard-earned margaritas – Lisa quoted the awe inspiring (and my celebrity idol) Sheryl Sandberg: “It’s indisputable that there’s a real pay gap. People can argue about how big, but that’s almost beside the point. The point is that every woman, every girl, deserves to get paid what they’re worth.”
BUILD BRIDGES, DON’T BURN THEM
I had the honor of bringing two inspiring women to the CWN stage – Lainie Cooney and Maggie Salo.
Lainie Cooney, CHRO of DPI Specialty Foods is also a trained clinical psychologist who spent years working with women and advocating for equality. She challenged us to build bridges and transform the rules of engagement. When we stick together, we make our own rules. How? Take a page from Amy Cuddy.
- Be Confident – Believe in yourself, take risks, and don’t be afraid to fail
- Be Certain – Be direct, invite yourself to the party, be bold in your words
- Be Powerful – Act like a superhero, build the network of support, address the issues
Maggie Salo, Director of HR at Algonquin Power & Utility Corp. (and also a former professional executive coach) gave practical and practiced advice to build bridges and be your best self.
- What do you want to change? Something you are ready to do
- Who will you promise to? Someone who will hold you to it
- What the promise is? Something you will do
Make promises. Keep promises. See success. Be your best self. Help others be their best self.
BE THE CHANGE
I am surrounded by brilliant minds at work and I’m excited that many of those minds belong to women. I get excited when I see their ideas flourish and shape the direction of our company. When I look around, I see examples of smart, game-changing women everywhere, and I for one, want to link them together – not rank them.
“And it’s time for all of us to stop judging the same behavior more harshly when it comes from a woman rather than a man. Women can disagree — even compete — and still have one another’s backs.” – Sheryl Sandberg