One year on – Naomi Goodman reflects on Women in Communications

Back in April 2020, IABC UK&I hosted our successful “Women in Communications” event, with five incredible speakers and over 50 guests discussing tips and practical advice on how to navigate a career in comms, with a particular focus on the challenges faced by women.

One year on, our speakers share their takeaways from the event, reflect on what has changed since then, and share an update on their work.

 

Naomi Goodman

Founder, the-thread (www.the-thread.com Twitter: @the_threadcomms Email: [email protected])

Naomi is co-founder of the-thread, an employee engagement and communications consultancy dedicated to making change happen by connecting your people. Naomi has led large-scale organisational and culture change programmes for both the public and private sector. She blends her breadth and depth of experience with each client’s unique challenge to help identify and activate solutions that truly deliver business value.​ Naomi is passionate about connecting people to the potential that comes with change. She’s a certified Prosci ADKAR change management practitioner and is currently training as a teacher with Deepak Chopra and The Chopra Center to learn techniques that build employees’ inner resilience and increase their potential for change.

 

Naomi’s Book recommendations
  • The Mind of the Leader, by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter
  • The 5am Club, by Robin Sharma
  • Becoming, by Michelle Obama

 

Key takeaways from IABC UK&I Women in Communications 2020 event

  1. Be more than simply excellent at your job. Lots of people are excellent. You need to do more, you need to show more, you need to stand out…. whilst building your network along the way.
  2. Be clear on the values that define your personal brand; and live them. For me it’s leading with compassion, empowering others, delivering brilliance and being bold in voice.
  3. Be a good person. Be someone that people want to work with. Be someone that you want to work with.

One year on…

 

When we first talked in 2020 about what it takes to be a successful woman working in communications; I shared three personal principles that had guided me well in my career. Firstly, to be more than simply excellent at your job; secondly, to be clear on the values that define your personal brand… and genuinely live them; and lastly, to be a good person, to be someone that you would want to work with. One year later and our working world has been picked up, shaken around and dropped back down ready for us to piece together a new working order. Laura at the IABC asked me whether these principles still stand true in today’s working world and although a lot has changed for me in the last 12 months, personally and professionally, my answer is yes. These principles ground me. They help my stakeholders to know who I am and how I will consistently show up everyday in every situation – pandemic or no pandemic. I still believe that they’re principles we can all take value from.

 

If you take my principle, ‘be more than simply excellent at your job’, for example, then this still stands true. I was bold enough to launch the-thread mid-pandemic, my own employee engagement and communications consultancy, with co-founder Laura House. We launched in a tough market and with the recession it’ll only get tougher. Every day we remind ourselves that lots of consultancies are excellent. If we want to be a success in today’s world then now, more than ever, we need to do more, we need to show more, we need to find new ways to stand out and demonstrate our value. The same can be said for anyone climbing the career ladder in today’s climate… it’s a great way to stay current and creative.

 

That said, given the past 12 months there’s a fourth principle I’d now add, especially to help balance the ‘be more than excellent’ value. It’s to be kinder to yourself. Many of us women give ourselves a hard time trying to be everything to everyone at the same time. A career hungry employee, a parent that’s present, a partner that’s loving, a friend that’s available. Just writing it down is giving me the sweats! In part it’s because of the expectation business and society puts on us and in part it’s because of the expectation we put on ourselves. I’m currently on maternity with new born twins and doing that well is about as much as I can manage at the moment! Lockdown life has added a new layer to the term ‘juggling’. Rid yourself of guilt and give yourself a pat on the back – wherever you’re focusing your energy right now, know that you are doing well.

 

Our event Women in Communication – Pathways to Success was held in April 2020 and was free  for IABC UK & Ireland members. Interested in becoming a member to join more events like this? Visit our website at www.iabc.com to join today. Use the code IABC20 at checkout when you join or renew through 18 April 2021 and you’ll receive a 20% discount on international dues.

