From our celebration of International Women's Day to the new talent development programme, women at Oxford Saïd are beating a path to progress.
Baroness Shriti Vadera’s International Women’s Day message to an Oxford Saïd audience was to ‘own who you are’. This was not just an appeal for authenticity. It reflected a theme that has emerged in recent Oxford Saïd events focusing on women in leadership, and also in the research paper, Claiming the corner office: female CEO careers and implications for leadership development, now published in the March/April issue of Human Resource Management.
Women are no longer willing to change their behaviour wholesale to fit existing, male, models of leadership – as Vadera admitted she did early in her career. But nor do they assume that employers will provide perfectly female-friendly opportunities on a plate. If you want to become a leader, you can, but don’t expect anyone else to get you there.
That is not to say that gender-based barriers don’t still exist: the women speaking at the School have simply chosen not to dwell on them. As Ariana Gorin, President, Expedia Partner Solutions, explained during an Inspiring Women event on 8 February, ‘I was on a panel a couple of years ago internally at an event and someone asked me [about barriers] and at first I was thinking, “Well, hey, I’ve never experienced that.” And then I thought back to a lot of different times where I’d changed jobs twice because my bosses were making passes at me. Or when I discovered that the whole exec team went on a ski trip and not me. So there are a lot of different things I can say that happen, but at the same time I make a serious point that you just get through it because you are determined that nothing’s going to stop you.’
International Women's Day
Baroness Shriti Vadera, talking to Oxford Saïd Associate Dean Kathy Harvey on 8 March 2018, was big on authenticity and confidence in prospective women leaders, though less keen on the concept of ‘leaning in’, believing that organisations also have an obligation to their female employees, and that men could do with ‘leaning out a bit.’
Inspiring Women: View from the top
How do you get to the top? What do you do with your career? How do you decide where to go and what are the stepping stones that you are going to need to get there? Claire Davenport, CEO HelloFresh UK, Celia Francis, CEO Rated People and Ariane Gorin, President, Expedia Partner Solutions (Expedia Management Board), visited Oxford Saïd to share stories and learning from their own career journeys and give students the advice they wished they'd received along the way.
Webinar: Becoming CEO: Secrets from the women at the top
MBA alumna Kristina Partsinevelos interviewed academics Andromachi Athanasopoulou and Michael Smets about findings from their research study of women CEOs. Listen to the webinar.