Article written by Danièle Henkel, founder of Daniele Henkel organizations for the EVE webmagazine
To all of you women who are pushing back the limits of what is possible by turning your backs on the status quo, WELL DONE! Your hard work, sleepless nights, and accomplishments come together to create something truly invaluable: a precious legacy for future generations. The path has in fact already been laid, but there is a long way for us still to go. As the annual report by the World Economic Forum into the gender gap shows, women and men are not set to reach absolute parity for at least 100 years!
As such, many women are still facing challenges related to their gender in the workplace. Here’s what works for me, and helps me to stay on course, despite the minor setbacks we all experience on a daily basis.
1. Dare to uphold your values
Even though more and more women are taking on leading roles or creating businesses, the corporate world is still mostly dominated by men. In this context, a great many of us attempt to lead, at one time or another, just like men.
But watch out!
In order to achieve good working relationships — both personally and professionally —, we must all first accept that women and men are intrinsically different. Our brains don’t process information in the same way, but it is also entirely false to say that one is more competent than the other by virtue of gender. It is incorrect to believe that a woman should run a business like a man. Let’s learn how to be OURSELVES, and women and men will complement each other by combining their strengths and their visions. Do you love your job? Then do it with enthusiasm and intuition!
It is my hope that women will take on the roles they really want. In order to do that, they must dare to proclaim their values with confidence. Women, lead with your instincts, especially when you are making decisions. As leaders, you also have the responsibility of sharing your vision and your passion with future generations of entrepreneurs.
2. Join forces to help each other
Nobody can make it alone in the world today. We all need support and advice. So it’s important to develop your network. Go out and meet other professionals, get inspired, ask for advice. These unions and partnerships will help to boost your businesses.
What about those notorious boys clubs? Men have a natural talent for getting together and showing solidarity. Even though they may have arguments, they never hold personal grudges. We should take inspiration from them if we are going to work together better. If a friend or colleague is successful in her endeavor, you should celebrate that success as if it is your own.
You can also play your part by becoming a mentor. Tomorrow’s leaders are forged when we encourage young people to be dynamic in business. There is always room for a new leader. If all of us work together, men and women, we can move closer to parity. If we cast aside our collective cynicism, anything is possible.
In addition, it is important to encourage mutual assistance in our companies. Let’s think about how our workplaces are organized and create spaces for sharing where everyone’s potential can flourish. The advantages of doing this are two-fold, and will benefit the company and boost employee satisfaction.
3. Cultivate your curiosity
We have the power to influence our profession. How? By investing in training. Education has proven to be a precious tool for innovation. The desire to explore different avenues encourages us to seek out resources that we rarely use, or even ones whose existence we are unaware of. We have the power to do a great many things, more than we imagine.
Taking additional training courses helps us to improve and be better equipped to face our professional challenges. We are the era of talent. Highlight the importance of training for your employees through tools that bring together work and training and it’s a win-win: for them, for you and for the entire company.
In addition, we all benefit from constantly pushing back the limits of our current networks. Let’s broaden our horizons and strive to move closer to people with skills that are different from our own. If we can do this, we can constantly enrich our knowledge base, and it encourages us to think differently. I regularly say that the most innovative ideas are often sparked by a clash of viewpoints or perspectives. Working and sharing ideas with women — and men —, from various backgrounds, means opening yourself up to the beneficial wealth of diversity.
Twenty years ago, when I decided to explore the world of well-being, I was able to overcome my lack of knowledge by surrounding myself with people from a vast range of backgrounds. Still today, I strive to learn by communicating with others. And that’s essential in today’s extremely competitive context.
I’d like to finish by saying be yourself, and adopt the attitude of an entrepreneur. Prestigious qualifications are great, but a winning and positive attitude is even better. Be confident in yourself, assert your ideas, dare to take risks. Be one of those people who transforms fear into boldness, and failure into learning. So be remarkable through your attitude, your professionalism and your values.
Danièle Henkel is a businesswoman who has managed to make a success of her Quebec-based brand, both personally and professionally. Her eponymous businesses have contributed to paving the way for better wellness and to position beauty as the new social norm in the business world. This key influencer has lent her voice to many different causes which are important for her. Her autobiography Quand l’intuition trace la route, a best-seller, has inspired several generations of women.