In 2015 we talked about ‘Making it Happen’. This year we’re being asked to make a pledge for parity. I’m confused. If we ‘made it happen’ then why do we need to pledge?

Perhaps it’s because we talked about ‘making it happen’ but didn’t find time to actually fulfil the words. Because it stayed on the bottom of the ‘to do’ list of our busy lives. Perhaps we still intend to ‘make it happen’ when we find time. Or maybe we spoke about ‘making it happen’ without the intent to see it through or belief that we could accomplish it. Someone else will run with it, won’t they? We hurried back to work and went about our daily lives because the doers or dreamers will take the lead, won’t they? Or perhaps we really tried but failed. You know, like that diet that the Ben and Jerry’s setback spoiled.

This sound familiar?

Not for me. I talked and wrote about three things I would do to ‘make it happen’. I shared them widely. And I crossed all three of them off my list. It wasn’t hard. Because I made them a priority. Not a priority in the future when my daughter starts her career. I made it a priority today.

I said I would:

  1. Choose my words carefully. Language should be gender neutral so as to be inclusive. It should be motivating and encouraging for all children. Most of all it should be kind to yourself – ban the words common in negative thoughts!
  2. Mentor and seek mentors. Giving and seeking out the same mentoring advice as my male peers. I wouldn’t just tell the women to work on their soft skills and the men to work on their business acumen. I would give them the same message regardless of gender.
  3. Make a stand for flexible working arrangements, regardless of the different meanings it has for different people. For me, it give me the ability to juggle my board roles, make time for my mentoring passion via Steel Heels, and most importantly, be a great Mum to little Chloe.

Over the last year I ‘made it happen’ by:

(1) Asking audiences and colleagues to correct me when my language fails the gender neutral test. I’ve been conscious of language when conversing with Miss Chloe, putting particular emphasis on how I categorise certain occupations (I used ‘they’ rather than ‘he’ or ‘she’). I was not perfect, but I got a lot better.

(2) Mentoring many women and men. Face-to-face – I spent my daily coffee break meeting someone for a quick chat. I spent my drive down the freeway in the morning mentoring those in remote locations. I also mentored thousands through Steel Heels and I grew my Steel Heels community by offering a half hour mentoring session in exchange for a Steel Heels guest blog. Worked a treat! Quid pro quo. I also shared my own stories, experiences and ideas.

(3) Agreeing on part-time working arrangements with my executive role employer. I said no to breakfast functions so I could spend that quality time with Miss Chloe. And I found support via innovative resourcing methods to grow Steel Heels.

Step up and convert your words into actions

I love hearing the community conversation turning towards diversity, parity and equality. But I love creating and implementing actions that drive change even more. If you are talking but not doing, then take the next step. Step up and convert your words into actions. Make your pledge a measureable action. Be open about it. Commit yourself and tell others to hold you to account. Don’t be shy.

So, to my pledge.

I pledge to maintain focus on my three actions. In doing so, I will continue to focus on implementing initiatives aimed at increasing the self-confidence of women in the workplace. I pledge to continue talking but to ensure my actions speak louder. I pledge to continue to grow Steel Heels (the online mentoring platform I founded). I pledge to broaden the reach of Steel Heels, particularly to younger women who are just embarking on their careers. I pledge to work with corporates around the globe to introduce Steel Heels as a tool to support their workforce. And I pledge to be open to new ideas.

What is your #PledgeforParity?

What will you do to make it a priority?

Sharon Warburton has been smashing glass ceilings in the resources and construction industries for more than 20 years. Today she is a Non Executive Director, a NFP Director, single mum to Miss Chloe and a mentor to many. Sharon is the 2014 Telstra WA Business Woman of the Year and the NAB Women’s Agenda Mentor of the Year. She is the founder of – an online mentoring platform aimed at increasing self-confidence in the workplace.

Katherine-FritzThough she only owns one pair of heels, Katie Fritz heads up brand and marketing efforts as the Marketing Manager at Trippeo Inc., which develops an app for tracking travel and expenses for businesses. Since joining in July of 2014, Katie has worked with the Trippeo team to help identify their audience and build a cohesive brand voice.

