The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was discussed repeatedly in high school and university, so when I learned that Ogilvy’s former co-chief creative officers who were responsible for the work were speaking at a Women of Influence event, I couldn’t resist. On Wednesday night, Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin shared how women can get ahead by speaking up and networking at a Women of Influence event.
In the age of personal branding, I was surprised when they said that women are taught it’s wrong to talk about themselves. Whether it’s at a networking event or an interview, it’s beneficial to have an elevator pitch ready and be a good storyteller when you have the opportunity to talk about your life and career.
Nancy says women ultimately need to overcome stage fright. Women have a tendency to stay silent unless they feel certain about their opinion, but Nancy says we need to speak up more and don’t worry about it too much because you can always correct yourself later. This is key because if you don’t speak up due to shyness, someone less capable than you will earn a promotion. In other words, don’t worry too much about perfection and become comfortable making mistakes, as that’s the approach men take.
Next, Janet spoke about how women are more reluctant to network than men, convincing themselves it’s not worth the time commitment. She started out with networking by keeping in touch with fellow judges who she met through advertising awards. Janet emphasized that the best networking is authentic and will feel more like you’re talking to a friend than an awkward cold call. Another way of looking at networking is to see it as a generous act: let it be something you do without an agenda, as that will allow you to maintain warm connections.
Nancy and Janet’s advice was helpful because they provided tools for relationship building in the workplace that will allow attendees to demonstrate their worth to their boss and connect with people at networking events. Another highlight of the event was meeting Charles the Butler at the event—what a treat!