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Nurturing women of velvet and steel
Published on Thursday, 01 Sep 2011
Illustration: Bay Leung

Women are a fast-growing part of the workforce; they are valuable to the local, regional, transnational and global business landscape. They also provide connections to underserved and untapped markets. With a growing ageing workforce and slowing talent pipeline due to changing demographics, it is important for corporations to adopt a proactive and progressive approach to welcome more female managers on board.

What can women managers do to attain a high level of success?

First, they should have a long-term view of their career and build a strong ecosystem. They should keep in mind that no woman is an island, and build a network of mentors and sponsors.

Second, they should sponsor another young woman executive and teach her, or adopt a young intern and mentor her. It is part of an organic growth strategy.

Third, they should be lifelong learners and be able to work in different cultures.

Fourth, they should learn to be both velvet and steel - strong yet feminine.

Fifth, they should be assertive but not aggressive to establish a strong influence and inspiring leadership style.

Sixth, those who want to marry should do so with someone who believes in the equality of women, for behind every successful woman manager is a supportive spouse. This will avoid loneliness at the top.

Seventh, they should hone strong emotional intelligence for career resilience.

Finally, they should develop the potential of others. Someone without followers is simply not a leader.  

Christine Sim, general manager, Links Recruitment