Korina Karampela talks to the CEO and Founder of Aspire Dr Samantha Collins about women as leaders.
- How can we unlock women’s potential as business people?
It is up to us as women to unlock our own potential. We can do this by taking the time to figure out what we really want (as opposed to what we should do), overcome the common fears surrounding our aspirations and work through how we will do it and what support we will need, instead of justifying, blaming or complaining about how it is too hard, it won’t happen, it’s not possible. The very word ‘impossible’ says we can do anything ‘I’ m – possible’.
- What is the most common misconception about women in leadership positions?
There is a new generation of women whose definition of success encompasses in all three dimensions that matter to them – work AND home AND giving something back.
A lot is written about what can be done to get women to the top. Yet, one fundamental factor is NOT being addressed; what women want to achieve. Do women actually want to be at the most senior levels of their organizations? The majority of women (61.6% of them) simply do NOT want to be on a board or don’t know if they want to be on a board of an organization.
- Tell me what the purpose of Aspire Foundation is.
The Aspire Foundation has the goal to positively impact the lives of 1 million women and girls by 2015.We provide 6 month pro-bono mentoring programs that match women who work in charities, nonprofits, social enterprises and entrepreneurial ventures with senior women mentors in the small business and corporate world.
“87% of business women believe it is important or very important that their corporation in some way gives back to the community and the wider world.” (Aspire Survey 2011, ‘A New Generation of Women Leaders’). The Aspire Foundation provides a practical way for women in business to give back, learn and grow, and be part of a global network of women in leadership.
- What are the 3 ‘Dos’ and 3 ‘Don’ts’ that women who aspire to be leaders need to be aware of?
The Do’s are:
- Do have a big dream and vision of success.
- Do expect obstacles and opposition. Learn to overcome them.
- Do connect with like minded people who will support and challenge you to do and be more.
The Don’ts are:
- Don’t try to change your innate styles and strengths. It will come off fake and make you unhappy.
- Don’t get bogged down with ‘to do’ lists and working all the time because you’ll lose the big picture and end up ineffective.
- Don’t procrastinate on life. If you want family, friends, community, make it part of your career now!
The bottom line: It is up to you to unlock your potential. Define what you want to achieve (both professional and personal), overcome what holds you back and go for it. Be authentic to your leadership style and your values along the way.
Korina Karampela is the founder of b4iapply, author of 2 books, coach and speaker. She has worked as senior pharmaceutical executive for 12 years and has an MBA from MIT Sloan. Her blog b4iapply is recommended by The Guardian for professional development.