Part 2: Women in Leadership Roundtables – In Partnership with IoD, HSBC & Microsoft

part 2 round table

Roundtable 2: York, 3 June 2015

What we can learn from Generation Y and how lack of reliable, fast, Broadband is holding us up

Forward Ladies is working in partnership with HSBC, Microsoft and the Institute of Directors to deliver a national series of Women in Leadership and Business Roundtables. On 3 June 2015 the Roundtable moved to Betty’s Tearooms in York and a packed room of local businesswomen (and some men) from the professional and commercial sectors gathered to discuss the challenges they currently face in business, how technology can assist and strategies to improve diversity within business. Below is a summary of the rich and engaging debate which took place amongst the cream cakes:

On challenges facing women in business and leadership 

* Personal IT development was idenitifed as a challenge: do I know enough to keep abreast  of technolgical advances?

* Small businesses do not always have the budget to keep technology up to date and properly supported.

* We exist in a more connected, 24/7 environment: the concept of a 9-5 culture and distinct work and personal lives is being eroded.

* The lack of reliable, fast, nationwide broadband is impacting negatively on business: reliable broadband infrastructure is vital to support flexible working.

* Technology is currently a male-dominated area, with women only making up 14% of the technology sector workforce.

* Maternity and Paternity leave present unique challenges: how can we properly share the experience of bringing up children and not suffer criticism at work?

Top tips on use of technology …

* Don’t hide behind emails and social media communication – remember to talk with your colleagues and customers!

* Aim to have a busines technology suite that operates as a cohesive whole, with various elements “speaking” with one another.

* Consider getting yourself a “Generation Y” mentor to keep you up to speed with technology and social media.

Conclusions and top take aways …

* Be yourself: women operate and communicate differently from men in business. Focus on your strengths and on who you are, rather than on trying to meet other people’s expectations of what a “business person” should look and sound like.

* Remember that self-doubt and undervaluing our achievements is not an exclusive female preserve. It is up to us to mentor and encourage other women and men and to lead by example in our businesses.

* Consider the benefits of participating in an alternative board of women, who are willing to share their business experiences with you.

* Think about the benefits of attracting and retaining younger generations into your business. Mentoring is not only a case of older generations passing their experience to younger generations, we can learn from younger people and improve our business relevance and communications strategy through this.

To find out more about how Forward Ladies can help you get the most out of  technology particularly using Microsoft Office Products, click here

To find out about the bespoke personal development training programme Forward Ladies offers for women business leaders with businesses with current turnover less than £500,000, click here

Photograph by David Harrison via York Press