Today I am proud to announce the official launch of the UK Automotive 30% Club’s digital magazine called Inspiring, kindly sponsored by Toyota GB.
The Inspiring e-zine is hosted on the UK Automotive 30% Club website, and our ambition is simple. We are aiming for Inspiring to be the digital platform that connects individual women’s networks or development groups together into a powerful “super-network”.
A network is a cluster of nodes or points that are linked together. The strength of a network is in the links between the nodes. It is the spread of ideas, best practice and solutions communicated not only within the network, but also between networks, that can make great things happen.
We hope to create strong communications links between the women’s networks in and outside of the sector and also help women who are not in a network or not in 30% Club member companies, to engage with this “super-network”.
The Inspiring e-zine will publish career advice and tips, as well as feature articles written by, and interviews with, relatable and inspiring women. We will showcase the great work being done by your individual networks if you send it to us.
Whereas the UK Automotive 30% Club is a network of CEOs and HR Directors driving the cultural change from the top, Inspiring is a grassroots movement to help women of all levels to progress. We can mobilise the combined resources, energy and enthusiasm of multiple women’s networks, both within and beyond the sector. We need a collaborative grassroots movement that ensures that women’s voices are heard and that helps to shape the solution to achieving a better gender balance in business.
At the core of the Inspiring e-zine is the premise that “If you can see it you can be it”, so we will be ensuring we make visible our Inspiring Automotive Women role models. We will also be encouraging women to support each other and to “lift others as they rise” through the ranks.
We know that social networks are critical to professional advancement. We also know that men are currently more likely to rise to leadership positions. So is there a difference between the networks of successful male and female leaders?
Research undertaken at Northwestern University in the US with MBA graduates found that men benefit in terms of securing higher level roles not so much from the size of their network but from being central in it—or being very well connected to a lot of contacts across different groups of students.
They found the women who achieved the executive positions with the highest levels of authority and pay were also very well connected in their network and had similar qualifications to men including education and work experience, but there was a very important difference between the men and the women.
The most successful women were also those who had an inner circle of close female contacts. The researchers found that this inner circle of close female contacts were from multiple other unconnected networks, rather than being from one. They were women who had very diverse female contacts, providing access to different information and perspectives.
So identifying and connecting with people who are linked to multiple networks was a very successful strategy for these women. “Behind every great woman, is a group of other women who have her back.”
But we must beware the closed inner circle. When your inner circle is too interconnected, and the people within it are similar and have similar contacts, it can feel socially secure but fail to generate key insights and opportunities.
This is why I would urge you to build links from your network to other women’s networks, many of which were represented at the Inspiring e-zine launch event. I would add that women should of course not limit themselves to female networks, but should seek out links with people in all types of business networks.
I believe that many women’s networks historically don’t fulfil their potential to improve the career opportunities of their members because they don’t have links with the people at the top of the organisations, currently mainly men, who are making the decisions – and so they are not sufficiently visible and their views and suggestions are not heard.
I started the UK Automotive 30% Club through my personal connections with a number of the male CEOs in the sector, and linked them together through a shared commitment to collaborate. The group is now taking serious action to create environments within which women will thrive. There are now 30 CEOs from automotive manufacturers, retailers and suppliers in the group.
I will now create a direct link from the Inspiring Super-network to this CEO network. My promise to you is that the women in your networks will become visible to, and will be heard by, the leaders of the sector.
Now let’s create this Super-Network!
Please register for FREE, here to join our “Super-Network”