The twelfth meeting of the IT HR Academy (communities of HR professionals of large technology companies) was held in the Alfa Laboratory space ─ speakers shared their views on women's leadership, discussed finding a balance between career and family, as well as problems and obstacles for women's self-realization. The event was moderated by Inga Esakova and Nadiya Cherkasova. Vera Solomatina (SAP CIS), Shlomit Gruman-Navot (Alfa-Bank), Ksenia Shumakova (IBM), Olga Bulatova (EY), Tatiana Tiunova (Burger King), Marina Karban (Skolkovo Business School), Elena Morozova (Atsearch).
Nadiya Cherkasova, Member of the Board of Otkritie Bank and investor of the Boomstarter crowdfunding platform
The topic of our discussion is women's leadership, and the second part is how we can combine our work and that part of life that is actually the main one ─ personal. For me, female leadership is a topic that is primarily related to expertise. I have been working in the small and medium business segment for 25 years and am an expert in this market, primarily as a banker. Let me emphasize: it is important to be a professional and it is important to improve. Because your resume is the past, these are past achievements, they are certainly interesting as a general background. But it is important to understand and imagine what you plan to do tomorrow.
One of my key tenets is “do parallel, think perpendicular”. I am an investor in several projects, I am a banker and business leader, and I am a mother of three children (I even think, maybe give birth to another, we'll see). But I am not only a banker, not only an investor, not only a mother. We women live in several roles in parallel. I am also a sister, a daughter, a friend, and a wife.
Of course, balance is important in life. I am convinced that in fact women know how to manage balance on an intuitive level. You can act in parallel and you can be successful in each of these stories in parallel. That is, my experience, it speaks about what? I repeat: first, it is very important to remain an expert. Second, it is very important to do several things in parallel. I first thought about this when I read LinkedIn founder Richard Hoffman's book Life is a Startup. He just says that very often happens, a person is focused on one career, and he has nothing else. You should always have a plan B and a plan Z. Let me emphasize: not just a plan B, but also a plan Z. Plan Z can be a hobby.
I proceed from the fact that the family is also a project. Just like at work, you implement your projects here. Nothing happens by itself. You also need to invest in a family ─ invest attention, time. As in any project, there should also be deadlines here. I checked it works.
Marina Karban Director of the Corporate Programs Department, SKOLKOVO Business School
Reflection, learning and the ability to delegate are the key points of leadership. The part of the business that I do in business school has already grown from a startup to a decent size business. I am an entrepreneur by nature, and I am not close to operational management. I honestly admitted this to myself and began to select people for the team who could take on this part of the work. At the same time, nothing improved … And then I realized that I was not giving my people the opportunity to work, I continued to do everything myself, to control, to go into details. I had to learn to let go, delegate, trust my people as myself. For me, the most important issue in leadership (in this sense, it doesn't matter whether it is female or male) is reflection, constant development and the ability to trust your team and delegate.
I work on Saturdays and Sundays. I am the same partner who, by my example, motivates everyone to work together with themselves. We have a lot of programs on weekends and we enjoy spending time with our groups. What options? It seems to me that when you do your job, no matter where you do it, it is always with you. I do about the same thing all the time - I develop people. I have a pedagogical education and, having gone some way, I eventually returned to my professional foundations, to the same pedagogical work.
I, of course, also try to find a balance between family and work. It is important to me in terms of the energy that I give to work and family. With great pleasure I give my all in business, and then I think: “What did you leave to your husband and children? Don't you come home empty, tired? " I am constantly working to conserve and properly distribute energy. I used to live in a family-project mode, but since my children have already grown up (the oldest is 15, and the youngest is 14), I moved on to another stage, which is called the family-team.
Each of us already has our own interests, and the whole family has complex graphics. Children spend a lot of time at school; the husband, figuratively speaking, lives on the plane. That's why we love to be together so much. We do not always have dinner together, but we love to have breakfast together (we discuss plans, interests of each other - who lives what, who is going to do what). Evening, even almost nighttime tea drinking is also our tradition. We create the mood for the next day, we philosophize. And we also love watching movies together, discussing it, listening to music, traveling. We don't have separate trips, we really enjoy each other. We laugh a lot, we have a very similar sense of humor, we like to joke.
I am lucky, Skolkovo is a special environment, in which there is a lot of things that interest not only me, but also my family. Children are very fond of Skolkovo events and holidays. My eldest son passed Startup Junior. If I go to work on Saturday, I suggest the boys come with me and go to the sports club. They usually welcome the idea with enthusiasm.
In this sense, I, of course, acted a little selfishly, pragmatically. I found many interests around my own environment that interested my family. I transferred the children to the Skolkovo gymnasium, which is very close to us. Full integration of work into life. We like it so far.
