As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, I am grateful for the many women who have shared their voices of experience and encouragement. Their visible and vibrant presence confirms that the face of the workplace is evolving—soon more than 50% of the workforce will be female. Ignoring this shift is not an option. Women are driving change around the world, from the early days of pioneers like Sojourner Truth and Abigail Adams to current leaders like Madam Lu Hailin and Hillary Clinton. Each has her own message encouraging us to continue the journey.
In the past year I have attended a number of women’s conferences, some as close as my hometown of Boston and others as far away as Beijing. Conference themes included “The Future is Now for Women” and “Creating your Future Career Success.” Packed agendas offered advice to women of all ages, professions, and walks of life. Standing amidst thousands of women who gathered for these inspiring events showed me just how many of us are ready to take our careers and contributions to new heights.
Now more than ever, women are providing significant return on investments for our companies, clients, communities and organizations.
Influential conference speakers encouraged all women to make a conscious effort to lay a strong foundation for other women to succeed. Speaking at the recent Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston, actress Lupita Nyong’o offered this thought:
We continue to fight for equality, for justice, for freedom, for compassion…and we achieve the most when we are awakened and responsive to the dreams of our individual hearts. It is then we can be part of a whole and share our tools to fulfill the bigger picture of a better tomorrow.
I believe this is applicable to all female leaders of today and the future. Nyong’o eloquently provides perspective for the bridge that we must continue to build in the corporate world, in our local communities, and in our global society.
The stories of Lupita Nyong’o and so many other high-achieving women are uplifting and encouraging, speaking to how far women have come on this journey. Their insights also point to gaps that we must still work to close.
Some of these conferences also offer participants the opportunity to look back and explore the often turbulent paths that our foremothers took. This view always serves to illustrate and understand our progress. By being informed and inspired by our past, we can continue to forge ahead, shaping the critical roles women will play in building the ecosystems of today and tomorrow.
I am proud to represent EMC when I am at these events, surrounded by thousands of women from many different walks of life, ages, and accomplishments. The people of EMC are committed to supporting the journey of our colleagues, as well as women around the globe. With each step, we increase our cultural competence – a proficiency gained through inclusive attitudes and behaviors that help us interact most effectively.
The ultimate measure of success will be when all EMC employees bring their “whole selves” to work, embracing a diversity of thought, people and perspectives because they can’t imagine working any other way.