Previously, Katie worked as a writer, and spends her free time at the pottery studio or working on her small floral design business. We had the pleasure of speaking with her and learn about the challenges and benefits of being a woman in the world of tech start-ups.

As a Marketing Manager you have helped put Trippeo on the map, helping this application become one of the most sought-after expense management software. What is your secret?

A manager is only as good at the team that they work with. Obviously there are dynamics within a team that makes one more or less successful, but we’re really lucky at Trippeo. I came onto a team with a high degree of emotional intelligence, as well as top-quality skill sets in development, sales, etc. We’re a small team; we have to get along and understand each other if we’re going to work effectively together. Thankfully, we’re all on the same page about what we want to do: build something great that solves problems and works beautifully. The road to getting to that goal has lots of weird offshoots, and my job is reining in those crazy ideas and make sure that they suit, delight, and make sense to the businesses we’re making this app for.

Holding a managerial role must have its challenges. How do you handle them?

Well, working at any start-up demands that you be ready to drop everything and pivot at basically a moment’s notice. Being a good improviser is key. You can’t love anything you’ve planned or made too much because the reality is that it’s going to change or be outdated within a few weeks. If you have a big ego, it’s going to get its ass kicked at a start-up.

Getting your ego destroyed is actually really beneficial to being a manager, because you’re more able to look at the solutions to a problem and not favor your own method. Good written verbal communication helps too, and having a wrought iron sense of humor. Being on friendly terms with your colleagues not only makes it more fun to come into work everyday, it makes pulling long hours on grinding projects a lot more enjoyable. .

I guess in summary, it’s my personal belief that a good sense of humor and the ability to be nimble will take you much further in life than the ability to plan something to the hilt.

The tech industry is still, to some extent, considered to be a man’s world. How fast do you think that this is changing, since we are seeing more and more women CEOs at some of the leading tech start-ups?

On paper, the gendered landscape of the tech industry is changing really fast: we’re seeing more female CEOs, investors, entrepreneurs, etc etc. And that’s great. I love reading their stories, I’d love to work with them. But I think it would be a mistake to say that women have overcome the gender gap in the tech industry. Too much of the published recognition is based on the novelty of being a woman.

Businesswomen who accomplish incredible funding raises or build huge companies are gaining recognition for their accomplishments in the space, and we call that progress… but that’s just how meritocracy works. I have a lot of hope for women in the space right now, and I’m excited to have my feet on the ground and be in the middle of it. And if our community keeps growing and changing as much as we’ve done in the last ten years, then the future looks really bright.

You are a social activist and someone who is very publicly outspoken when it comes to women rights. Has this affected your work in any way?

I’m sure it’s affected my working environment, but I’m fine with that. I’m a feminist, and I don’t have patience for comments or attitudes that would demean the personhood of another. I think that sets a high standard of communication for my interactions. I like that. I want to encourage people to think and choose their words carefully when we speak. If that scares or bothers people, that’s more a reflection on their being attached to the status quo than my being rigid.

I want to encourage people to think and choose their words carefully when we speak.

I don’t have this issue at the Trippeo office. Sure, my male co-workers occasionally mess up and say something sexist–usually unintentionally. I’ve found the best way to deal with friends and colleagues making such remarks is to point out their casual sexism. So much of such comments are culturally inherited, and we (myself included!) don’t always think before we repeat idioms that are actually really regressive and harmful to women everywhere. In the office specifically, I just make fun of my workmates. It contributes to a healthy conversation, and we all get a kick out of it. It’s fun.

In addition to your two corporate jobs, you are also a freelance writer and florist! How does that fit into your busy schedule?

The work I do with Trippeo is really analytical and computer based: research, chatting with sales people, throwing around pitch ideas. It’s a complex job, but I don’t feel like it uses every part of my brain. Floral design is so immediate: you take the materials and you make something. Then you can break it all down and make it again, or watch it cycle through its life. My more recent work with bridal clients and marketing teams has been really satisfying, because it lets me share my excitement for the craft.

