The Power of [Internal] Women’s Networks

 

 

I had a lovely opportunity earlier this week to present one of my favorite Keynotes: Magnifying Success by Protecting Your Confidence to the amazing executive women of Aon Hewitt in New Jersey. (Aon Hewitt is global provider of human capital and management consulting services). These women have created an internal network to support each other in their professional careers and promote their learning and development, thereby making Aon Hewitt a better place to work and do business.

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It was such a pleasure to meet and interact with these amazing women. They are ambitious and accomplished, even while juggling the multiple responsibilities of work and family that still largely fall to women, despite the progress of past decades. Through several introspective activities, their interactions were sharp, insightful and targeted. They “got it.”

 

My overall message was about the importance of acknowledging success and truly owning it, then leveraging it to create more success. Too often, our focus of attention is on our failures and our inadequacies instead of on recognizing and building our strengths and those of our teams. In relaying some of my own personal experience with this, I admitted it took me far too long to learn to take responsibility for my own professional development, rather than relying on someone else – or company I worked for– to do that for me.

 

Fortunately for the women –and men—of Aon Hewitt, that message is part of the internal culture. And these women were quick to zero in on their personal takeaways from my key points, as they shared with each other and me at the end of the program. We discussed the importance of protecting one’s confidence at all costs from the inevitable blows that come at us from outside—and inside.

 

Recognizing that we have a choice when it comes to listening to that evil villain or evil twin that lives inside our heads, we all resolved to build a fence around our confidence by acknowledging our accomplishments daily, and over-riding that negative voice.

 

As a long-term veteran of a large corporate environment, who has taught, trained and coached hundreds of business owners, executives and professionals, I have seen and experienced the damage that little voice can create when it’s not checked.

 

Internal network groups like the one at Aon Hewitt go a long way to providing women with support and encouragement to deal with the unique challenges that women face. Often, as in this case, they rely on the volunteer leadership of a small team of women who are committed to improvement for everyone. These groups –and their leaders– should be widely celebrated for the contribution to the overall well-being of women and valued for what they say about the internal culture of the organization.

 

If you have an interest in bringing Magnifying Success by Protecting Your Confidence to your organization, contact me at cheryl@ellisbusinessenterprises.com

 

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