Industry Update
Opinion Article26 November 2019

How to Empower Women in the Workplace: Be True to Your Values and Purpose

From navigating personal change in the workplace with empathy, to working on your leadership skills and owning your mindset, impressive women share their journeys at the Forbes Women's Summit.

By Catherine Rey, Sales & Marketing Manager at EHL Advisory Services

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The Forbes Women's Summit which took place in September in Zurich was a wonderful get-together of some really impressive women. My favorite moment of the summit was the moving speech from Bâloise CEO Angela Matthes. She spoke about her own transition and how change is not something you do for yourself and it is also of high impact for the people around you, people you work with. You may have prepared yourself for many years, however for your colleagues it is something that happens one day to another.

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How do you prepare an organization for your personal change?

Angela showcased the need and the value of bringing your vulnerability and courage to work. She went through 150 conversations with people in her company, inviting people and talking to them about something personal. By doing this, she made herself vulnerable. The space created by her vulnerability allowed people to be vulnerable themselves, sharing their stories with her. Angela won from these 150 conversations - creating stronger and deeper relationships than she ever had before.

"As managers we sometimes try to be perfect, however showing our vulnerability makes us more human and accessible, creating stronger bonds with our employees."

Angela demonstrated the importance of authentic and human leadership. Women have a much more natural way to be vulnerable, it is often perceived or described as a weakness but guess what…it is absolutely not. With vulnerability comes courage. Therefore, it was extremely refreshing to be surrounded by a room full of people open to show their vulnerability to make it our strength.

Leadership skills of the future

Siemens Chief Human resources Officer Janina Kugel went on to discuss the below critical skills

  • Learning attitude
  • Adaptability
  • Communication skills

How important it is for your organization to hire some people totally different than you. Building a conscious team from different backgrounds. Within a diverse team you may have more friction, more arguments, but at the end it will be better results.

"A manager cannot be in a position to always want to please people, you may want to be loved and liked by your family and friends however at your work you would like to be respected."

Can you be liked when you have to take decisions? How can we have our organizations more open to hire people with different backgrounds because ultimately, if you have emotional intelligence, a learning attitude and are highly adaptable, these are the transferable skills needed to make the jump between industries.

It's all about your mindset

Finally, I was extremely amazed by Pamela Reif, model, fitness guru and entrepreneur who at the age of 23 years old made a great impression with her eloquence, confidence and go-getter spirit.

Some of her key messages were:

  • "Have a very good mindset" "Do it yourself, make it bigger with the help of others".
  • "Try until you think is perfect"
  • "Rely more on yourself"
  • "All starts with very small steps…within a week it can go bigger"

This summit brought to my attention how important it is to have fun with your job, take the time for your family, friends and know and trust yourself.

You are driving your own career, always be the initiator, do not let anyone break your confidence; always hold your head up high. Show humility and give credit. Don't burn bridges, everything happens for a reason. If you want to shape the future embrace diversity and stay true to your values and purpose. I am really grateful to the team of Forbes Dach for organizing this wonderful summit and allowing me to learn from such inspirational human beings.

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Catherine Rey

Catherine Rey joined EHL Advisory Services as Sales & Marketing Manager in 2015. Her role involves developing and implementing the EHL Advisory’s Sales & Marketing plan and promote the Advisory portfolio around the globe. Prior to EHL she worked in the International Education industry for over 5 years both in Mexico and Switzerland, where she moved with her family in 2013.

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    Phone: +41 21 785 1329
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