Freelance writing is something I’ve done since university. I actually did my undergrad in Creative Writing. The freedom to accept jobs I am really excited about keeps the work fresh and fun, like solving a puzzle rather than cranking away at a math problem. And scheduling? Well, that’s ever evolving. Some days I wake up at 4AM and hit the flower auction, and others I sleep till 8:30AM and then ride my bike to the Trippeo office. Having a really rigid schedule has never worked for me. I want to get up and then immediately jump into something that excites me.

Finally, what would be your message to all the young women starting up in the world of start-ups?

Be tough, be kind. Stand up for yourself, and earn respect through hard work. Gender is a factor, so don’t let it trip you up. As long as the tech industry treats the achievements of women like they are seeing bears do backflips (that is to say, amazing and previously inconceivable feats), you will have to work twice as hard for half the recognition. Just consider it an opportunity to build your character, and use your frustration to light fires under your own butt.

Be tough, be kind. Stand up for yourself, and earn respect through hard work. Gender is a factor, so don’t let it trip you up.

Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep and have a life some days. Ask for performance reviews and feedback so you can keep growing. Know and check in with what you want: your goals will change, so make sure your approach does too. Most importantly: if you don’t like what you’re doing, change.

Unless we collaborate, the lack of female leaders now will drastically affect the pipeline of female leaders for tomorrow. There will be no funneling of talent, no monitoring or active sponsoring of younger women– because the senior female leaders simply won’t be there to see these things put in place.

The lost investment in talent – in smart, savvy, knowledgeable and strong women who are able to make a difference and ensure that equality is kept – is astonishing, and yet organisations are willing to let this happen and incur the cost to re-recruit versus retain. The reduction in the effectiveness of collaborative business is also clear, with the ‘female voice’ being lost and key characteristics and strengths disappearing from the process.

The disappearing female leader means a management team devoid of perspective. Decision-making is one-dimensional. Discussions around innovation, new product development, marketing and consumer engagement strategies become gender-silo’d.

The reality is this. The infamous glass ceiling is still firmly in place, and unless we all collectively engage and take action it is never going to develop more than a few cracks.

So what action is needed?

1. Step out of status quo

It’s easy to get trapped in the comfort zone and the place of status quo. The place of no change, of stagnation. But what it also means is a lack of forward thinking, a lack of opportunity to evolve, to do things differently. It is those leaders and organisations that are willing to challenge themselves, who make themselves accountable for their own success, which recognise the need to reach that little bit further or higher, who know that change has to happen. It is those who take the leap, who are able to collaborate with others to mutual commercial benefit with confidence.

…there has been acknowledgement that women are actually more suited for leadership within some roles as their skillsets are essential to the work being done

The Australian Defence Force has in many ways been a groundbreaker when it comes to challenging the status quo and forcing change to happen. There is no position now within the Australian Army that is not open to females. There is no distinction between men and women when it comes to criteria for promotion and there has been acknowledgement that women are actually more suited for leadership within some roles as their skillsets are essential to the work being done – for example, with displaced women and children within warzones.

2. Change the attitude of the C-suite

The attitude of those at a C-suite level is of prime importance in encouraging others within the company to see the need for more women in leadership roles. This applies equally to men and women, but perhaps in different ways. In terms of males in senior positions, the way they think, act and behave is giving direct influence to younger males in the organisation. If they openly support equality within senior management, and understand the value of women in those roles, then they are setting an example for the next generation to follow.

3. Don’t sit back – speak up

The only way we are going to accelerate the rate of change is to raise our voices and our actions at the same time. It’s time women (and men) started speaking out about their own terms of employment and asking the hard questions. The whole ‘it’s not nice to talk about money’ politeness needs to be thrown out the window. Have the discussion – talk openly about salaries. The gender pay gap in Australia is sitting at 18.2 percent, down from and average of 85.2 cents 10 years ago. We are actually going backwards in terms of wage equity. If we don’t speak out, we are not leaning out, being brave, or showing willingness to have the courageous conversations that will drive the change that is needed.

