Here at Disruptive Hiring we consistently champion female leaders in the tech space. On Episode 13 of The Disruptive Mindset Podcast we had the pleasure of talking to the CEO of Nimbla Ltd, Elizabeth Jenkin, about creating better gender diversity in the industry. Elizabeth is also a Principal Co-Founder of Lift As You Climb UK, which is a networking non-profit that supports women in the workplace. Together we unpacked the important work that both Disruptive and Elizabeth are doing. Read on for the highlights!
Why is it important for women to network with each other?
When we started Lift As You Climb, we found that women were typically only networking with people of their own age or in their own industry, which is quite limiting. You don’t learn that way. Networking is very much about passing wisdom forwards and backwards and through generations, and our goal is to facilitate that.
Women actually network differently to men. They don’t have like these huge networks, they usually have a very tight-knit group that’s almost like a bunch of friends. There’s a spiderweb effect that comes off that close group which the Kellogg School of Management researched a few years ago. That’s what we try to promote within Lift As You Climb, because it creates a community who help each other. People will say introduce you to this person, who can introduce you to that person, and it just keeps growing. Little conversations can create bigger conversations and actually quite big movements. It all starts with asking for help. Our network is incredible because they’re so generous with their time and expertise.
What impact can mentoring have on women’s careers?
Finding mentors early on in your career can open so many doors. It will help you navigate your career, whatever gender you are. If you’re in industries that don’t always have relatable role models in front of you, it’s important to go and find them. They can then advise you on what to do in certain situations that you’ve not been through before.
Women are often offered mentors, but they’re usually men. Are we going to have the same open and honest conversations with senior men that we would with other women? Maybe, maybe not. But research says that women typically want to be mentored by women for broader aspects of their career such as maternity leave or questions like ‘I want to be CEO, how do I get there?’ Having another woman to guide you through that can be invaluable.
Who have been your biggest role models?
I’ve always had working women around me, and that’s always been a big influence on me. One of my major influences was my grandmother. She had the sharpest intellect of any woman I’ve ever met. She went from being a governess to being a land girl, and then one thing led to another and she met my grandfather and got married. They were farmers, but in another world, or in another time, she would have had a big career somewhere. She was very humble about it, but she smashed the cryptic crossword every day.
She focused my sister and I on our careers and supported them. She never wanted us to settle. She wanted us to do work we loved and work hard. Her ambition for us was not to just get married – although that’s a perfectly brilliant outcome – because she wanted more for us. She was the one person in my life that told me things I didn’t want to hear. When I messed up she was there, and she was holding me accountable. Most importantly, she would do it kindly. She would always try to put me back on back on the rails.
To learn more about Elizabeth’s work at Lift As You Climb and other aspects of her career, tune into Episode 13 of The Disruptive Mindset Podcast here.
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