Think Women: small changes can have profound effects

Relocate’s Think Women event celebrated International Women’s Day and brought together inspiring speakers to share their stories of overcoming personal and professional challenges to achieve success.

Think Women 2020 Teresa Boughey
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The power to change society and even the world lies within each of us, and making small changes to the way we speak and act can have profound effects. That was the message of the Relocate Think Women workshop and lunch held at the Institute of Directors in London on 6 March, sponsored by Mauve.Featuring inspirational speakers from the world of global mobility, leadership, aviation and HR, the occasion was an opportunity for women and men to discuss the opportunities and challenges in today’s global workforce.

Taking risks in global expansion

Ann Ellis, co-founder of global expansion experts and business services provider Mauve began by sharing the story of how her childhood dream of running her own business and travelling the world came true.After growing up on a Welsh farm, she went on to study modern languages and become a teacher. Later, while caring for her two young children, she founded Mauve in Italy, which now has offices in 70 countries and helps workers across the globe. “I was brought up in a close-knit community where we all supported each other,” she told the audience. “I took opportunities as they arose and took chances. I often feel like I am standing on the edge of a precipice, but I say to people, just accept the risk and go for it.”

From small beginnings to work in 150 countries

Mauve started very small – in a broom cupboard in her Italian home, to be precise. “It had just enough space for a desk, chair and bookshelf, but it had no windows,” Ms Ellis explained. Setting up the company meant juggling the care of two young children with learning how to support freelance workers in the days before the Internet and with only a fax machine to hand.Spring Issue 2020 out nowYet from small beginnings, the company now helps workers in 150 countries and has made a profound difference to the lives of many people. Without Mauve, many individuals would not have had the support and advice that has enabled them to be globally mobile. “Twenty years ago when I set off to Italy with our two children and all our essential belongings in two cars, I felt as though I were on an adventure,” she said. “Today, I still do. It has been a wonderful experience.”

Finding inspiration in everyday life

The next speaker was Teresa Boughey, who discussed the power of “ordinary people” to enthuse and inspire us, and how we can act as role models and inspiration to other people. Making small changes to the way we act – for example by using active listening in our personal and professional relationships – can create big changes, she explained.Teresa Boughey is CEO of award-winning Jungle HR and works with executive boards and leadership teams during times of change and business transformations. Throughout her career, Ms Boughey has gained vast strategic HR experience and has worked at a senior level within a variety of industries and sectors.
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She explained how, as a mother at age 16, she had to overcome prejudice and judgement in her quest to care for her daughter and make a better life for herself. “I was determined not to be restricted by those judgements that were levelled at me,” she said. “There were things that I had to sacrifice and do differently. You can do anything you want. Surround yourself with cheerleaders, dig deep and hold onto those dreams.”

Inclusivity for all

She explained that diversity and inclusion is not the job of someone else – it is the responsibility of all of us. Her model of inclusive leadership is based on the TRIBE mentality:• Take stock and look at where your company is now
• Raise awareness
• Inspire and involve – be an accessible role model
• Build for the future – create an organisation where everyone can thrive
• Embed those values – make inclusion part of the DNA of your organisation.

Read more inspiring stories about our Think Women speakers:

“We can give inspiration and we can receive it,” she said. “We are all unique and we all have the ability to inspire.” Ms Boughey led an interactive workshop exploring how inspiration works in everyday life. She came up with a five-point plan of how small behaviours can inspire people to do great things:
  • Inspire people by truly listening to them
  • Inspire by being open about your own vulnerabilities
  • Inspire someone to raise the bar and stretch out of their comfort zone
  • Inspire people by setting a good example
  • Inspire others by your influence.

Making aviation accessible to young people

Carrie Clark’s aim is to help transform the aviation industry and make it more diverse and accessible to young people, whatever their background or gender. Globally, there is a global shortage of pilots and only 3 per cent are female; Ms Clark plans to be part of changing this.At 17, she obtained a Private Pilot Licence and spent the next 11 years studying and working to become an airline pilot. Now 70 per cent of her way through Flight School, she is still funding her own studies to qualify, through a range of activities, events and loans. At a cost of £85,000-£130,000, students need to be self-funding and this can seem prohibitive to many.“I started my training at 17 and there was no career development loan available and no government help,” she explained. “I just couldn’t see a way to achieve my dream.” Yet with the support of three women, she was able to complete her training and will qualify this year as a commercial pilot.

A mindset shift to change the world

The keynote speaker for Think Women was Professor Vlatka Hlupic, CEO of The Management Shift. Professor Hlupic is an international, multi-award-winning thought leader, an activist for humanising management, an academic, management consultant and an author. She is a professor of leadership and organizational transformation at Hult Ashridge Executive Education and founder of The Management Shift Consulting. She is also the author of 'The Management Shift - How to Harness the Power of People and Transform Your Organization for Sustainable Success' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and 'Humane Capital - How to Create a Management Shift to Transform Performance and Profit' (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018), a 2018 HR Magazine top 5 business book.“We need a revolution in management,” she said. “Global figures show that only 30 per cent of employees are fully engaged at work. Only 20 per cent feel that leaders can be trusted to act right when faced with difficult challenges.”

The Knowledge Economy

With the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, society has changed, she said. Workers in the Knowledge Economy ignore corporate hierarchy and expect to be treated as associates and not subordinates.“The majority of organisations are still using leadership approaches from the first Industrial Revolution,” she explains. “Back then, management was about dominance, standardisation and command and control. It worked well for its time, when efficiency and productivity were key. However, it is very detrimental for work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Valuing employees' contributions

She will be talking about 'Creating positive ripples: the few affect the whole' and how organisations can survive the huge technological changes that are taking place by adopting a new approach to management and valuing the contributions of each of their employees, at the Festival of Global People on 12 May at the Tower of London.The message of International Women’s Day, and our keynote speaker, is that we can all make a difference. “We need a new leadership style,” Professor Hlupic said. “One based on trust, transparency, collaboration and purpose. Individuals and organisations need to go through this big shift. Business as usual is not good enough anymore.”

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