The gender pay gap in Australia is sitting at 18.2 percent, down from and average of 85.2 cents 10 years ago.

4. Lean out – collaborate more

One sex is not effective without the other in terms of truly making change happen. Instead of an argument about inequality, why can’t this be a discussion about equality, about together how we can drive change? It is not enough, in the words of the amazing Sheryl Sandberg, to ‘lean in’ for future-proofing our success, our businesses and our careers. As leaders who are taking teams into an uncertain future it’s now about leaning out and collaborating with others. Because to lean out means to embrace and engage on an unforeseen aggregated level — where thinking bigger than ever before will bring rewards to a collective commercial mind. Where diversity and difference of opinion is actually the competitive advantage.

5. Own brand YOU

The biggest killer of confidence in business, as in any of life’s journeys, is when we start to doubt ourselves, and the path that we are on. It’s very easy to simply shrug and say to ourselves ‘well, if someone says ‘you’re simply not good enough’ then it must be true’. If we are to create the organisations that we want to work within that we want others to enjoy being part of, and to build a company that is more than just the service or the product that is being sold, the soul of the organisation, its integrity has to permeate everything….and its more than just words. Confidence in the leadership of self is essential.

Confidence in the leadership of self is essential.

6. Engage with sponsorship

On the whole, organisations are not providing enough active mentoring and sponsoring for the younger women coming up through the ranks, and through this lack of duty of care, they are committing sabotage.

Time and time again in countless studies continue to show that when sponsorship is a part of workplace culture, like sponsors like, and it is borne out if you take a look around any large company. Gender sponsors gender and it even comes down to ethnicity sponsoring ethnicity. So, if the company has a 70:30 male:female ratio of senior management, then 70% of those sponsored are automatically going to be male. Take those numbers further down, because of course the percentage of managers who actually take on a sponsorship role is perhaps 25%, and you are looking at a very small funnel of female talent.

Gender sponsors gender and it even comes down to ethnicity sponsoring ethnicity.

Companies need to be more active in their attitude of engagement when it comes to developing the sponsor / sponsee relationship. We must support each other wholeheartedly through networks. We must sponsor, mentor and nurture those younger women coming through the ranks and create a future pipeline of female leaders

Leaders everywhere need to listen to what the women in society and in business are saying right now. Explore the possibilities of what diversity and 100% involvement could bring – how the benefits of a collaborative society and workplace, one that is well-rounded, well influenced and well distributed, can widen perspective and create opportunities that have not as yet been tapped in to. Men and women should work collaboratively at a leadership level; it’s what makes teams – and decisions – great. Women’s ‘soft skills’ as leaders – to empathise, to compartmentalise, and to bring diverse groups together – should never be underestimated, along with our ‘hard’ business skills.

The increasing affluence of women is challenging us all to adapt and realign ourselves to the needs of a new society. Engaging women in the workplace, especially at the leadership level, is an essential part of the collaborative economy.

Janine Garner is a businesswoman and entrepreneur, passionate about the return to open and transparent corporate relationships and the power of commercial collaboration in future-proofing careers and businesses. Janine is the author of From Me To We – Why commercial collaboration will future-proof business, leaders and personal success published by Wiley. She is the Founder and CEO of LBDGroup and works with senior leaders to build high performing teams.

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Women who work in male-dominated industries often cite gender as a barrier to career progression. Perceptions abound that their success in such industries can be inhibited by selective reasoning, with women at times not considered for roles due to gender or family circumstances. Conversely, they also worry about receiving preferential treatment based on gender rather than merit, such as in circumstances where a company hopes to promote and boost its equality credentials.

Throughout my career in mining, I have seen and directly experienced these situations. I was told they were based on traditional attitudes and were widespread – to be accepted rather than challenged. However, to achieve the success I knew I was capable of, I quickly realised I would need to move beyond such barriers – both those perceived limitations driven by societal expectation and my own psychological & emotional barriers that would hold me back if I gave them credence.