One year on – Claire Jarvis reflects on Women in Communications

Back in April 2020, IABC UK&I hosted our successful “Women in Communications” event, with five incredible speakers and over 50 guests discussing tips and practical advice on how to navigate a career in comms, with a particular focus on the challenges faced by women.

One year on, our speakers share their takeaways from the event, reflect on what has changed since then, and share an update on their work.

 

Claire Jarvis

@MrsSnux

Chair, Women Leaders in Communications

A former Communications Director for Siemens plc, Claire now runs her own business working as a communications consultant, team relationship coach and workplace mediator. She is passionate about women in leadership and the power of cognitive diversity to create competitive advantage. She chairs Women Leaders in Communications, an events-led network of senior women working in communications.

 

Claire’s Book recommendations

  • Why do so many Incompetent Men become Leaders? (and how to fix it), by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
  • Work like a Woman, by Mary Portas
  • Diversify, by June Sarpong
  • Rebel Ideas, by Matthew Syed
  • Corporate Rebels – Make Work More Fun, by Joost Minnaar and Pim de Morree

 

Key takeaways from IABC UK&I Women in Communications 2020 event

  1. Imposter syndrome is very common in women – that fear of others finding out you’re not as competent as they perceive you to be. This isn’t surprising when many women report experiencing negative attitudes from both men and other women in the workplace. Have faith in your abilities and find ways of managing any negative mind talk about your skills and capabilities – perhaps by working with a coach. You will be amazed what you’re capable of if you allow yourself to step up and out of your comfort zone!
  2. My career at Siemens lasted 16 years and I loved every minute of it, but finding another similar job in my late 40s proved hard and I have ended up retraining to take my career in a different direction. That is no bad thing and, in fact, I would thoroughly recommend reinventing yourself when the time is right!  However, if you are keen to stay in a communications role, make sure you’re known to recruiters and head-hunters long before you need them. And remember, recruiters work for their clients, not for you, so you need to be a standout candidate who will impress them and their clients, both on paper and in person.
  3. Linked to the above, do invest time building a network outside of your company and, while it’s valuable to talk to peers, don’t just network with communications people in other organisations. LinkedIn is a very important tool to build your reputation as an industry leader. Don’t just be on it, but like, share and post your own articles to get yourself noticed and known.

 

Our event Women in Communication – Pathways to Success was held in April 2020 and was free  for IABC UK & Ireland members. Interested in becoming a member to join more events like this? Visit our website at www.iabc.com to join today. Use the code IABC20 at checkout when you join or renew through 18 April 2021 and you’ll receive a 20% discount on international dues.

One year on – Kim A. Page reflects on Women in Communications

Back in April 2020, IABC UK&I hosted our successful “Women in Communications” event, with five incredible speakers and over 50 guests discussing tips and practical advice on how to navigate a career in comms, with a particular focus on the challenges faced by women.

One year on, our speakers share their takeaways from the event, reflect on what has changed since then, and share an update on their work.

 

Kim A Page

@kimapagexb

www.kimapage.com

Kim sitting at her desk

Communication Trainer, Webinar Host, Author of The Right Kind of Loud: Finding your Communications Voice

Communication Expert Kim has helped thousands of professionals get their message through. Originally from Norway, her career spans across three continents and she is an author and TEDx speaker.

Since the pandemic started, Kim has been supporting clients to boost their impact through the screen as speakers and meeting hosts as well as getting them ready for video creation. For organisations she has delivered celebrations as well as best practices for conferences and panel events. Kim is also the creator and host of the zoominar series “The Right Kind of Loud in COVID times”.

