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Women in leadership: lessons to inspire our daughters

April 04, 2016
Written by

Joanna Wilson

Those who know me well, know how much I love musicals (thanks, Dad). My favourite song from Mary Poppins is “Sister Suffragette” where Mrs. Banks sings:

So cast off the shackles of yesterday,

Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!

Our daughters’ daughters will adore us

And they’ll sing in grateful chorus:

“Well done!

Well done!

Well done, Sister Suffragette!”

As a working mother – who embraces all of the guilt, happiness and sense of achievement that comes with it – I believe it’s important to pave the way for our daughters and show them that women can achieve pride, power and joy at work.

It was with this mindset where at the end of March, I was inspired, challenged and renewed in the company of 75 of my peers selected from across the WPP North America network to attend Women in Leadership Lessons (WILL).

Joined by graduates of “X Factor” – WPP’s senior women’s leadership program – this one-day interactive workshop was led by the dynamic and pioneering Charlotte Beers, former global CEO of Ogilvy & Mather and Chairman of JWT, who also served as Undersecretary of State under Colin Powell. WILL is inspired by lessons and insights from Charlotte’s book, I’d Rather be in Charge.

The day was a process of discovery: we were challenged to define who we really are at work and our personal style of leadership. In turn, Texas-born Charlotte and other senior female leaders inspired us to identify our own strengths and face our challenges, and ultimately walk away with how we can present our largest and best self in the workplace – achieving the positions of leadership and influence we deserve.

While I encourage all female professionals to read I’d Rather be in Charge, the following concepts really resonated with me:

  • Be brave: clear, fierce and far-seeing
  • Keep your own scorecard – claim your own victories; you can’t expect that all your good work will be noticed eventually
  • Shift the terms of engagement – you can control your response
  • Get to the crux: it’s not what you say, but what they hear

And just like my own hard-working career mother (thanks, Mum), Charlotte is a role model and champion to all women who want to make the most of their careers – and WILL is a once-in-a-careertime opportunity for those women ready to hear the sound of glass ceilings being shattered.

——— Written by Joanna Wilson, former Senior Vice-President, NATIONAL Public Relations.


Written by Kim West

A message to my children on International Women’s Day
March 08, 2016