Seek Opportunity in the Challenges We Face

We women have long faced unique challenges in pursuing our career dreams, including the barriers presented by societal expectations, the limitations of the glass ceiling, and the pressures of “having it all.” I grew up in an environment in which women weren’t expected to pursue professional careers and academic counselors discouraged pursuing a challenging path because the rewards, in their words, would be “wasted.” However, was blessed with a supportive family and generous mentors, sponsors, and role models who encouraged me to make the most of the opportunities and the challenges that would come my way.

The pandemic has brought new pressures for women, disproportionately increasing their burdens. At the same time, it has shined a light on the daily challenges we face and given us new opportunities to connect and lead. It has forced us to rethink so many things in our lives, and how we approach our work and interact with each other.

Given the physical distances separating us, it’s caused me to be more intentional and proactive in all of my interactions. Communication is more important now than ever. The intentionality with which we’re reaching out has opened doors to more candid and meaningful conversations with team members and clients. It’s important to develop those avenues, not only to support current learning and training opportunities, but to set the groundwork for improvements in the way we interact and work together going forward. Many of the lessons we’ve learned will continue to provide value as we move forward in the new normal.

Part of the ongoing discussion has been to seek opportunity in the challenges we face. The resilience we’ve mined in pivoting to working remotely and meeting demands, both personal and professional, in new ways, will serve us well as we meet new challenges. It has reminded us to avoid letting the goal of perfection be the enemy of the completion of a job well done. We can take what we’ve learned in this challenging environment, and build upon it to better support and develop women as future leaders as we move forward.