Five minutes with Amanda Blesing - C-suite mentor for women

By Emma Gardiner on International Women's Day March 8, 2016 in Supplier News, Spice Magazine (events & tourism)

Amanda Blesing, creator of The Ambition Revolution, shares her tips on how to step up, speak out and take charge.

“My mission in life is to help women to play a much bigger game – change the world if you will – and do so with big ideas, big vision and big, audacious bucket loads of confidence,” said Blesing.

The former CEO currently works with, and speaks to, busy and ambitious professional women to help keep them focused on their strategic goals around their leadership aspirations.

One of the things she said she noticed while working alongside those in professional roles and larger organisations was that the women tended to require a different style of encouragement in order to step up into leadership roles or opportunities.


Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In 2.0 and Corporate Gender Bias - Entrepreneur

Every now and then I find a great article that takes a sightly different perspective or slant on solving an old problem. Gender equality is an old problem. I like the more masculine appraoch that this author takes to tackling biases.

Jonathan Segal, Contributor, Entrepreneur and Partner in Employment Practice Group of Duane Morris

OCTOBER 25, 2016 on Entrepreneur Magazine.

Research finds we are still 100 years away from gender equality in the C-suite. That's unacceptable.

It is now more than three years since Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, wrote her ground-breaking book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. “Lean In,” I believe, is shorthand for “Go for it, if you want it.”

In her book, Sandberg acknowledges that there are many systemic obstacles to the advancement of women in corporate America. However, her focus is what women can do to maximize their chance of success in spite of these obstacles.

Well, more and more women are leaning in. That includes applying for leadership positions and/or negotiating for more equitable compensation.


Women Entrepreneurs Making Waves - Huffington Post by Alex Pirouz

Delighted to be featured on Huffington Post for my work.

Article by Alex Pirouz published on 11 October

"I’m not saying anything groundbreaking when I say the Entrepreneurial scene has really taken off over the past 5 years.

This in turn has seen more and more women start and grow businesses, in Australia alone that increase has been phenomenal.

Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics Data shows women make up just over a third of all business operators, which is close to a 50% increase over the past decade.

It’s inspiring to see so many women Entrepreneurs start ventures and share their missions with the world.

After coaching and mentoring thousands of Entrepreneurs men and women alike, it’s clear to me that the reason so many women are beginning to start businesses and do so well at the same time is due to their passion to transform industries."



People Expect Men to Be Struck By Genius—And Women to Work For It -

A great reflective piece on by Nate Hopper @NDHopper

20 October 2016

How we describe inventors influences what we think of them—and what they did

We love us our geniuses. And we really, really love us the kind of genius who experiences an epiphany of almost divine origin—like being struck by lightning or a falling apple. This framing places the origins of innovation in a character trait, instead of depicting it as the result of effort and endurance. Geniuses are blessed heroes. The rest of us are incapable.

All of that, according to a recent study by Kristen Elmore of Cornell University and Myra Luna-Lucero of Columbia University, is wrapped up in how we most often describe genius in everyday life—as flashes or strikes, or as a lightbulb turning on. When compared to a different metaphor that implies long-term work—that “the seed of an idea” then “took root” and “has borne fruit”—the researchers found that the lightbulb metaphor led people to believe an idea was, they write, “more exceptional.” We feel that a lightbulb genius is a better genius.

The authors write that, “For a female inventor, the seed (vs. lightbulb) metaphor increased perceptions of her genius, whereas the opposite pattern was observed for a male inventor.” In essence: Men are struck by genius, while women must work for it.


As Women Take Over a Male-Dominated Field, the Pay Drops

The New York Times

Economic View, 18 March 2016

Excerpt below

"A new study from researchers at Cornell University found that the difference between the occupations and industries in which men and women work has recently become the single largest cause of the gender pay gap, accounting for more than half of it. In fact, another study shows, when women enter fields in greater numbers, pay declines — for the very same jobs that more men were doing before."




The Power of Flexibility: A Key Enabler to Boost Gender Parity and Employee Engagement - Bain & Co

February 04, 2016 Bain Brief

By Melanie Sanders, Jennifer Zeng, Meredith Hellicar and Kathryn Fagg

Excerpt and link below

" The way we work today is fundamentally different than how we worked a decade ago. Gone are the days when employees would work 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, and only within the four walls of the office. Thanks to leaps in technology, businesses now run 24/7 from anywhere and everywhere.

