This week, it was my pleasure to be the guest speaker at the launch of Women in Focus, the Commonwealth Bank’s initiative to support women in business.
Women in Focus is a great name and I like the double play on the word ‘focus’.
First, we need to put women more in the frame when it comes to business. One of my goals is to build a skyscraper full of stories of women who live their dreams.
As I’ve said in other blogs, women shy away from telling their stories, especially if to do so requires TV or radio. We need to stretch ourselves beyond these limitations and this is where we have so much to learn from men. When we offer media opportunities to men, they jump, seeing the value of this immediately. They don’t care if they’re a few kilos overweight and TV will make them blow up even more, they don’t care if they aren’t the twin of George Clooney, instead they see the business opportunity and seize the day.
We need more female role models. So when a bank comes along and declares its support of women, and offers to help put women in the focus with great networking and business coaching opportunities, women need to come to the party. The other day I was at a course run by Austrade, and every person in my group was female wanting to learn how to develop their export market. We know the numbers – women running businesses are on the rise, and married women who do so much in their family businesses have always been there, behind the scenes. It’s time to get in the frame and be seen because this encourages other women.
The other play on the word ‘focus’ is that to be successful you need a recipe that includes essential ingredients, and focus is one of them. Here’s how tennis champ Martina Hingis explained her extraordinary success: “I just try to concentrate on concentrating.” Throw in passion, determination, persistence and commitment and the sky’s the limit to what any woman can achieve.
For too long, banks have kept women out of focus – ignoring the role we play in building businesses and managing money.
Now, studies prove it makes no business sense to continue doing so:
Over the next five years in Australia, discretionary spending by women is expected to rise by 48 per cent to $222 billion according to research by Boston Consulting Group. And this research is not alone in identifying women as primarily responsible for the majority of household financial decisions.
Keep an eye on what organisations are doing for women and take advantage of opportunities, and be prepared to play a more obvious game.
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