What does International Women’s Day mean to you personally, especially in the context of promoting inclusion in the workplace?

What comes to mind when I hear International Women’s Day is Empowerment. I believe it means raising awareness about the importance of creating inclusive work environments. Also, empowering women to speak up, assert their rights, and demand equal treatment and opportunities in their careers and encouraging women to support one another and to actively participate in driving change within their organizations.

If you could have dinner with any influential woman, past or present, who would it be and why?

Michelle Obama and here’s why.  She has a unique ability to connect with individuals from all walks of life. Her legacy extends far beyond her time in the White House. Through her memoir, “Becoming,” and her ongoing work as an author, speaker, and advocate, she continues to make a positive impact on society and inspire others to create change in their communities. She has been a fierce advocate for women and girls, championing initiatives to promote education, health, and empowerment. She has worked tirelessly to expand opportunities for women and girls to fulfil their potential and pursue their dreams.

Can you share a funny or memorable story from your experiences as a woman in the workplace?

I once had a particularly memorable experience during a client meeting at a firm where I worked in Sales. The meeting was with a group of potential investors who were considering allocating funds to our firm’s investment products. While I was presenting the investment strategies and discussing the potential returns, one of the clients, a seasoned investor, interrupted me with a witty remark. He said, “You know, you are the first female salesperson I have met in this industry who didn’t try to sell me a pen!” This unexpected comment caught me off guard, but I quickly responded with a smile, saying, “Well, I figured you probably have enough pens by now. Let’s focus on finding the right investment opportunity for you!” The room erupted into laughter, and it helped break the tension, allowing us to continue the meeting on a lighter note.

Despite the initial surprise, the interaction turned out to be a great icebreaker and helped foster a more relaxed and open atmosphere for the rest of the discussion. This experience served as a reminder of the importance of humour and authenticity in client interactions, even in the serious world of our industry.  It also highlighted the unique challenges and opportunities that women face in sales roles, and the importance of being able to navigate them with grace and humour.

In your experience, what are some of the biggest challenges women face in achieving leadership roles, and how can they be overcome to create more inclusive environments?

One of the challenges women commonly face in achieving leadership roles is. Work-Life Balance Challenges: Balancing career advancement with family responsibilities can be a significant challenge for women, particularly in demanding leadership roles where long hours and travel may be required. Implementing flexible work policies such as remote/hybrid work options, just like the one in place at CardinalStone. Promoting a culture that values work-life balance and encourages employees to prioritize their well-being and providing support resources such as childcare assistance and employee assistance programs.

If you could time-travel and give your younger self one piece of advice about navigating womanhood, what would it be?

Embrace your uniqueness and trust in your own voice. Society may try to impose expectations and limitations based on gender, but your worth and potential are not defined by others’ perceptions. Stand tall in your convictions, pursue your passions boldly, and remember that your journey is valid and valuable. Surround yourself with supportive allies who uplift and empower you, and never underestimate the strength that comes from embracing your authentic self. Believe in your abilities, advocate for your dreams, and know that you are deserving of every opportunity and success that comes your way. Stay resilient, stay true to yourself, and never doubt the power of your own potential

What role do male allies play in promoting gender equality and inclusion, and how can they support women in leadership positions more effectively?

I would say Mentoring and Sponsorship. Male allies can serve as mentors and sponsors to women in the workplace, providing guidance, support, and advocacy to help them advance in their careers. This may involve sharing insights, providing career advice, making introductions to key contacts, and championing women for leadership opportunities.

Looking ahead, what are your hopes and aspirations for the future of women in leadership and the continued journey towards greater inclusion in the workplace?

I aspire to a future where gender bias and stereotypes no longer hinder women’s advancement in the workplace. By challenging ingrained biases and promoting awareness and education, we can create a culture where individuals are valued for their skills, talents, and contributions, regardless of gender.

How do you think CardinalStone is faring in the cause of promoting inclusion in the workplace?

On a scale of 1 to 10. I would say 10. CardinalStone has made efforts to promote women into leadership positions within the organization. The company offers leadership development opportunities for women and implements policies to support work-life balance and career advancement for women.

I will end with one of my favorite quotes by Michelle Obama “You Matter.”

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