To celebrate International Women’s Day, we sat down for a cuppa and a chat with some true business Wonder Women. From climbing the corporate ladder to starting social enterprises, these fab females shared their insights, experiences, and kick-ass advice on all things ‘women in business’.
Working your way up through the ranks of one of the world’s leading banking institutions is no walk in the park, especially when you’re a woman in a notoriously male-dominated industry.
For Krissy Sadler-Bridge, climbing the corporate ladder provided her with invaluable experience – but her true passion lay in helping small businesses succeed.
After making her mark in the financial world, Krissy eventually swapped banking for business support and became the New Zealand Marketing Manager for MYOB. Based in rural Canterbury, Krissy now gets to indulge her passion for empowering businesses across all different industries to grow and flourish.
We talked shop with Krissy to find out more about her journey through the corporate world and asked her to share her words of wisdom on business success.
As someone who’s ‘climbed the corporate ladder’, what qualities do you believe are most important for women to succeed in their careers or business?
Regardless of whether you’re male or female, I believe that being a great leader is all about inspiring your team. A big part of this is vision setting. You’ve got to be crystal clear on the journey you want to take your team on and really get to know what inspires them, so you can adapt your messaging to fit.
Whether you’re running a business or working in corporate, successful outcomes often result from hiring great people who have strengths in areas where you may not. By building a team of talented people with diverse skills, we can collectively achieve so much more.
I think women, in particular, have a tendency to focus a lot on what we’re not good at. Bringing people on board who excel in different areas can allow you to focus on your strengths and let others complement those skills. How nice would it be to park our self-criticism and simply embrace what we’re good at.
Equal for Change is the IWD hashtag for 2020; it’s the idea that an equal world is an enabled world. Have you encountered gender-bias and, if so, how did you overcome it?
Although I’ve been very lucky in that I haven’t experienced a great deal of gender bias, I’ve definitely been in situations where, as the only woman in the meeting room, I’ve been ignored, overlooked, or avoided by more senior male figures. Looking back, I still question whether this was a gender bias, an age bias, or a bit of both.
What I’ve learnt over the years is not to fall into the trap of thinking it’s me who’s done something wrong. Previously, I would question myself and whether it was my fault, but now my tactic is to not take it personally and remind myself it’s the attitude that’s wrong, not me.
I’ve definitely witnessed change for the better in terms of gender bias. There’s been a conscious push for equality, especially in the last couple of years, which is fantastic. That said, we need to continue breaking stereotypes across industries and drive home the message that particular trades aren’t the exclusive domain of men or women.
Who are some of the women you draw inspiration from?
I take a lot of inspiration from the females in my own family. My grandmothers achieved amazing things in their lives – one was in the army and another was a concert pianist – and my mum has been an incredible sounding board for open, honest advice over the years.
Aside from my family, I also draw real inspiration from the women I encounter in my job. Here in New Zealand, MYOB sponsors the national women’s netball team, the Silver Ferns. Seeing the journey that the team has taken in the last two years – going on to win the World Cup and a host of prestigious sporting awards – has been so inspiring.
I also love listening to the stories of the female business owners I come into contact with. Hearing why they started their businesses, the struggles that led them to develop a solution, and the way they’ve overcome adversity is incredibly motivating.
How important is the support of other women? What has this meant to you during the course of your career?
Having a supportive group of women around you is extremely important. I learn a lot from the women I encounter both in my career and my personal life, and what I like hearing about most is stories of people being courageous and taking a step outside of the norm.
To quote David Goggins, it’s about being the ‘uncommon person’. I’ve come across women in all walks of life who’ve embodied this principle, whether by standing up for what they believe in, daring to try something different, or simply having the courage in a workplace environment to challenge the way things have always been done in pursuit of a better way.
If you could offer one piece of advice to women thinking of starting their own business, what would it be?
Firstly, I’d say we all need to put aside our Imposter Syndrome as best we can (which is easier said than done, I know!). My personal tactic has been to avoid overthinking. If your gut is telling you it’s a good idea, go for it and think afterwards.
As women, we often feel we can’t ask for help or be vulnerable in the workplace, but this is such an important quality. It’s ok to admit our weaknesses, and in doing so we can focus on finding people to fill those gaps and build a stronger team as a result.
And, following on from the previous question, I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with people who can help build your confidence. Whether that’s the team you work with, your family or friends, an adviser, even the bank. Find people who believe in you and your story, and surround yourself with those people.
If Krissy’s awesome insights have inspired you to take your business to the next level, sign up to the MYOB newsletter for more business tips and tricks.
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