As both a mother and CEO of a global business, I believe women can have the best of both worlds.
I launched Rufus & Coco in 2008 while pregnant with my first child, quickly followed by my second. I’m proud to say that within three years I had taken the brand from startup to a national grocery brand while juggling motherhood – something women are not well supported culturally to do. Too often, I see women leave the workforce with the birth of their first child, never to return with the same thrust to their career.
I believe the challenge for society lies in creating a business environment where women can thrive both as business leaders and caregivers. Mothers, in particular, make some of the best leaders. They’re challenged every day in decision making and are consciously responsible for moulding young minds – cognisant of our every sentence and action.
While raising a family is no doubt challenging, I believe that with careful planning, time management and when needed, some help, women can still achieve all their career and business goals. More importantly, they should! We need more women in leadership positions. Often with women in charge, greater flexibility is afforded to employees, making the juggle that much easier.
Here are some reasons why women make great leaders:
Women have great empathy
Most women are great listeners and are naturally empathetic. We take time to empathise and understand the whole person, not just the issue right in front of us, this emotional intelligence helps tailor plans for performance.
Women are very collaborative
Women are natural connectors and tend to work more collaboratively to achieve results, engaging team members rather than working in competition with each other. As natural connectors, women are also great at networking, which is essential as a leader. Often with greater responsibilities, however, women are afforded less time and opportunities to network as men.
Women keep egos in check
Humility is a core quality of great leadership, allowing one to step back and see the big picture and make the hard decisions that will ultimately benefit the business. When egos take over, poor decisions are made that serve the individual, not the greater good and in today’s environment flexibility is essential to ensure the business stays on the right track.
Women know what women want
Given a high proportion of household spending is done by women, every brand or product would benefit from having female energy behind the marketing strategy.
The best leaders are authentic, honest and humble and like everyone, have multiple commitments to manage. I truly believe women can achieve anything if we are just willing to jump in and give it go!
Anneke van den Broek is a Premium member, she founded Rufus & Coco in 2008 to create a different kind of pet brand – one that offered inspired, trusted and original products. She’s been recognised as one of Australia’s 50 most influential women entrepreneurs by Rare Birds, in 2012 was the recipient of the Anita Prabhu Women in Business Award and in 2016 was inducted into the Australian Business Woman’s Hall of Fame.
Connect with Anneke here.