Flexible workplaces are becoming the norm. Employees are increasingly seeking flexibility in when, where and how they work. This growing demand is rooted in shifts in workforce demographics, accompanied by changing expectations of work-life integration. For example, the percentage of dual-income households in Australia has increased from 40% in 1983 to nearly 60% in 2013.1 We have seen the percentage of working mothers with children under the age of 18 increase by 6% in the past decade.2 The aging population means employees are staying in the workplace longer, often in a more flexible capacity. And the current generation of new recruits, known as millennials, has very different work expectations than their baby boomer parents. Survey after survey has shown what millennials want most is to work flexibly.3

For women, workplace flexibility is especially important.  ....."



When Teamwork Doesn’t Work for Women (Research by Heather Sarsons) - New York Times

New York Times article - Economic View - By JUSTIN WOLFERS JAN. 8, 2016

Economics remains a stubbornly male-dominated profession, a fact that members of the profession have struggled to understand.

After all, if the marketplace of ideas is meant to ensure that the best ideas thrive, then this imbalance should arise only if men have better ideas than women. That implication infuriates many female economists. Now new evidence suggests that the under-representation of women reflects a systemic bias in that marketplace: a failure to give women full credit for collaborative work done with men.

At least that is the conclusion of research by Heather Sarsons, a brilliant young economist currently completing her dissertation at Harvard. And it is a pattern that may explain why women struggle to get ahead in other professions involving teamwork.


Or more on collaboration and women

Study Says Women Don’t Get Credit When They Work With Men - The Cut

By Dayna Evans - 11 January 2016

We all remember the dreaded middle-school group project. There would be four or five people, all tasked with the same goal, but only one of them would actually do the work, and when the project was graded, everyone — no matter their level of commitment or competence — would wind up with the same grade. Well, it turns out that the miseries of underrecognized hard work on group projects persists long after middle school. Or at least it does for women.

Heather Sarsons, a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard, explored this phenomenon with a study in which she looked at "CVs from economists who went up for tenure between 1975 and 2014 in one of the top 30 PhD-granting universities in the United States." She found a bias toward men in instances where men and women co-authored research papers, and found that co-authoring with men was a disability for women in their work, a phenomena she calls a "co-author penalty."


CEW chief Diane Smith-Gander sees 2015 as key for gender equality - The Australian, 7 January 2016

Every now and then an article grabs my attention because it encapsulates and explains some of the arguments around gender equality really well and I want to make sure those who follow me have access to it.  This recent article in The Australian is such a piece.  It's an interview with Diane Smith-Gander, head of Chief Executive Women and her first observation is that 2015 was a watershed year for women in leadership - by Glenda Korporaal, The Australian, Associate Editor (Business), Sydney

"Chief Executive Women president Diane Smith-Gander believes 2015 was a “watershed year” for women in corporate Australia.

“Things have definitely changed,” Ms Smith-Gander said in an interview to mark the start of her second year as CEW president.

“There is more awareness of the need to have more gender equity. Corporations have gone past the idea of saying ‘we need more women’ to the idea that, like having good safety standards, it is the right thing to do to have more inclusion and true equality.

“People are realising that it makes good business sense to try to keep their talented women. They want to retain them through the employment cycle. They don’t want to throw away their recruitment and training costs, their investment in learning and development of an ­employee just to have them be paid out and leave.

“There is definitely a benefit in terms of costs. But companies will also get the benefit of better decision-making that diversity brings to the workplace.” "  READ MORE ....



Great video explaining gender bias - Janet Crawford

Curious about gender bias?  Janet Crawford is a gender and unconscious bias expert and here is a great explanation from the Webstock 2015 Conference in New Zealand.

My standout takeaway?

"Media is not benign. Because it is this sort of imagery  that brains use in our unconscious calculation of who belongs where and what competence looks like."  - referring to Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer's youthful blonde looks, and Fortune magazine's need to reassure us that she is indeed competent.

Three Major Shifts in Thinking that will help you Tackle Big Entrepreneurial Goals More Easily!

Article published by European Women In Business - October 2015

As women we are living and working in exciting times.  Right now, there is a huge spotlight on gender diversity and encouraging women into senior roles, into industries that have been the purview of men traditionally and even into the entrepreneurial space.  

However it would appear that women don’t need much encouragement when it comes to wanting to set something up for themselves.  In both Australia and the USA increasing numbers of women are setting up small businesses. Sometimes this is in addition to their paid employment and sometimes it’s in place of their regular salaried employment. 

