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IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge: Carol Newham


Disclaimer: Please note that all commentary and opinions provided in this interview are those of the individual and not the organisation/company they are employed by. 

What skills and attributes do female leaders bring to create diverse leadership at management level? 

I have worked with some wonderful female leaders and their great skills and attributes I would say are good listening skills, empathy, a curiosity and questioning style to get to the heart of an issue (peeling back the layers of the onion so to speak) and openness to new ideas/ thinking. Equally I have worked with men who have also displayed these skills and attributes so it is important not to generalise along gender lines. 

What does “choose to challenge” mean to you? 

“Choose to challenge” to me is around proactively pushing myself into a place that is uncomfortable in the short term for the long-term benefit of myself and/or those around me. From a personal perspective when “exciting” opportunities come along pushing myself to say “Yes” and then thinking through the how will I ever do this later, whether the question be “Would you like to speak on the stage at a big industry conference?” to “Would you like to abseil down the Clifton Gorge for charity?” Giving a broader example, I am choosing to challenge myself right now to understand more about Black Heritage so that I can be a better positive advocate. 

What is one lesson you learnt the hard way? 

Being blunt, being excellent at your job is not necessarily enough to secure that promotion you have always wanted and feel you deserve. You need to take the time to build your brand and profile with key stakeholders. This does not come naturally to me at all and I needed a lot of help to attempt to do this; my best advice is to find yourself a good sponsor and mentor to support you with this. 

What are you really, really good at? 

This is a really interesting question and one that I am finding hard to answer and I suspect won’t be alone in finding it hard to answer. I would encourage anyone reading this that is unsure to spend time with a coach (or family/colleagues if formal coaching is not available) exploring this question as it is critical that we understand our strengths if we are to play to them and honestly assess what brilliant attribute we can bring to a high performing team. To answer the question (finally), building trusted relationships. 

What is your next goal or adventure? 

Like many I would love to plan and actually go on a holiday rather than my recent trend of plan and cancel. Places currently on the dream adventure list are Japan and South Africa. Although to be honest if we manage our planned week in the New Forest in May, I will be happy. 

Why is it important that we “choose to challenge” and call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping? 

To create an inclusive, fairer society.

Click below to read the full edition of IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge: Female Leaders Across The Globe.