Three Ways To Make An Impact At Work

Hadyah Fathalla, Executive Director of C5

I am Hadyah Fathalla, Executive Director of C5, one of the founding member organizations of the WealthiHer Network. I am also the Founder of C5 Nebula, a mentorship and support platform that aims to bridge the gender gap in tech, and more broadly. For this week’s WealthiHer Fix I wanted to share some tips on being a more effective professional and leader. These are insights I’ve developed through my own professional journey, transitioning from government to the corporate and investment world.

The first tip is on networking and mentorship. While networking is a great tool to learn new skills and expand your influence and professional opportunities, research suggests that it is a lower priority for women. Also, we have a tendency as humans to be more drawn to similar people which makes professional networking naturally more difficult for us with men dominating most senior and decision-making positions in most key industries. Make networking a priority, seek connections that are operational, strategic, and even interpersonal and work on cultivating these relationships. 

On mentorship, research also suggests that women are less likely to both seek mentors and benefit from existing opportunities and access. So, find opportunities within your own organization and in your broader professional network to both develop new skills and competencies and scale professionally within the ranks of your own organization and field of practice. Don’t be too intimidated or, if you are in a more senior position, too proud to ask for guidance and support or too modest to highlight your strengths and value.  Mentoring can significantly help bridge the professional gender gap, especially in more senior positions.

Secondly, step up. While the numbers vary depending on the source, research largely shows that women are still significantly underrepresented in C-Suite and board positions globally.  They also often do not consider themselves as viable candidates or advocate for themselves to be considered for more senior roles.  On the upside, organizations globally are developing gender diversity strategies and setting clear and measurable targets. So, understand how the competencies you have developed and the resume you have curated throughout your career can be adapted to more senior and even board roles. Make your skills and experiences relate able and transferable and put yourself out there.

Finally, be a good leader and role model. Some of the best advice I’ve heard successful professional women stress is that once you’ve climbed the professional ladder, don’t pull it up behind you.  Use your leadership, expertise, and access and to create opportunities and advocate for other women.  If we work collectively to amplify each other’s efforts and successes, we are more empowered to build a strong professional network of women who can more effectively break existing barriers and achieve greater equality and parity in the workplace.