Starting in January 2017, Joanna Bloor (US based people accelerator), Jill Orr (EU based media executive) and myself (APAC based technology executive) co-launched “LadyBadAssery”—a project aimed at highlighting the extraordinary women we’re each fortunate enough to be inspired by. We believe excellence comes at all levels and in all shapes and sizes and we want to ensure we shine a light across that spectrum. #Ladybadassery doesn't align to leadership creds. We want to give confidence to brilliance, influence and impact at every level.
Founding #ladybadass Joanna Bloor explains:
It’s about sponsorship and awareness. If it’s true that every decision about you and your career opportunities is made in a room that you’re not in then what do you do about it? Those “decision making rooms” are still full of men, men who just might not know who you are. This means you’re not even part of the consideration set. Like a brand, we want to help build awareness and then we can start talking about qualifications.
One of our main motivations for doing this has simply been because it’s needed. Too often only a small number of high profile executives with corporate PR machines behind them feature in the latest listicle compiled by under-resourced journalists or corporations with a particular agenda. On top of that, women are still under-represented in board roles, as executive team members and on conference programs. Despite this, there is a wide base of talented, high achieving ladies being the change they want to see and it’s these ladies we’re most determined to celebrate.
Every week since January, we’ve posted a celebration of an individual of our choice (or nominated by others) to our social channels across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Being across social allows us to tap into the support network most women have.
Says co-curator, Jill Orr:
This has been key to reinforcing our personal insights into someone’s #ladybadassery traits and amplifies our ability to recommend and celebrate others, which in turns leads to further fostering of such behaviour.
To date, averaging three posts a week (one from each region) we’ve highlighted 25 women, generating over 1,000 likes on Facebook, more than 25,000 post views on LinkedIn and Twitter and a broad array of commentary both public and private. The ladies who have been featured to date have expressed both delight and a sense of empowerment from receiving the accolade itself as well as all the positive reinforcement from their social circle.
We’ve also received a steady stream of nominations from both ladies and gentlemen keen to nominate their own inspirations and see them featured. Many people have asked “Why / Why you” and the answer really is “Why not? and Why not Us?
Says Nicki Kenyon, regional marketing executive and #ladybadass:
In an era of fake news and brand centric communications, #LadyBadAssery is tapping into the community desire for authenticity and positive social interaction. This type of genuine, peer- to-peer driven affirmation is both rare and empowering.
Aside from the positive feedback from the nominee’s and their peers, what’s been the other big surprise in the project is how reluctant and shy potential nominees are to participate. It’s an indication of the broader problem of “Bragging” often being considered un-feminine. There’s almost a pavlovian response of “Who me? No.” that we see often from women. While there’s a certain amount of humility in the response there’s also a fairly strong undercurrent of concern about judgement. We hope as the project continues to build momentum, we will see less of this kind of hesitation.
As Aliza Knox, regional technology executive and #ladybadass shares:
When successful females celebrate their peers' achievements, it reinforces for us the impact we have, exposes us to what's possible and allows others to find new role models.
Given how rare it is to receive positive feedback in today’s corporate environment and the need for #WomensMarch being so acute following the US elections, projects like #LadyBadAssery are a small step to be the change we want to see.
This is only the beginning, we want to foster more referrals and make this social event accessible to women we admire and have celebrated. If you want to nominate someone for their #ladybadassery, please submit via this form.
|Wendy Hogan is co-curator of www.ladybadassery.com and Oracle's APAC marketing transformation and strategy director.|