Overcoming the obstacles

It is undeniable that mining is an industry dominated by powerful men. Mining for Talent, a UK study published early in 2013 by Women in Mining and PwC, found that the industry has the lowest number of women on company boards of any industry group worldwide. Statistics like these can be daunting for those looking to enter a sector like mining, and even more so for those already locked into the industry and hoping to progress their careers.

However, there are ways to be successful despite this environment. The first step is confronting these hurdles and internal anxieties. I believe women need to avoid prejudices around whether their chosen sector is female friendly or male dominated, and instead look at the opportunities and jobs presented in the context of their ambitions and skillsets. With a background in geology, I saw mining as a chance to work in incredible locations around the world, from remote South Africa to outback Australia.

Creating a leadership mindset

This approach is even more important for those hoping to vie for senior management positions. Women often hesitate and shy away from putting themselves forward for these roles due to either a lack of confidence in their own ability or intimidation based on societal attitudes around a given industry. The only way they can succeed is to maintain a strong belief in themselves and proactively improve their skillsets as necessary, striving to continue learning both on and off the job.

Once I realised I was in a position to become a leader, I followed this advice. I saw a need to further my managerial skillset and career growth by changing pace. I knew that an executive education course would set me apart from my counterparts, both male and female, and signal to my superiors that I was serious about progressing my career and myself even further.

As such, the Chief Executive Women’s scholarship I won allowed me to complete the Advanced Management Programme (AMP) at INSEAD Business School in Fontainebleau, France. Through this, I not only honed my management and leadership skills but was able to reflect on my achievements, better understand how I fit into my company and was exposed to an inspiring group of honest individuals.

The programme equipped me with a number of communication and leadership skills I could infuse into my own style, while providing insight into how I viewed both myself and the world around me. During the course, I met both men and women in similar situations to my own, and hearing how they progressed and overcame issues I face on a daily basis only inspired me further.

My tips for women in male-dominated industries

The key for women in male-dominated industries, then, comes down to both self-belief and approaching work without predisposition toward a common but misinformed viewpoint.

Further to this, you can secure your own immediate and long-term success by:

  • Focusing on the role at hand
  • Never being afraid to put your hand up to try something new
  • Realising that you don’t need to be the expert – just a quick learner
  • Accepting advice and support when offered
  • Being open to enhancing your skills through further education

Sinead Kaufman - Leaders in Heels


Sinead Kaufman is the Programme Lead, Leading for Success for Rio Tinto. She was a winner of the 2014 Chief Executive Women Scholarship, through which she completed the Advanced Management Programme at INSEAD.

It’s not often that we hear the stories of inspiring women who are leading the way in modern agriculture.

Kate O’Callaghan, General Manager of Southern Cotton, is leading a team of six to create a burgeoning cotton industry in regional NSW that is being praised for its world-class production.

Southern Cotton was born from the frustration of local cotton growers, who questioned the necessity to travel 800km to gin their cotton. With this in mind, within three years the team’s vision has become a reality, now processing cotton from more than 100 growers and turning over more than $25 million annually.

There was a perception that the plan to build a gin wouldn’t work, but failure was never an option. When a team of like-minded people work together towards a common goal in challenging circumstances – what seems impossible can be achieved.

Widely acknowledged as improving the outlook of the regional economy, Southern Cotton was recently named the 2015 Australian Regional Business of the Year. We chatted to Kate to find out about her background, role and Southern Cotton and how their business is helping the local economy.

LiH: Tell us about your background, did you grow up in the bush? What was your early career?

I grew up in Sydney. Despite the fact that it was unusual for a young woman to have a passion for agriculture, few were surprised by my decision to enrol in the male-dominated Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree at the University of Sydney.

It was here that my passion for agriculture turned to action. I represented the agriculture student population on the Faculty of Agriculture Board and represented the Faculty of Agriculture on the university Academic Board.

After graduating from university as an agronomist in the mid-1980s, my drive to make a positive contribution to the agricultural industry shaped both my professional pathway and clarified for me that education is the best way to reach others and influence change.

