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IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge: Holly Goughnour

Gareth Davies IWD2021


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 is one thing women don’t talk about enough? 

The emotional and physical demands of motherhood. We have spent so much time trying to show that we can balance our work lives with our family lives that many women end up putting on a face of “having it all together.” The pandemic has highlighted that many of our women are carrying more of the responsibilities at home. Each family is different and companies need to support flexibility for all of its employees. Our working fathers must be a true partner in our homes if we really want to see our careers thrive along with our children. 

If you could go back in time and tell your 20-year old self something what would you say? 

Know yourself – when you deploy your gifts and talents in an organization where you fit, your career can bring satisfaction to your life. If the role or company does not fit, move on quickly. 

What is your leadership superpower? (what skill do you have that makes you a better leader) 

I am a connector. Since I was a little girl, I enjoyed connecting the dots. Whether it is a problem to solve or relationship building, I continuously look for ways to solve problems, connect people and make the world a better place. 

What new thing have you discovered about yourself during COVID-19? 

My job involves communication with our tax teams, outside advisors, government officials and our business leaders. All of those communications have moved from in-person to virtual meetings. I am working from home and spending more time with my family and less time on the road. I really enjoy being with my family throughout the day and having dinner each night. I will have to change how I approach work in the office to keep the balance that I have found during the pandemic. 

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

Equality in the workplace is still elusive for many women. There is much debate about the causes of gender inequality, but in my experience, unconscious bias is at the root of how women are treated differently in the workplace. We have to be willing to challenge when bias and stereotyping makes their way into business decisions. Important career experiences were available to me only as a direct result of colleagues “choosing to challenge” others’ biases. Discrimination should have no place in our working world and should be dealt with decisively. 

Who is your female inspiration? And why? 

I have an amazing “squad” of women from my college years. We still have dinner each month together and have done so since 1998. Different friends have moved in and out of town over the years, but a core group of women is still there. We are all in different industries, have different roles, but they inspire me to be the best version of myself. And most importantly, they love me unconditionally when I am not.

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