In a chat with Vanguard, Biola Alabi, a media mogul, who also sits on the board of many successful organizations, shares how women can rise above the odds against them in the workplace.
I think the best women can do is to refuse to be intimidated, having confidence and working on it. Confidence comes from skills. If you know what you are doing, you do it well and do not hesitate to ask questions over what you don’t understand.
Also don’t be intimidated about being ambitious. A lot of times people see ambitious women in the negative perspective, but I never see it that way. If anybody says Abiola, you are too ambitious, I will say ‘thank you’ and take it as compliment. Women should learn to take or convert such gestures as compliments and continue to do their work and move on.
One thing I really want to work on women is building their confidence. Women need to rise above complex and develop skills, speak in public with confidence and learn how to work with people that will boost confidence. These are things that helped me in the course of my career.
I have amazing role models that boosted my confidence. Some are women and some are men. These people pushed me and they never let me go to my old self. That is important for women. Network with people that will give you the tools you need to rise up in the workplace.
At one time, I have been the only black woman in an American company or the only African in an organization but I take all those challenges to my advantage and use it to bring my uniqueness to the table- the value that I add. Rather than be in an organization, sort of monolithic, I would rather be bringing my side of thinking to the table.
Confidence is the cornerstone. Sometimes, I have been intimidated and I ask myself, why is it that I am intimidated on this table, is it because I am a woman or what are the things I need to do to make impact. It is really a period of reflection of who I am and to be able to contribute much, in a way. I usually take my difference as a way to add value.
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