I still keep coming home from work tired, but at some point during the day I turn on my awareness and say to myself, “Okay, don't waste energy today. Save for the evening. " I cannot say that I have coped to the end, but I have learned to find the sources from which I receive energy. In this sense, I was also lucky - we have a sports club in SKOLKOVO, a wonderful atmosphere around the campus, clean air, and an excellent landscape. You can go out, breathe, walk. Nature gives me energy.
It is very important to have something special for the soul, something very personal. I love and collect Soviet porcelain from the 50-70s. Thanks to the different collector communities, I study special figurines, compile a catalog. I myself am surprised how I find the time, but this activity gives me a lot of energy.
Olga Bulatova Partner, CEO of EY Academy of Business in the CIS
Family rituals are a role that we can share with our partner. This can be done especially successfully by a working woman. For example, my husband prepares breakfasts, and I ─ dinners, and we all gather at the table ─ this is our tradition. True, when my husband is absent, at this time I replace him. And the tradition lives on: even though the husband is not at home, we still say that this is "dad's breakfast."
We have not had a TV in the traditional sense in our house for a long time. There is only a screen. We watch movies(this is another tradition that was born in our family, and it is based on a common interest). My husband is American, and for us a big challenge and task is to connect two cultures, to make sure that children have a clear self-identification. They are often asked the question: "Who are you and where are you from?" It turned out that children consider grandparents' house in the United States to be their real home, since in Moscow we do not live in a house, but in an apartment. In their understanding, a person should have a house just as a separate building. Children say, "Our home is in America." The question "What is your nationality?" they don't perceive. We try to show them both American and Russian culture, so we watch Russian and American films, give explanations, ensure the intersection of cultures, traditions, holidays. I wonder which passport they will choose at 18? Now children say: "We live on planet Earth."
I have an anti-scheduling model. I don’t plan anything globally and I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I open the calendar in the morning or on the eve of the week, look and understand what I need to prepare for. This is a new stage in my life, and not related to burnout. Sometimes they say to me: "Maybe you just burned out, and therefore you can no longer plan everything in detail and rigidly set deadlines?" But my approach has changed. Yes, my calendar is scheduled up to the minute, but at the level of self-awareness, the stress has gone because every minute is scheduled, there is peace and confidence that everything will be in time and will turn out as it should. I associate this with experience, a life stage, with a rethinking of my role, mission, tasks and projects.
It's no secret that women often behave differently in business than men, and, in particular, have a different attitude to the topic of entrepreneurship. Our company holds an international competition "Entrepreneur of the Year". At some point, we realized that we have practically no female participants. Business size, internal and external barriers often prevent them from mustering the courage to participate in the competition. That is why five years ago we opened a separate competition and program "Business women", which has a different entry threshold in terms of the volume of the business and in terms of its objectives.
Communicating with the participants, we realized that women have a special approach to goal-setting within their business. Many people create a business where you can combine 2 in one - work and personal, so that there is no need for a rigid division - here is work, and here is my home. They create space, their own culture, recruit those people who are pleasant to them and share their values, and to some extent are their family. Many women entrepreneurs say that their business is their family. Men very rarely formulate their approach that way. For men, this is often a project, a business that can then be sold, scaled, capitalized. For women, the creative function comes to the fore, while financial success is also in the foreground.
EY Academy of Business 3 years ago was the first to launch a modular development program “Women Leadership” on the market. When it comes to corporate business, research shows that women lack 33% for career success with a strategic outlook on business. Therefore, we have included in our program a large block on strategy and strategic financial management along with the topics of personal leadership, personal values, interaction and influence. We help to understand and build a value component and a common connection with our mission, with how to make people around (including children) happy so that it benefits society.
Ksenia Shumakova, HR Director, IBM Russia and the CIS
I joined IBM 20 years ago and first worked in a business unit with many men. At the same time, I have never faced the problem of the professional realization of women. It seems to me that in the Soviet Union this problem was not as acute as abroad. We had few female housewives. Soviet women most often combined motherhood with work.
If we are talking about the integration of work and personal life, about balance, about the extent to which a woman can develop professionally, it mainly depends on the woman herself - how much she is ready to invest in such development. How successful is it building communication, correctly positioning itself, promoting. Much also depends on the employer. In my case, the combination of the employer's foreign corporate culture and Russian traditions played a positive role.
Our team of managers includes both women and men. I am a representative of HR, a profession that is considered a woman's. In Moscow, the company's CFOs were usually men, but now this position is held by a woman. The head of the unit that maintains relationships with business partners is also a woman. The head of the consulting department is a woman. The head of our service organization is a woman. These are not traditionally female roles like HR, but business roles.
