I want to thank you. I know that the media doesn’t have a lot of love for you right now, mostly because they don’t realise how many of you are fighting the norm quietly.
It’s a pendulum swing of mean girls under the guise of feminism. So often we blame the person in power for things that weren’t entirely in their control.
You inherited old patriarchal ways of working. Your bosses were old, white, men and you probably never noticed at first. But now you are responsible for helping to break down the norms, you know how it works “with great power…..”.
The odds weren’t in your favour to be kind to women (or any “other” really), even those who were talented or capable because there are less of us.
By middle management 1/3 people identify as female.
By senior management less than 1/4 identify as female.
In the executive suite it’s about 1/8
There’s a chance we weren’t even contenders in the candidates the recruiters presented. The applicants to promote and hire were mostly male so subsequently they got promoted and hired.
Not completely your fault- you had to fill the desk.
But somehow you found me, and you saw potential even when I didn’t.
You offered me my first chance at a real career with a real salary.
You told me to take the corner office because I needed to be reminded that I deserved it as much as the people who came to see me in it did.
You defended me in that room full of people who didn’t believe that I was the expert who flew across the world to teach them.
You told me not to get coffee for them, because that was not my job.
You hired me. You promoted me-more than once.
You acted as a sounding board when I was sure I was an imposter. You responded and cheered. You were my friend. You were a provider of opportunities that stretched beyond my own imagination.
You taught me to hire for talent and my teams became a kaleidoscope of gender, age, sexuality, and racial identity.
You included me and because of you, I get to include others.
You are not stale.
You are progressive, (but please stop wearing blue plaid shirts)
The woman you helped to become a leader when the odds were not in her favour.
Note: It’s often not men holding women back. Look up Queen Bee’s if you want to know how many women are holding back others- I’ll give you a hint-phrases like toxic culture and workplace bully come up.