Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC

Is there a woman on this wall?

by Admin 5. January 2015 11:16

What do we, as women, need in order to be successful leaders? Tara Cookson, our latest speaker for the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Inspire Series [a branch of the Women’s Leadership Network], points out that maybe what we need most, are other strong female leaders to look up to.

Cookson is a PhD researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she is also founding director of the Gates Cambridge Professional Development program.

She is the second recipient of the Bill Gates Sr Prize in recognition of her remarkable research, demonstration of leadership and dedication to improving the lives of others. Needless to say, she fits the image of a strong female leader.

Cookson spoke to her moments of obligation, the times in her life where she knew she had to dive in and do the work. For her, her journey started with her involvement at the Kelowna Women’s Resource Centre.

One thing that really stuck with me was a point that Cookson posed towards the end of her speech, “is there a woman on this wall?” Cookson told the story of an experiment that was done with students giving presentations to a panel of judges with various images on the back wall; one of the images being a strong male leader, one of a strong female leader, and one of a blank space. To summarize: a significant improvement was seen in the female students’ volume, confidence, and overall speech when facing the wall with the image of a strong female leader.

So, this is my question: how do we get more ‘women on the wall?’ If we need more strong female leaders to look up to, we really need to start giving each other that helping hand. We need to encourage, to motivate, and to help on another in our journeys so that we can cultivate more of these leaders.

Another question Tara posed:  if we feel we need more women leaders, why not start with ourselves?

We need to change our mindsets and to recognize not only the potential of those around us, but our own potential as well. We need to help each other through our struggles and we need to create a network of people who can help make things happen and support one another.

If you are a strong female leader, or are inspired to do more, we would love to hear from you. Email stephanie@kelownachamber.org for more information or to find out how you can get involved.

 

- KCC 

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