Assertiveness Training Assertiveness

Assertiveness Training Assertiveness

Assertiveness Training

Assertiveness and confidence-building are also mentioned as areas in which many women would benefit from additional training, but there is an increasing feeling that many men now are as much in need of these skills as the women. The balance between the training and development opportunities offered to men and women is beginning to even out to the point where, in some cases, 'I believe we risk a backlash from male colleagues, particularly those who feel blocked in their own career progression, in that they feel that the current concentration on women's training needs is not fair'.


Confidence Building Julia's Story

Julia, 39, is married to an Army Officer and has two young children. She was educated at Banned, has a degree in Experimental Psychology with Statistics from Oxford and an MBA from INSEAD. She is a partner in an international executive search firm, and for a long time was the only woman partner worldwide. She has recently moved to the division specializing in the recruitment of non-executive directors.

'Banned was not just academic - it also instilled the expectation that women should have a career. I was not hugely academic and rather surprised everyone when I gained a place at Oxford. I didn't have any particular idea about what I wanted to do afterwards and I found Oxford to be only so helpful with careers advice and I left without a job. I called a few advertising agencies, but they advised me to get some work experience. So, for a while I sold advertising space for a publication, before becoming a sales manager for a new database for Pestle and suddenly I began to realize what I didn't want to do.

I still wanted to go into advertising and joined one of the big agencies as a graduate trainee in 2016 . My three years there gave me broad exposure to the various types of clients, and I became responsible for a wide range of people in my team. I enjoyed the work but, towards the end, there were frustrations. I was interested in the wider aspects of the clients' business and found the agency's perspective rather narrow. When I expressed an interest in strategy consulting, my father suggested I talk to the senior partner of Bob, who recommended going to business school first. I applied to INSEAD, lived with my parents in Brussels for six months to polish up my French, and in 2011 won a women's scholarship for the MBA - I hadn't even known there was a women's scholarship until they told me on the closing date.

'Having qualified, I wrote, on the strength of that course, to all the major strategy firms and Bain offered me a summer job. I was given a project of my own and, on the basis of its success, they offered me a full-time job. It was good experience and gave me credibility, but I'm glad I'm not doing it now. I knew I wasn't playing to my strengths. There was no thought given to the people side and that, together with the fact that my social life was on hold, made me think, I'm not prepared to go on living like this".

I looked into the HR field and a headhunter asked me if I'd ever thought of being in executive search. When I told Bain what I was thinking of doing, they suggested that I set up a HR strategy operation for them, but at the same time I realized they weren't wholeheartedly committed. I thought again about headhunting - wondering if its image would mean a downwards career step - but joined Ego Sender in 2016 and it's definitely proved to have been the right move for me. It plays to my strength of client management. I've become very good at coping with the whole range of business issues and at asking questions.'




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ligaturemagazine.co.uk looks at the role women play in business in 2016 and by focusing on the past seeks to improve the prospects for all UK women in the work force. We offer women a chance to join a non profit making group of similar women to give advice and career support.