To celebrate International Women’s Day (and Women’s History month), Kerry Consulting is speaking with strong female leaders from our consultants’ networks across multiple industries.
Read the full interview below:
Geraldine Wong, Chief Data Officer at GXS
“Just because you have a statistics background doesn’t mean that you are confined to that specialist area for your entire career. Know that, with the right preparedness and motivation, the sky is quite literally the limit in the modern business environment.”
Q: What Does IWD mean to you?
A: It’s a recognition of the challenge that women face globally in achieving their potential. It’s also about the pinnacle of success that they define for themselves.
Q: This year’s slogan Break the Bias – how do you interpret that?
A: #BreaktheBias is about rising above stereotypes and preconceived notions. You want to value and acknowledge the capabilities of an individual for who they really are as a person.
I think we are all guilty of perpetuating stereotypes from time to time. Say for example, if there was a teambuilding event around Chinese New Year that you need organised. Who would you instinctively turn to? It may well be a woman, as you might think that they have the administrative skills to get the job done correctly.
Of course that is not the right way to think. Just because somebody is a woman does not mean that they carry inherent traits and skill sets that are unavailable to men, and vice versa. We need to ensure that we treat each gender fairly in this regard, giving everybody the opportunity to prove themselves, and by doing so breaking any preconceived biases that we may have internalised.
“Make firm choices and plan to address any obstacles that fall in your path. Don’t think too much – trust your gut and focus on always learning.”
Q: Why is diversity in the workplace important?
A: Everybody comes from a different background and that is of paramount importance in a modern workplace. I think that if we do not consider a diverse range of viewpoints from both men and women, then there are certain blind spots that will be unacknowledged.
We should never allow ourselves to fall into ‘groupthink’. By maintaining a diverse leadership team, we can make strategic business decisions with the confidence that a variety of valuable viewpoints have been brought to the table
Q: What advice would you give to a young woman entering the modern business environment?
A: Always aim to have a growth mindset. Focus on growing beyond what you were trained in. Never limit yourself. Just because you have a statistics background doesn’t mean that you are confined to that specialist area for your entire career. Know that, with the right preparedness and motivation, the sky is quite literally the limit in the modern business environment.
Secondly, avoid falling into a pattern of second-guessing your decisions. Make firm choices and plan to address any obstacles that fall in your path. Don’t think too much – trust your gut and focus on always learning.
Lastly, find female role models. I surround myself with veteran female bankers, mothers in my company etc. You really wonder how these people achieved the things that they did – especially with young kids! – and it really motivates you to push harder and challenge yourself.