Emma Howe, sales and events director at Street Feast, on what success looks like for a woman in sales.
With over 15 years in the events and hospitality industry I can see a lot has changed for younger women starting out in their careers. Nevertheless, there is still some progress to be made for working women and some invaluable best practice out there to empower women in the workplace.
If you lead a team, like me, then think of your group as ‘genderless’ and make sure you have communicated to your colleagues that your expectations of them has nothing to do with their gender.
This mentality will spread to other parts of the business not just in your own team; outlining a positive career and work ethic will encourage those in your team, whether female or male, to achieve and do the best they can.
It’s important not to take things personally, learn to take criticism and that showing a little emotion is good, it shows how much passion you have for your job.
One of the biggest lessons I also learnt was not to be afraid to ask for a pay rise or promotion. It can be nerve-racking but learning to advocate yourself is the best way to advance your career. Know you’re worth and never feel as though you aren’t deserving of progression when you have earned it.
I’ve always found that networking with other like-minded business women is empowering and it’s good to find and meet other women outside your own business. It’s an effective way to build industry relationships, the foundation of which will help you learn, grow and be inspired.
The same can be said for finding a mentor, lots of organisations have structured programmes, alternatively ask someone you think could help you grow. Consider how much time and work goes into being a mentor and being mentored, be respectful of people’s time, and you will get out what you put in.
Try to continually analyse your own performance, think ‘what went wrong and what do I need to change?’. Define success in your own terms and set career goals for yourself, however big or small. You might start by aiming to speak on a couple of panel sessions each year and then eventually your goal might evolve into becoming the key note speaker. Remember every month, quarter and year, take a look at what you have achieved (and celebrate it), even if it’s analysing what went wrong and how you can improve.
If we stand with the view that one woman’s success is a win for all women, we can become supporters of one another.
If you wonder how another woman achieved her success, ask. We can all develop our own skills by looking to others who are in positions we aspire to reach.