Either way, women are beginning to carve out their own piece of the pie and quite clearly want a say in how their financial and personal freedoms turn out, that is not quite as reliant on other people’s good luck or poor planning. 


Elizabeth Broderick led change by making gender equity a contest - SMH Sept 2015 (Annabel Crabb)

The reality is that diversity in all its forms is a societal issue - and gender diversity is not just about women. So while there are some skeptics of the Male Champions of Change program, my personal belief is that until we involve everyone in solving this nothing much will change. Power, in all its forms, is challenging to let go of whether you are a man or a woman, so convincing men that they need to step down from leadership and give someone else a go, is not going to be easy if you yelling from the sidelines so to speak.

Once again - I'm a big fan of Annabel Crabb's writing. Here's more.

Extract from Sydney Morning Herald 

Annabel Crabb - 5 September 2015

"Sex discrimination commissioner created a new club for male business leaders, who then vied to one-up each other.

For a person whose job it is to promote the interests of women, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick has spent an awful lot of time thinking about and talking to men.

Has her approach been provocative? Indisputably. Controversial? Sure. Worth it? I reckon – and here's why."


Men will sleep easier if there's a 50/50 quota - SMH Aug 2015 (Annabel Crabb)

As always Annabel Crabb serves up meaty topics with a dose of humour helping us keep the conversation bright and breezy on big issues.

Extract from Sydney Morning Herald

Annabel Crabb 22 August 2015

"There are a lot of arguments against having formal quotas or targets for women in business and politics. Some are very convincing; that's why this continues to be a vexed debate. It's easy to recoil at the idea of quotas; the idea of a central government reaching in to twiddle the managerial knobs of a private enterprise is as essentially-chilling as the idea of a central government telling individuals whom they may or may not sleep with." 


Recent reflections on The Imposter Syndrome - Does it still exist?

Why does imposter syndrome still exist in women?

LINDA KELSEY on - well and good

Last updated 12:06, August 8 2015


"Entitled "The imposter phenomenon in high achieving women", it [the research] detailed the results of five years of working with 150 successful women, ranging from undergraduates and PhDs to lawyers and teachers, who persisted in believing they were not very bright and had somehow fooled anyone who thought otherwise. 

That's me to a T, I thought, while jumping to the conclusion that, as a university dropout, I had far more claim to being an imposter than any of the genuine high achievers.

They might be victims of a syndrome, but I really had reason to doubt myself, compared with the outgoing Oxbridge graduates who seemed to dominate the industry in which I worked. This lot might have imagined themselves to be phonies, I told myself, but I was the real deal, a genuine phony.

On the back of the research we ran a story in Cosmo asking, "Are you a victim of imposter syndrome?" and were flooded with letters from readers who were young and ambitious and slowly climbing the career ladder while convinced they were going to be unmasked at any moment."


17 Ways to Get Ahead Faster - from Business Insider Australia

Business Insider Maggie Zhang  Jul 29, 2014, 2:59 AM

I'm always looking for articles and resources that can help my clients achieve their goals - whether they are entrepreneurial, career driven or personal.  I like this article because it presents a great overview of strategies. You could just pick one or two and focus on them before turing something else.

"Most people want to become successful as quickly as possible. The problem is, many don’t know how to go about doing it.

In a Quora thread titled, “How Can I Accelerate My Personal Growth?” users discussed how they get ahead in their working lives.

Here are 17 of the most practical pieces of career advice we found.

1. Determine what you have to offer. As Abraham Lincoln says, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” Before thinking about how to get ahead, figure out if the direction you are going in places you in the best position to use your natural skills and contribute to those around you.

If you’re not certain yet, don’t be afraid to experiment. It takes most people a few tries to figure out what they’re good at. — Daniel Vlcek

2. ......


ANZ Reveals Barriers to Achieving Gender Equity

Excerpt from ProBono News

Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 

Banking giant ANZ says it will introduce measures to redress gender inequality after new research shows that women earn $700,000 less than men over a working career due to ‘structural bias’.

ANZ said it will introduce new measures to help women better engage with their financial futures and address the structural bias and subsequent financial disadvantage they face in the workplace and retirement.

The announcement follows ANZ’s release of new research into gender inequality in Australia, which found that that full-time female workers are paid on average $295 per week less than men or $15,000 dollars a year which,  over their lifetime, equates to an average of $700,000 less than men.


Challenging Meritocracy with UN Women and Autopia

On Wednesday 22 July in Melbourne I attended the Driving Gender Diversity breakfast presented by UN Women Australia and sponsored by Autopia  where they presented their report which challenges the notion of meritocracy.