Following leadership roles at the Department of Agriculture, Novogen (pharmaceutical company) and CopRice Stockfeeds, I have brought together the lessons from these experiences to my role as General Manager at Southern Cotton.

When I’m not working for Southern Cotton, I run fat lambs and grow rice and cereals with my husband Owen on the family farm at Yanco.

LiH: How did you get involved with Southern Cotton?

I was recruited by Southern Cotton in 2011. The directors gave me a ring and asked if I would be interested in an exciting new challenge and I immediately said yes! The brief was to nurture a new industry for the Murrumbidgee Valley community in southern NSW. Within a year, we transformed a paddock into a $26 million operation.

This year 36,000 hectares of cotton has been sown in the Murrumbidgee Valley, with more than 700,000 bales processed at the facility since 2012.

Through my role at Southern Cotton, I represent the Southern NSW cotton industry at Cotton Australia general meetings and on research panels. I am also currently the secretary of the new Southern Valley Cotton Growers’ Association and am the agricultural representative / treasurer on the Riverina Regional Tourism Board.

LiH: At the Telstra Business Awards, Southern Cotton was praised for its impact on the regional economy. Can you tell us more about this impact, and how important is it to you + the future of Southern Cotton?

This season, in the Murrumbidgee Valley, 36,000 hectares of cotton was sown with the average yield 11.5 bales/ha (400,000 bales). Southern Cotton processed more than 200,000 of these bales. With an average value of in excess of $500 per bale, this is returning close to $200 million to the region. Plus, associated growth in support industries, for example, agronomy, freight, and machinery sales.

Cottonseed sales returned an average $345/tonne to the region’s growers in 2015 ($15 million into the regional economy).

Over four years we have processed in excess of 700,000 bales with a value of over $300 million

We’re dedicated to doing the best job for our growers and showcasing the quality of the emerging cotton industry in Southern NSW.

LiH: What’s the biggest challenge that you have faced so far?

The overarching hurdle was the preconceived idea that cotton would not be a viable crop in the region. As such, funding for the project could not be secured through any of the banks. Backing their belief in the potential of the cotton industry, the Southern Cotton six directors took a risk and invested their own money to develop the ginning facility.

The financial challenges were matched with practical difficulties. Given the location of the gin was a greenfield site, electricity had to be upgraded 15km away and other office conveniences, such as phone and internet connection, were not straightforward.

There are two main lessons we learned from successfully overcoming these difficulties.

The first lesson is that persistence pays off. There was a general perception that the plan to build a gin wouldn’t work. Failure was never an option for the Southern Cotton team, despite the significant personal and financial sacrifices that have been made.

The second lesson is that when a team of like-minded people work together towards a common goal in challenging circumstances – what seems impossible can be achieved!

LiH: What are you most proud of?

Southern Cotton is a compelling winning-against-the-odds story. I’m most proud that I have helped transform a greenfield site into an operational gin, proactively educated local growers about the benefits of choosing cotton as a summer crop, and informed visitors to the region about the efficiency, sustainability and quality of the local irrigated industries.

LiH: How has being named the National Regional Business of the Year impacted your business?

To win the Telstra business awards has allowed us to share our enormous pride in not only our business and its achievements at every level but also the regional cotton industry, our growers and their excellence.

LiH: As a leader for women in agriculture, what advice do you have for other women in the industry?

I would like to share my experiences in effecting change. For me, there are three key lessons in effecting change. Firstly, change doesn’t happen in isolation. Influence is about getting the people around you to want to join you on the journey. Throughout my career, I have taken others on this journey to effect change in many industries.

Secondly, it is important to always stay true to your values – and treat others the way you want to be treated. That is why I have the support of Southern Cotton employees who have worked tirelessly alongside me to gin cotton at the highest quality and provide exceptional customer service.

Thirdly, effecting change can be all-consuming. Balancing these efforts with other interests gives you the stamina to keep going for the long haul. For me, that means spending time on the family farm, keeping up with the activities of my three sons, and catching up with friends and sometimes just having some time out (in my dreams ha!).

