Today marks a global event on the calendar: International Women’s Day. For us, it’s a chance to join together to celebrate and support the women in our business, our partner brands and our customers as we press in towards the year ahead.
Continuing our editorial series on the same theme, we spoke to GloPRO Co-Founder Jamie O’Banion on what it’s like to create an empowering working environment on a level playing field. Here’s what she had to say.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
For me, International Women’s Day is a moment to reflect back on annual achievements in gender equality and align as a united voice for progress yet to be made.
Does being a female entrepreneur today come with extra challenges?
Absolutely. Many of these challenges real, while others imagined. In a social media driven society, it is easy for someone to project a perfectly polished, effortless image. Believing this to be the full snapshot would cause any aspiring entrepreneur to capitulate before ever commencing. It is more important than ever to be transparent and authentic so female entrepreneurs and all women can have productive dialogue, share learnings and ultimately progress together.
What key advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?
Everybody wants to be good but not many are prepared to make the sacrifices it takes to be great. The one common denominator across every successful individual I know can be summed up in a word – grit. Know that challenges will come, doors will close, roads will dead end, but instead of looking at those moments as failure know that you are simply narrowing your focus down a path that will lead to more certain success. Never give up. Pivot, adjust and move forward.
Why do you think diversity is so important in the workplace?
By only hiring a single gender (either direction) team, we are only perpetuating inequality. Celebrating and incorporating various vantage points will always produce a superior output. While our BeautyBio team is predominantly women, we equally value input from all of our team members regardless of gender, age or ethnicity. We are launching a men’s line extension this year that wouldn’t be on our PD road map if our internal team wasn’t a mixed gender environment. There is an equal danger in excluding men and creating a reverse prejudice, which I have seen some company cultures do. The best environments are balanced and centred entirely on aligned goals, passion and output rather than focusing on gender comparison.
What’s the single biggest issue facing women in the workplace right now?
In my opinion, the biggest issue women face in the workplace right now is continuing to grow in leadership roles without losing the uniquely feminine traits that have made us the natural born leaders, organisers and producers we are today. I have seen a tendency for strong female leaders (whether conscious or not) to begin dressing, acting or even speaking more like a man to gain a seat at the table. Almost as if women aren’t allowed to have nice hair, teeth, and a brain! It’s ridiculous. Women shouldn’t feel they have to wear or not wear something to be taken more seriously or fear that their passion might somehow be mistaken for emotion. Our individual gender strengths should be celebrated, and I hope women will soon feel confident in being simultaneously feminine and powerful.