Worried about getting older as an executive woman? Think again!

One less reason to worry about aging with Amanda Blesing resized.png

Are you worried about getting older? Worried about discrimination or that you may simply be “past it” and not able to cut it any more?

Well maybe it's time to stop worrying and start celebrating your maturity, particularly if you are a woman.

Just last month, Jack Zengar, Zengar Folkman, shared stunning insights into age and confidence.  

Women gain in confidence far more as we age.


We may feel less confident in our 20s and 30s, but there is light at the end of the tunnel

  • Our confidence increases (men and women) as we head towards 40
  • As a woman your confidence will increase even more through 50 
  • And then from 50 to 60+ it's all up hill! 

In the words of Helen Reddy “I am woman, hear me roar”

To paraphrase “I am a more mature woman, see me soar!”

Combine this with research that we all get happier with age, we now have two great reasons to be happy about ageing.

For those experiencing age discrimination, let's not dismiss the fact that our society celebrates youth and older women are an invisible segment in our community.  I don't want to dismiss the fact that this happens. So let this confidence research be your secret weapon, to help you get on the front foot and turn your age into a tactical advantage. 

► What about you? Do you feel more confident as you age?  Why not get involved in the conversation on LinkedIn? Have your say.

#MakeABiggerDifference #FeminineAmbitionRocks #WomenOfImpact

Read further:

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

To collaborate, or not? That is the question many executive women want to know

As I was fielding questions at a Women in Manufacturing event last month, a smart 'n savvy audience member asked a really smart 'n savvy question.

Q: Can you tell us about collaboration? Women are meant to be good at it, but that's not always the case, and it doesn't seem to get me noticed any faster. Should I be doing it?

Great question!

My response?

Collaboration is said to be a feminine leadership superpower - where women are perceived to be better at working together with others towards a common cause than men.

Collaboration is usually seen as the exact opposite of competitiveness (a stereotypical masculine trait).

However, as with any trait or strength collaboration can be a double edged sword.

Let's be honest, not all women collaborate well. In particular, recent research tells us that when women are in single gender environments we are more competitive and less collaborative.

When women do collaborate in mixed gender teams, we frequently come off getting less credit than our male peers, which we learned from research into academic papers in the economic world.  

Worse, when women don't collaborate well in mixed gender teams, they lose in the likability stakes - a hangover from our playground socialisation. "Play nice kids!"

Ironically when men collaborate they get extra kudos for doing so - as with office house work!  

So what are you supposed to do?  Should we collaborate or not?


When we look at The Future of Work Report by World Economic Forum for Davos 2016 we can see that in 2015 'working with others' (collaboration) was #2 on the desired skills list. For 2020 it's still really high, but has dropped to #5 being pipped at the post by

  • complex problem solving
  • critical thinking
  • creativity and
  • people management

So yes, collaboration is right up there and seen as a highly desirable workplace skill now, and will continue to be highly desirable in the future.

Five key collaboration pointers for exective women

  1. Remember, because stereo-typically women are said to be better at collaboration, others will criticise us if we don't do it well.  Collaborate smartly. Understand the biases around gender and collaboration and navigate strategically. Plus, be sure to learn how to collaborate in both single gender and mixed gender teams.
  2. Ensure you take proactive and visible roles (rather than only passive or background roles) in collaborative projects.
    • Note taking, making sure everyone is okay, gently reminding people of project deadlines = passive or background.
    • Chairing, leading, driving, inspiring, reporting = proactive and visible.
  3. Ensure you get credited with your contribution and (where possible and appropriate) ensure your name is listed early on the list of contributors on collaborative projects (rather than after the men). The men are likely to get extra social credit for just being on the team, so don't feel guilty.
  4. Ensure that at least one of your collaborative projects is deemed by the rest of the business as "sexy",  high profile and/or highly visible to leaders inside the business. Yes, someone has to be "the fixer", but make sure that's not all you do.
  5. If you are a manager working to empower or champion the female talent within your business, then keep these pointers in mind to ensure your female team members flourish and get noticed for all the right reasons.

And finally?  
It doesn't have to be damned if you do and damned if you don't. Keep the five pointers above in the back of your mind and get in amongst it. Turn collaboration into your secret weapon of mass engagement. Not only will learning to collaborate smartly be an act of future proofing, but it will definitely help with your leadership goals.  

After all Smart 'n Savvy +  feminine super powers=  priceless

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Key learnings from the Women World Changer event in Sydney 12 Oct 2016

I'm a self confessed conference junkie. I've attended hundreds of them, and run more than most people have had hot dinners.   I enjoy the networking, I enjoy the opportunity to down tools and reflect on best practice, brash new ideas and challenging concepts. I also appreciate being in a room with like minded individuals and reflecting that;

"Gee, what I'm doing on the money.  Keep on going. This stuff makes a difference."

Last week I attended the Women World Changers one day event in Sydney.

The speaker lineup was a who's who in gender and broader diversity discussions from Australia and beyond including the following: Wendy McCarthy AO, Holly Ransom, Avril Henry, Ming Long, Mai Chen, Pat Milligan, Dr Simon Longstaff AO FCPA, Ainslie van Onselen, Giam Swiegers, Libby Lyons, Jenny Leong, Christine Bartlett, Veena Sahajwalla, Amy Mullins, John Lydon, Hala Gorani, Jennifer Dalitz, Melissa Browne, Kim-Louise Liddell, Gen George, Karen Beattie.

And "girl" did I have a great day!  It felt pretty fabulous to be in a room full of men and women committed to gender equity - and the benefits for business and society more broadly.  Thanks to both Carla Wall and Deborah Harrigan who joined me at the event. It was great to share and compare highlights afterwards.

Significant moments for me?

Wendy McCarthy AO as the opening keynote drawing attention to:

  • "the gap between well intentioned programs and programs that deliver real outcomes"
  • "the face of poverty in the future is an older woman with no super"

Patricia Milligan - on the data

  • "Companies who measure the progress and publish the results get better results"
  • "One of the biggest issues cited by women for leaving the workforce is health and well being issues"

Ming Long on encouraging men into the conversation

  • "Slavery didn’t end because black people thought it was a good idea. It disappeared because white people thought it was a good idea. Let’s get men into the discussion about gender equity"
  • "For the men in the room understand gender equity in the workplace is a smart business move, not just a nice to have because you have daughters"
  • "Some of the male champions don’t quite get it, but they’re on the journey and most importantly in positions of power to do something about gender equality"

Mae Chen on Super Diversity

  • "Cultural capability (CQ) is the new currency of success for business and individuals"
  • "I came to this conference because the title is Women World Changers - we need to change the world for humans, not just women"

Holly Ransom on the future of work

  • "The nature of work is changing and becoming portfolio in nature with consulting, freelancing and flexibility options seen as more and more attractive"
  • "6 degrees of separation is out the window - with impact of a social media it's estimated to be more like 3.8 degrees"

Avril Henry with a rousing close on how women can make a bigger difference for themselves

  • "No-one is more interested in your career than you. Put up your hand and manage it!"
  • "Winning women don't play nice, they play fair"

Please enjoy (and share) the Twitter highlights below!

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #feminineambition #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

If you enjoyed this please spread the word! Let's inspire women everywhere to keep their eye on the prize

  • I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and art of amping smart and savvy
  • I mentor busy professional women to ensure they remain smart, strategic and focused on the bigger game.
  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but are struggling to do so.


Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months