Anne Welsh McNulty rose to the top of her profession, but not without some discouraging experiences along the way. She draws on those experiences in an article for Harvard Business Review imploring women to support each other at work.
Before co-founding JBK Partners, an investment management firm, Anne was a Managing Director of Goldman Sachs and a senior executive of the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Strategies Group. She recalls, as a young accountant, having a more senior-level woman in the firm snub her attempts to connect, as well as having no real communication among peers at her level.
In “Don’t Underestimate the Power of Women Supporting Each Other at Work,” she writes, “I resolved not to let either of those scenarios happen again; I wanted to be aware of what was going on with the women I worked with. As I advanced in my career, I hosted women-only lunches and created open channels of communication. I made it a point to reach out to each woman who joined the firm with an open door policy, sharing advice and my personal experiences, including how to say no to doing traditionally gendered (and uncompensated) tasks like getting coffee or taking care of the office environment. To personal assistants, who might find some of those tasks unavoidable, I emphasized that they could talk to me about any issues in the workplace, that their roles were critical, and that they should be treated with respect.”
The article also includes some eye-opening facts. According to the author, a man is 46% more likely than a woman to have a higher-ranking advocate in the office. Also, from a McKinsey report, “at companies where only one in ten senior leaders are women, nearly 50% of men felt women were ‘well represented’ in leadership.” She recommends steps women can take to offset the imbalance.
Please note: AWESOME will offer additional suggestions for ways of supporting other women at work later this month when “Making Waves Action Agenda: 16 Ways for AWESOME Leaders to Make Waves and Advance Women’s Leadership” is published.