November 21, 2017

Learning to be Bold

The best conferences keep you thinking long after the free coffee runs out, the panel discussion concludes, and the parking lot clears. The conversations stay with you. The Healthcare Businesswomen's Association signature event made me feel this way.

The HBA is a global nonprofit dedicated to gender equality in leadership positions in the healthcare industry. They achieve their mission through network building, research, and recognizing individuals and companies dedicated to their cause. Their signature event focuses on education and empowerment.

With the theme "Be Bold for Change," this afternoon was about achieving the career of your dreams and reaching down to help other women do the same. Led by TSP's Deb Schnell, the speakers told inspiring (and often frustrating) stories about breaking into their industries decades ago, as well as stories of modern day challenges women face in the workplace.

A major topic was the value of mentors and sponsors, who give you advice and put you into situations outside your comfort zone. Deb spoke to how men have traditionally benefited from formal mentors, either by asking another man to act as a mentor or participating in organizations with long legacies. Now, women need to build similar networks.

Deb referenced a 2017 article in the Guardian about the pay gap between men and women in the workplace. While companies play a role in narrowing the gap, it turns out our own expectations add to the problem. As the author wrote, "a lot of women have subconscious prejudices about what they are entitled to ask for."

The more we build networks and mentor each other, the more we gain confidence to ask for our worth.

Thankfully, I have had informal mentors during my career who helped me grow and mature. I'm grateful to have those types of relationships now at TSP. I still found myself wishing I had attended a conference like this a decade ago, when I didn't know I could negotiate a salary or leave a job where I didn't feel appreciated.

My hope is that every woman who benefits from mentorship takes some time to pay it forward to the next generation. We should teach the women following us to always speak up. Don't just accept recognition – ask for compensation. Know your worth and fight for it, even if you're still learning how.

In the recruiting industry, we talk to hundreds of people about new opportunities. It's a great feeling to help someone realize their own potential for their career and encourage them to make it a reality. I now feel a fire lit under me to help my own network of women feel the same way.

 

The HBA has nearly 9,000 individual members and 120 corporate partners. Interested in learning about membership? Check out their website.

Tags: conferences, #powerofpersonal, healthcare

Author
Lindsay Ekleberry

Lindsay is a Sr. Talent Acquisition Coordinator who finds awesome talent for ImmunoGen, a biotech company dedicated to innovative cancer therapies. She graduated from Ohio University in 2008 with a bachelor's in health and healthcare administration and gained experience at CareWorks USA before starting at TSP in 2015. She's great at crossfit, she has the best dog in the world, and she definitely would have been sorted into Gryffindor.

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