When it comes to business acumen, awesome shoes, and a powerful network of amazing business associates, I’ve got it all. I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than half of my life, building my 20 office real estate firm, a law firm, coaching business, and fashion empire.

When it comes to business, I feel as though I play fair in the sandbox. I deal equally well with men and women as my sole focus is to move the ball forward in whichever empire I am working on at the time. That being said, I’ve come to learn that there are different sets of rules for women versus men when it comes to business. I’m not whining about it, because what’s the use? I’ve simply come to observe that there are advantages and disadvantages to building a business in heels.

There are a million and one advantages to being a female business owner. That being said, I’ve come to learn the hard way, that every once in a while there are things that guys can get away with in business that girls just can’t. These are the things you need to watch out for when doing business.

Here’s my ultimate guide to what women can’t do in business.

Assume a Dinner Meeting is a Dinner Meeting

So you’re working on a massive business deal with a guy business associate. He says, “What are you doing for dinner?” I’ve been on plenty of dinner meetings that were actually dinner meetings. However, I’ve also been on dinner meetings that turn south because the business associate had more than dinner in mind. If you think you’re fine because, well, you are wearing a wedding ring, think again. My advice is to stick to lunch or coffee meetings unless absolutely necessary or unless you are going with a group. This way you avoid a potentially good business relationship becoming uncomfortable or even combative.

Post Only Business Stuff to Social Media

I’m a huge fan of social media. I use Facebook and Twitter daily. I use both to strategically build my businesses. Here’s what I’ve noticed. I constantly make posts that pertain to what I’m doing in business. I post pictures from networking events, group lunches, business trips and more. I find that if I post just business stuff, people make comments to me like, “Do you ever spend time with your family?” The truth is, yes, I spend time with my family every day, but I choose to keep that part of my life semi-private. Do guy business leaders take the heat when they don’t constantly post pictures of their kids? Doubt it.


One of my favorite male business leaders in real estate almost always cries when he gives a speech. Another strong businessman I know was brought to tears at the first two meetings in which I met him. In my experience, guys that cry in the business world are seen as strong, whereas women who cry in the business world are seen as weak. I’m quite positive that all of us, both men and women, have had our days where all we want to do is sob into a pillow. If you are a chick, find a gal pal and share your woes because the truth is that girls who cry at the office, exposing their vulnerability, will never be looked upon as the strong albeit compassionate business leaders that they are.


I don’t know if this is just in the real estate sector or if it’s in every business, but there seem to be different bragging rights when it comes to guys versus girls. Guys that brag about their awards, accomplishments, and accolades are seen as Gods. Girls that do it are viewed as obnoxious. There are ways around this, I’ve found. For example, list awards, accomplishments, and success statistics somewhere on your website. That way it’s public information. I also make sure that my LinkedIn profile is insanely accurate with every award or accomplishment received. When I meet someone, I’ll never brag about what I’ve accomplished in business, however, if someone I meet shares their accomplishments, I will do so as well. For example, I’ve been trying to recruit this really big real estate agent to my firm. In a recent conversation with him, he made a point to explain all of his accomplishments in detail. In return, I shared the accomplishments of my business.

Mix Business and Pleasure

It’s common knowledge in the business world that guys network on the golf course. Entire days are spent out on greens and fairways and this counts as business networking because relationships are being built somewhere within the eight hours of chipping, drinking, and chatting. As a woman, I can tell you that almost anything fun I do is networking. The fashion show on Friday night – networking. The sip and shop mixer at the country club – networking. Girls Night Out – networking. In the world of business there seems to be a very distinct line drawn between business and pleasure, at least for women. If we want to have fun, even if it’s networking fun, it’s after work hours. How come there’s no such thing as Guys Night Out? Maybe because they take entire days outside of the office to golf with colleagues under the guise of networking?

Stacey Alcorn

Empire builder, author, attorney, and mom who loves to inspire women to reach for big dreams.