Why women should go for top jobs and leadership roles

·3-min read

WATCH: DIAL Global Virtual Summit - Day 1

More women need to say yes to exciting opportunities that come their way rather than second guess if they are capable of delivering, panellists at the DIAL Global Virtual Summit discussed on Wednesday.

Women in leading positions at global companies said women need to "raise their hands" for new opportunities to get ahead in the workplace. 

"There is a quote that says you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and if you don’t show up, if you don’t say yes, if you’re not present and you don’t lean in and raise your hands you will never get more opportunities," said Kimberlee Archibald, director of brand and digital communications at Huawei.

"If I've learned anything from my male colleagues, it's that they raise their hands for things they may be completely unqualified for and they figure it out on the way. We can do the very same thing," she added.

Zeina Hatem, managing director at Google (GOOGL) Pay EMEA said learning doesn’t need to be formal or structural, it can come from books or YouTube. And if all else fails, women should ask themselves the question: What would I do if this was my business?

Hatem was speaking at the ‘How Women in Technology are changing all our lives’ seminar and Emma Browne, senior project manager at software company Alfa, agreed with their point of view: “Fake it till you make it.”

She believes an opportunity only comes your way because people believe in you and think you can do it, and women should have more confidence in their abilities.

DIAL Global Virtual Summit, in partnership with Yahoo Finance owner-Verizon Media (VZ), is a two-day free event where senior leaders from FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 Companies discuss diversity, inclusion, and belonging and how these components are essential for successful businesses.

Kelly Nagel, president and general manager at tech company Jabra, quoted Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg when she said: "When someone offers you a seat on a rocketship just say yes. More women just have to say yes."

She also said it is entirely possible for women to balance family and work if they can learn to delegate and take advantage of the experts on their team.

The 'How Women in Technology are changing all our lives' panel
The 'How Women in Technology are changing all our lives' panel

Nagel cited McKinsey data which shows that a business with a healthy balance of men and women performs 15% better than its competition, and one with a diverse staff does 35% better.

It wasn't just about the bottom line but the genuine positive change that having employees from different backgrounds can bring to any business, she said. 

Read more: ITV's Carolyn McCall on tokenism fears, Black Lives Matter, and why educating boards isn't 'woke'

The panellists also talked about the importance of dispelling myths around women joining tech industries. One of them is that they need to have technical or coding skills when in fact what's more important is transferrable skills like critical thinking and problem solving.

They said tech is an exciting field and a fast-paced industry and what's key is finding the right mentor or sponsor to help navigate one's career.

It is also important to have programmes that incentivise women to participate in STEM industries, the way businesses incentivise customers to be loyal, they added. 

Another crucial aspect of getting women and those from diverse backgrounds to join a workforce is by allowing them "to bring their whole self to work every day" rather than feel they have to look a certain way or fit a certain mould to be given a chance at the table.