Released On 11th Dec 2015
“Failure is not falling down. Failure is falling down and not getting up again to continue life’s race” reminded Jonathan Aitken (quoting Richard Nixon) when he spoke to Cityparents members in September about coping with ‘Life under Pressure’. The former Chairman of a City bank and former Cabinet Minister encouraged City high-fliers to lean on the ‘3Fs: family, friends and faith’ and to be courageous in saying ‘no’ at work when coping with pressure.
Another recent speaker who has experienced intense pressure is Caroline Criado-Perez, the feminist activist who championed keeping women on bank notes and experienced sustained harassment on Twitter for doing so. Caroline spoke about unconscious gender bias and shared research findings that show how society’s emphasis on certain roles and stereotypes for women are perpetuated. You can read more about her career experiences and aspirations in this interview.
We’re witnessing a period of extraordinary social change in terms of the role of women in the workplace and society, according to Lord Davies of Abersoch, our guest Speaker in December. As evidence, five years ago 22% of top UK companies had never had a woman on their board or in their top 15. Now the figure is 0%. Lord Davies predicted major activism by shareholders around female representation in organisations and on executive teams in the next 3-5 years.
Recognising that career progression is a top concern for many members, we’ve held a number of Seminars recently on aspects such as leadership, networking and career decisions. ‘Building an authentic leadership brand’ was the subject of Talking Talent’s ‘Authentic Leadership’ seminar in September. Participants reflected on what it means to be outnumbered in gender terms in their work environment and how to draw on their own strengths and values to develop an authentic style of communication and leadership. A follow-on Seminar on ‘Inclusive Leadership’ for managers in November looked at the business case for managing diversity well and shared practical steps to becoming a more inclusive leader.
Despite employers investing in their talent pipelines, the number of women progressing to senior positions in the City remains stubbornly low and two recent Cityparents seminars explored this issue. In November, members listened to advice from Talking Talent on how to engineer a move up or sideways in their careers through ‘Strategic Networking’. And in early December, Geraldine Gallacher shared the Executive Coaching Consultancy’s research into the factors that impact women’s decisions early in their careers, and what influences a woman to move away from a career track leading to a senior management role.
Our seminars on parenting topics remain very popular. Two recent seminars looked at different ways parents can help their children to learn. At ‘Reading Matters’ in November, Rachel Vecht of Educating Matters explained how children learn to read and shared some do’s and don’ts when listening to a child read. Then in December at ‘101 ideas for supporting your child’s development’, Anita Cleare from the Positive Parenting Project suggested ways of stimulating learning through play, from 2 minute games to 2 week projects.
The teenage years are particularly difficult for many children (and parents); Anita advised how to handle emotional teens and foster independence at her Seminar on ‘Raising Responsible Teenagers’ in October. Help was also at hand for those parents dealing with conflict between their children. At our ‘Managing Sibling Rivalry’ seminar in November, Anita explained how to step in when childish squabbling escalates into a major problem, and what parenting traps to avoid when addressing this.