As the first week of April begins, we have reflected on the lessons learned from our Women’s History Month spotlight interview series. I spoke with three women who exemplified powerful and effective leadership qualities prior to the pandemic which kicked into high gear during this challenging year. More importantly, they each shared their key takeaways for applying lessons learned from 2020 to our goals and aspirations for 2021.
Already, people are beginning to feel hopeful as millions receive the vaccine and organizations begin to rethink the next normal. Though this transformation will undoubtedly be met with obstacles and unprecedented issues, it is clear that we have all gained experience and the perspective to remain agile.
These women led organizations through countless shifts and difficulties, all while gaining valuable experience that will propel them forward through the further changing times.
From Kelli Rodriguez, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at One Innovation Labs, we learned about the importance of empathetic leadership. We explored the unique strains that have been placed on employees as a result of sweeping changes such as working from home, caring for elderly family members, and tending to children who can no longer attend school or daycare. Kelli emphasized the need to allow employees, and particularly women, who have been disproportionately burdened with additional household responsibilities when compared to their male counterparts, to design their own work schedules as they see fit.
Janet Loesberg, a VP of Medical at various large pharma companies, illuminated similar learnings regarding the need to allow employees the flexibility to manage their own work days, especially as the start and end to these days have been blurred by unclear virtual boundaries. Importantly, she also noted the importance of self-care for leaders, explaining how we need to be our best and healthiest to help our teams and employees.
Laurie Cooke, President and CEO of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA), spoke about the importance of executing a data-driven approach to guide decisions. She emphasized the importance of paying close attention to the success and failure of other leaders attempting to navigate challenges and who incorporated these learnings appropriately. She also drew attention to a unique issue that will undoubtedly materialize over the next few months, wherein women will likely opt to work from home at higher rates than men due to familial and caretaking obligations. She questioned how this may impact mentorship, sponsorship, and promotional opportunities for female employees going forward. Listen to hear her important advice on what leaders can do to maintain equity in the face of this challenge.
These interviews gave us a unique perspective on the challenges that women employees have faced and will likely continue confronting as the nation begins to heal and move forward. Tune into this week’s podcast to hear more about how these successful leaders navigated turbulent times and will continue to apply their learnings to the challenges ahead!
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