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WTP Session in Madrid

12 Sep 2014 13:03 | Deleted user

On the morning of September 12th, 2014, WIL organized an insightful Women Talent Pool Session for its Emerging Leaders, WIL members and friends, in the framework of the Bi-Annual meeting in Madrid, Spain.

The day kicked off with an energetic and interactive coaching session “Resilience: What is it? Have you got it? How to get it!” by Marta Williams, Founding Partner & CEO, Williams and Associates. Using rubber bands as a metaphor of resilience, Marta urged everyone to stretch their band as far as possible, as a means to demonstrate that resilience is the capacity to go back to an initial state after having reached one’s limits.

For Marta Williams, the projection of your feelings is of the utmost importance. If you project an image of a resilient and confident person it will help others to believe in you and in the achievement of positive outcomes and better results. She also underlined the importance of analysing people’s feedback about your behaviour. Even though you cannot force anybody to change their perception of you, it is often based on actions, and you can change your actions to re-form their perception - ultimately the way people perceive you is within your control if you embrace it.

A considerable portion of the session was devoted to the discussion of the “silent rules of the game” – unspoken standards of behaviour in the work place that are, according to Marta, shaped by men and not always explained to women and/or understood by them. Regarding these “rules”, Marta gave some practical advice to the audience as to the manner of introducing oneself, with confidence, and how to give an assertive handshake.

Marta also had the audience self-reflect on the concept of ‘sustainers’, who are very hard workers that are timid and often feel they are victims of the system, versus ‘achievers’ who are hard workers that are self-assured and specifically draw attention to their achievements. Marta urged everyone to evaluate themselves and determine whether they currently identify as a ‘sustainer’ or ‘achiever’, as well as to define first what they want to be, and second how they can achieve it.

Concluding the session Marta quoted a famous line from Yoda, a Star Wars character, who said “Do or not do, there is no try”.

In addition to the lively coaching, the WTP session included an honest and eye-opening roundtable session moderated by WIL Board Member Elena Bonfiglioli, Senior Director Health Industry, EMEA, Microsoft. The roundtable was devoted to the testimonies of resilient female leaders: Catalina Hoffmann, Founder & CEO, Catalina Hoffmann Holding Group, Ourania Ekaterinari, Deputy CEO, Public Corporation S.A. and Kristin Schreiber, Director, Directorate B Governance of the Single Market, DG Internal Market and Services, European Commission. Each panelist took the floor to describe their career path and background, current activity and one particularly hard experience they went through where resilience was key. Each speaker candidly expressed their challenges, both personal and professional, shared what they learned from their experiences, and explained how their journey helped them to become more resilient as women and as leaders.

According to Catalina Hoffmann, it was the force of her dream that helped her to carry on. She had worked very hard to start her business and improve the lives of the elderly and she was determined to keep working to preserve the fruits of her labours, regardless of the challenges. Ourania Ekaterinari explained that she cared passionately about people she was working with and felt responsible for her team and strong enough to continue fighting to protect them, even when the economic outlook for Greece was dim. For Kristin Schreiber, it was the encouragement of her colleagues, family, friends and network, but ultimately her inner voice, that allowed her to make a crucial career decision and move forward. Summing up the unique situations and challenges of each panelist, Elena Bonfiglioli drew upon their testimonies to provide an overarching story of resilience as the composition of self-awareness, courage, humility (the ego makes one week, not resilient), and above all the belief in your dreams and yourself.

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