I was recently reading an article about a Nancy Woodhull, the late USA Today editor. Besides at one time being one of the most powerful women in publishing, she was noted for the way she facilitated the success of other women. When she was the helm of one of the country's largest papers, she remarked it was her duty to "do something to help another women every day".
That phrase resonated with me at a deep level. I was struck by how much I also believed it, but also by its sheer simplicity. Since hearing it, I thought about the myriad ways we already help each other and the many ways that I could be doing more. The clients I work with often find that some form of conscious effort to help others often makes them feel better. Essentially, when giving, they are also receiving. The process of actively reaching out to other women gives them a new perspective and a feeling of being part of a community much larger than just the worlds of their office and home.
Putting this mantra into practice, I once invited a new colleague to lunch to help her feel more welcome to the organization. While we both enjoyed our time together; the tables turned. I found out so much more about our competitors and how they viewed our company - a topic of interest to the marketing team at the time. In the end I realized in my effort to "help another woman" I was the one who had actually been helped. So, what can you do today to help another woman?
Top Tips for Helping Another Woman
1. If you work in a male-dominated company, inquire how they actively recruit more women. Mentioning that diversity is one of the key tenets of business awards like "Investors in People" is a good incentive for otherwise intractable employers.
2. Mentor a new female employee to show them how you have managed. Just reminding them with your presence that women DO belong is often great encouragement. Mentoring a new recruit is also a great ego boost to remind you of how much you have accomplished.
3. If you have a choice, patronize women-owned businesses. More women are leaving full-time employment to start up their own businesses each year, so the choice is easier than before. If you unsure who owns the business, ask! If it is a partnership, find out how many of the partners are women. This works from law firms to nanny agencies.
4. Donate time or money to charitable causes that support women. Women's organizations are among the most under-funded of charities, receiving far less in donations than causes related to children, specific diseases, animals and special interest groups.
Dr. Suzanne Doyle-Morris of Doyle Morris Coaching helps companies retain and develop their valuable, well-trained female talent. We specialize in working with professional women in the male-dominated fields of finance, law, I.T, manufacturing, engineering and the sciences to help female executives grow into more senior roles and improve their performance within their organisations.