Kim was interviewed by Science of Mind Magazine in the US about the voice as a communication tool in  November 2020, which you can watch here – https://fb.watch/1ZbaPElUkh/

 

Kim’s Book recommendations

  • Flow Generation: A Survival Guide for our Unpredictable Lives, by Nicolo Andreula & Vera Sprothen
  • The Culture Map – Breaking through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business, by Erin Meyer
  • 10 Poems to Change your Life, by Roger Housden

 

Key takeaways from IABC UK&I Women in Communications 2020 event:

  1. The voice is part of our self, our personality – the word ‘per’ = through ,’son’ = sound, through our sound we become who we are
  2. The voice is our most intimate communication tool, starting from the inside of our body, landing inside the body if our listener as vibrations – that is deeper than skin to skin
  3. Most of us don’t like our own voice, 85% of all adults have been asked to be silent, our voice is affected by how we relate to it, a starting point for us as communicators is to stop judging and be caring towards our own voice

 

This and more is explained in the first chapter of my book – Sound Right, Unleashing the Power of Your Voice – free download on my website: https://kimapage.com/buy-the-book/ 

 

One year on…

As a communication trainer, so much changed when I started supporting my clients online. When we communicate through the screen, we go from using five senses to two senses, leaving taste, smell and touch behind while relying on visual and audio input. The shift requires a whole new set of skills when we engage with clients and stakeholders, so for me as a communication trainer, a lot changed when I started supporting my clients online.

 

As a moderator I found a zoominar format with dialogue and guided questions the best way to create a safe space for real conversations. We gather biweekly on Wednesdays at 4pm (UK time) in 1-hour zoominars with professionals around the world, each time a communication/business topic is explored. You’re welcome to join us and try yourself! On March 10th we’ll dive into ’Trusting in COVID times’.

 

And if you want to make sure you leverage your meetings and presentations online, I’ve gathered the tools for influencing through the screen in my course The Right Kind of Loud Online, starting April 13th. It’s a learning journey of seven weeks with interactive sessions. For more info, please email me at [email protected]

 

Our event Women in Communication – Pathways to Success was held in April 2020 and was free  for IABC UK & Ireland members. Interested in becoming a member to join more events like this? Visit our website at www.iabc.com to join today. Use the code IABC20 at checkout when you join or renew through 18 April 2021 and you’ll receive a 20% discount on international dues.

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021 – An interview with Eduvie Martin

Eduvie Martin has over a decade of experience in communications and reputation management for global brands and start-ups in Europe and Africa. She is the Global Internal Communications Manager working for British American Tobacco (BAT) based in London, UK. She serves on the IE University UK and Ireland Alumni board and is an Executive Director for Africa’s largest comic book start-up – Comic Republic. She loves creative writing, learning new things, cooking and exploring new cities. 

 

To mark International Women’s Day 2021, Laura Desert, IABC UK&I President-Elect and Internal Communications Lead at CityFibre interviewed Eduvie Martin, Global Internal Communications Manager at British American Tobacco to find out more about her perspective on gender in the communications industry and what needs to change.

 

I’ll start off with some quick fire questions for you Eduvie! What did you dream of doing when you were a little girl?

As a little girl, I was always the most enthusiastic, optimistic one in the room. I believed I could do anything I set my mind to – I still do. I wanted to be a writer who was a professional singer that also worked as a broadcaster for CNN, MTV or E!

I eventually settled for a career in communications which is sometimes like being a writer who works for a cable channel. I still sing in the bathroom, so I guess that worked out too.

 

If you could have dinner with one famous woman, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Michelle Obama. I’d like to have a chat with her about managing unconscious bias and how to  maintain a home while building a career and living with a successful life partner.

 

Now for the meatier questions – How did you find your way into a career in the communications industry?

I fell in love with communications from an early age. It was reflected in the way I articulated my thoughts, the embarrassing diary I kept with my written poetry that must never see the light of day and the way I loved hosting events for family and friends.

In my teens, I was emceeing at college events, weddings and birthdays.

I started to read more about communications while in my third year as a science student at University. I went on to discover the value of associations, seminars and focus groups in helping one to understand effective communications.

My comms career kicked off in banking. I was a management trainee who spent all of her salary on comms courses at the Lagos Business School!

One day, opportunity met preparation when the bank advertised a role in the Marketing and Communications department. I went into the meeting with the hopes of landing an event manager role and found internal comms instead.

Looking back at that interview, I recall being in a room with three women who recognised my passion, took a chance on me and accepted me as the very first internal comms hire at the time.