We heard from a range of experts on the notion of meritocracy and why its an outdated and flawed notion full of unconscious bias.  In my mind this means so much when it comes to Associations planning industry conferences as frequently our industry conferences are full of white men in suits on the stage with an implied message that anglo saxon males are the only experts. While this is not the platform for that particular argument or debate (read more) it was exciting to hear both the theoretical and practical examples of why meritocracy is flawed and what we can do about it.

With thanks to our speaker panel: 

  • Julie McKay, Executive Director, UN Women Australia
  • Prof Robert Wood, Director, Centre for Ethical Leadership
  • Dimity Hodge, Australian Practice Leader - Leadership Advisory Services, Spencer Stuart
  • Air Commander Alan Clements, Commandant, Australian Defence Force Academy

If you want a copy of the report you can download it here.

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution

Why not nominate yourself for an Award? See listing.


In the interests of inspiring clever women to greater heights - or possibly to gain recognition for the work they already do so well, here is a list of Awards you might consider nominating for.

Alternatively if you know a woman somewhere then please encourage them to nominate

In a statement of pure personal interest - I can help with that. It's so much easier to get someone else to help you write the Award instead of doing it yourself.  Call or email - 0425 780 336 or

Here are three great examples of women doing something similar.

So why would you want to?  

  1. The rigorous process of writing and submitting helps you see things differently and by practicing talking about our wins and successes, we bring things we might have forgotten back to forefront of mind. Yes its time consuming. Yes its worth it.
  2. If you make the finals, the recognition from your peers is well worth it. Become known as the go to person in your industry. You will definitely stand out from the crowd and your CV & LinkedIn profile looks amazing. And it might even boost your confidence enough to ask for a payrise! 
  3. If you win, then that's a whole new ball game. This puts you back in the drivers seat of your life and career. Take it, run with it, leverage it and work it. You deserve it!

2015 SOCAP Australia Awards for Excellence in Consumer Affairs

  • Click on the link above for more information 
  • Nominations close 5pm Friday 31 July 2015.
  • Rising Star and Stellar Achievement categories.

AFR 100 Women of Influence Awards

Nominations are now open at for entries across 10 categories – including a new Culture category encompassing influential women in the arts, sport and the media

  • Nominations close on Sunday, August 9, 2015. 

Women in Financial Services Awards 

  • Recognise women who lead change in the finance sector
  • Nominations close 5pm 20 August.

FEmale Entrepreneur of the Year Award

The Female Entrepreneur Awards are an exclusive awards platform dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the amazing entrepreneurial achievements by some of Australia’s finest female entrepreneurs. More women than ever before are launching businesses, often with rapid success, and this prestigious awards event provides an opportunity to draw attention to the phenomenal achievements of these women.

  • Five categories
  • Nominations close 31 August 2015



  • Nominations open May 2016 - start preparing now!


What would it take? Its going to take a way with words, a bit of effort and getting over your natural tendencies to want to not to big note yourself. Its also going to require you to get over any residual Imposter Syndrome tendencies.  Once again - I can help. Its much easier to do this for someone else than it is to do it for yourself. 

Image judgement fear holds back women at work - AFR

Great article on the AFR about anxiety around appearance in the wake of recent research.

by Helen Croydon - Jul 21 2015 at 1:06 PM 

This week research revealed a third of all women fear their appearance could hold back their careers. One in 10 has called in sick because they were having a "bad" hair or skin day.

It is interesting that the poll, conducted by LloydsPharmacy, didn't bother to question men about similar insecurities. Interesting, but not surprising. There are only a few grooming issues for gents to be concerned with. If you've ironed your shirt, washed your hair and had a shave within the past seven days, you're good.


7 surprising facts about confidence - on Business Chicks

My guest article on Business Chicks. Looking forward to writing many more.


Women need to stop playing small and start believing in themselves, says mentor Amanda Blesing

When it comes to the differences between male and female brain biology, the experts still disagree as to whether the main cause is socialisation, whether we’re born that way, or that our hormones play a role. However no matter what the cause, there is still much evidence that we respond, behave and perform differently in situations that require confidence.

And while success correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence, as women we’ve been socialised to believe the opposite. Fortunately, we now know this can be part of the problem when it comes to women believing themselves ready for competing for promotions. So here are seven things I’ve learned that may impact on your confidence and help you tackle big, audacious plans more easily.