Three years in, two women supported my career yet again when I was nominated for the Africa Integration project in the bank, leading the comms efforts during our acquisition of five subsidiaries in five African markets in two years!

I later moved from banking to the Fast-moving consumer goods industry (FMCG) which I’ve been in for five years now. Internal Comms is not easy, but it’s hard not to love a role that gives you an opportunity to really have an impact on your colleagues.

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

I have celebrated International Women’s Day in my role as Internal Comms Manager across industries for more than 10 years thinking about the activities that will bring my colleagues joy. So, if I’m being honest, it’s a day that really does feel like work!

If we strip away all the planning, it’s a day that helps me reflect on where we are on our journey towards a more gender diverse world. Sometimes, I get lost in the words from different organisations amplifying all the achievements. I am however jolted wide awake by the realisation that there is a lot more left to do. I am passionate about using International Women’s day to highlight actual achievements in different industries and amplify clear examples across multiple channels.

I am thrilled that my role allows me to do this.

 

Photo of Eduvie Martin

 

Advocacy, inclusive mindsets, and tangible action are needed from all. Communications has a high proportion of female professionals, but how can male comms professionals support their female colleagues?

I think our male colleagues can be more alert to recognising bias against their female colleagues. It’s sometimes hidden in the jokes, the water cooler chats, and can be unconscious too. They can also look at creating enablers that equip women with the necessary skills to take up leadership positions so that when these opportunities come up, there are qualified women to fill them up. It’s about being the voice that speaks reason in the rooms that they already occupy.

 

What are you doing to celebrate IWD 2021 at your company, and what has been your role in supporting this initiative?

I count myself privileged to work for an organisation that fosters a diverse and inclusive workforce. Being a part of the planning committee on all the activities building up to the International Women’s day celebrations this year has been intense but no doubt the highlight of my month so far!

Celebrating in a virtual world has enabled us to get more creative. We are hosting a truly global event with a virtual panel of inspiring women from inside and outside our organisation, streaming live to more than 50,000 employees.

We’ve started to showcase inspiring women and men who promote an inclusive culture and spark conversation about everyone’s responsibility to choose to challenge.

We’ve also planned local activities in our end markets from weekly webinars, to cocktails, lunch and learn sessions, charitable events, gifts for employees and so much more.

Employees will also have access to a special IWD-themed online playlist with useful insights they can listen to all month.

Among other channels, we have created a dedicated SharePoint page regularly updated with activities across our markets, as well as live Yammer feeds to capture all activities in these virtual times.

It’s going to be an exciting month dedicated to Diversity and Inclusion at BAT.

 

How important is it for women to lift each other up?

I have always been surrounded by sisters and outstanding female bosses who have done everything to lift me up. Good people (of all genders) do and should lift each other up. It is our collective responsibility to identify opportunities to open doors for each other.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview, Eduvie! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Yes – I truly believe that the only thing stopping you is you. Anything you set your mind to do, you can.
I urge everyone reading this interview not to be discouraged when you walk into a room and see no one else that looks like you. You’ve earned this space, now own the room. You can do this.
And while you are in the room, never forget your journey and how you got there. Be kind. Give back. Be true.

Celebrating LGBT History Month – An Interview with Simon Monger SCMP®

Simon Monger, SCMP® is an Internal Communication, Change and Engagement Consultant. Since 2007 he’s worked with a diverse range of global and multinational organisations in 19 countries across three continents. Simon has been a Board Member of the UK & Ireland Chapter of IABC since June 2020.

 

To mark Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History Month, Pooja Kamat, Employment Engagement Intern at the University of Leeds and IABC UK&I Student Board Member asked Simon to share his personal experiences of working in the communication industry as an openly gay man.

 

So Simon, tell us about how you found your path into a career in the communication industry?

Like a lot of people who started working in communications in the noughties, I fell into it almost completely by accident. I was working in customer service for E.ON UK straight out of university, where I’d studied English. I wanted a job that allowed me to be creative and write, so when I heard about the magical world of internal communication, I found my way into an entry-level position. From the first day I was completely hooked. That was almost 14 years ago.

 

What has been your experience of working in the communications field as a member of the LGBTQ+ community?

Overwhelmingly positive. I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve been openly gay throughout my communications career and it’s never been an issue. I was fortunate early on to work with a brilliant head of communications who was gay, married and very open about his life and husband. It gave me the confidence to be myself at work. Role models are extremely important – being able to see someone “like you” who has been incredibly successful shows that it’s possible.

 

Do you feel the industry has changed and is now more inclusive in nature?

As I say, I’ve been very fortunate to have a good experience, so it’s difficult for me to say if the industry has changed. But if we were to speak in a broader sense about inclusivity, I do think there is lots more to do. It’s no secret that our industry is predominantly female, and once you get beyond gender there isn’t enough diversity. But I believe it’s a work in progress and what’s pleasing is that there is more pressure on us to change, a groundswell that is saying we don’t accept how it’s been, we need to change. We all have a role to play in ensuring things continue to improve and we are inclusive of everyone.

 

Have you ever faced discrimination on the grounds of your sexuality? Has being gay made it more difficult to do your job?

I don’t think I’ve ever been discriminated against based on my sexuality, no. The second part of your question is interesting, though. Being gay hasn’t made it more difficult to do my job, but there are differences. On an almost daily basis I find myself having to come out to someone. I’m pretty used to it after all this time, but it was difficult at first and can get a bit tiresome. It can also depend on the industry you work in. My clients are varied and in some I feel more comfortable than others. But that is more about me than anything, because I’ve never had any problems working in more masculine or ‘macho’ industries like transport or construction, where perhaps I might have expected it to be a bit more difficult. We can all help our LGBTQ+ friends and colleagues by never assuming sexual orientation or gender identity. Don’t assume a man is married to a woman. You’d be surprised how often someone asks about my girlfriend or wife! Use inclusive language. Ask about someone’s partner, not their wife or husband. Add your preferred pronouns to your LinkedIn profile and other social media. It really makes a difference and takes such little effort to do.

An image of Simon Monger SCMP in London, UK

Inclusion and diversity are very much buzzwords of business. What are your thoughts?

I think they’re so much more than buzzwords. Yes, you could be cynical and say that companies are just looking to tick the boxes; and in some cases, that’s probably true. But I’ve seen some wonderful organisations doing really great work in inclusion and diversity. Increasingly, organisations understand how crucial diversity and inclusion are to their success – whether that’s attracting the right talent, representing the communities and customers they serve, or simply understanding that employees who can be themselves at work are more productive and engaged. It makes good business sense. In recent years we’ve seen a shift more towards inclusivity, rather than diversity. And that’s good. Diversity is about representation. Inclusion is about integration, collaboration, perspectives and presence. We will never be “finished” when it comes to inclusion and diversity. There isn’t an end to this work and we all have a role to play.

 

Do you think the LGBTQ+ community have equal opportunities?

Within the communications industry? Well, I’m very conscious that I can’t speak for an entire community! Particularly one so varied and where there is so much lived experience that is very different to my own. I would like to say that there are equal opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community – and in my experience that has been the case – but sadly, I think I can say with certainty that it isn’t always the case. I’m confident and comfortable in my own skin, which I’m sure has helped me. If I was less confident and comfortable, then perhaps it would be different. When it comes to wider society, I don’t think we have 100% equality yet. Things are so much better than they were when I was at school – when it was illegal to talk about homosexuality in lessons for fear of ‘promoting’ it, leading to generations of LGBT kids growing up with little or no sex education – but there is more work to be done.

 

What would you say to LGBTQ+ people who are considering a career in communications?

I would absolutely say do it. I’ve found the communications industry to be incredibly welcoming and supportive. And being a member of the IABC has been incredibly helpful, too. I have connections all around the world, people who are so lovely and supportive and welcoming of people from so many different backgrounds, with different experiences. The global reach of IABC means there’s always something new to experience, and inclusivity is at the heart of everything we do.