Constant work on myself is important for me. I was born in Moscow, and all my relatives also live in Moscow. Even 25% of the working day is on the way to work - it seems to me ridiculous, generally impossible. Forty-hour workweek, set time for sleep. Of course, I would like to pay more attention to my relatives. I also have friends. Therefore, on weekends, you also have to plan time so that there is enough time for the child, and for relatives and friends.
A working woman always draws up a development plan for herself. On the other hand, without additional support from the company, much cannot be done, for example, when it comes to telecommuting, part-time work or flexible hours.
If we talk about the possibility of working from home, it should be borne in mind that all companies have different profiles. We have a high-tech profile, very strict security and privacy requirements. In addition, business processes must allow the employee to perform work remotely. Much depends on the leader. For example, our CEO says, “I don't care where the manager is. I need to know that his team is fine and the business is going. " As a leader, I also went through a transformational path. Before being a manager, I thought, “She comes in at eleven, leaves at six. This is a mess. " Now, as a leader, my assessment is completely different.
In my subordination there are employees who sit at work "from and to", but do not achieve the desired result. And there are those who come at eleven, but no matter what task I set, they find a solution, do it quickly and along the way manage to do many more personal affairs and engage in volunteer activities.
We need to work on the climate in the team. I was surprised to learn that most people get upset when they receive a message from their boss on a weekend. They believe that it should be answered immediately. For example, I don't think I should immediately respond to a non-urgent message from a supervisor on Sunday. Perhaps the person likes to work on weekends, but I don't think I should respond to such messages in my spare time. And if employees cannot cope with this, then I, as a manager, take this into account and leave sending messages until Monday morning. This is a reciprocal process. A subordinate of any level will feel uncomfortable telling a boss: “Don't call me after twenty. I have children, grandmother, fitness classes. " But you also need to work on yourself. After all, the employer and the employee are a two-way road.
Vera Solomatina, HR Director, SAP CIS
For a long time in Russia, the issue of female leadership was not relevant. In our country, quite early in comparison with other European countries, women received the right to vote, the right to education, and the right to occupy leading positions. Women had the opportunity to be professionally realized. And when considering gender issues, I personally consider the issue of equality in the family more important for Russia, when a woman has the right and the opportunity to be a leader or a highly qualified specialist at work, but at the same time also independently runs a household, bears full responsibility for children and financial expenses on an equal footing, and often to a greater extent than her husband.
But back to the issue of women's leadership.
Many labor market analysts link the increase in gender diversity directly with the improvement in the company's financial performance. But now more and more women are confronted in their offices with such concepts as "glass ceiling" (the inability to move inside the company to managerial positions) and "sticky floor" (psychological inability to take the first career step). Recently, due to the fact that world HR practices are actively developing in Russia, this topic has become quite relevant.
SAP is a company with quite a lot of experience in implementing women's leadership programs. We are currently working in three major areas in Russia. First, we are looking for and attracting women leaders to the company. At all speeches, events, master classes, I mark women experts with leadership potential, or those who already work in leadership positions, and form a pool of potential candidates for managerial positions in the company. We also run a large number of events dedicated to diversity and women's leadership ourselves, and it is very important for us that our candidates know that it is SAP that pays great attention to the development of the potential of women.
The second very important area is the development of talents within the company. We closely monitor career opportunities for women and prepare separate programs to develop their potential, to successfully return to work after maternity leave, to develop their abilities and overcome themselves.
The third area in which we are actively working is our Alumni - employees who worked at SAP, and after that continued their careers in other companies. I am an advocate of the concept of emotional leadership. For me, a leader is, first of all, a person who can inspire a team with an idea and show the final goal. My experience in HR for 20 years, during my career I have several times combined HR work with the transition to business. When I left HR in an area unfamiliar to me, the most important thing was that I could lead people to success, regardless of their area of expertise. It was my job to maintain and develop this expertise.
For me, female success is a picture that every woman has in her imagination. And in this picture, she must fulfill herself. Conscious living of your life is important.
Elena Morozova, Managing Partner, Atsearch
I am an entrepreneur and 4 years ago I made the decision to quit my corporate career. I am a mother and like all the participants, I have to balance, devoting time to work, family, husband, myself. Usually, when we talk about women's leadership, we represent a girl who is in a leadership position and has a certain responsibility. Women are so arranged: we often take all the work and responsibility upon ourselves, and we believe that no one can do a better job.
Sometimes you do not need to try to control everything and exclude the message "Only I can do the best." Others can do it too, perhaps differently, but no worse. And we can spend in a different way the time and energy that we spend trying to control everything. This conclusion was brought to me by the experience of studying under the MBSkolkovo program.
Another life hack: how we spend our free time. Our family hobby is yachting, my husband and I go on boats under sail. Sport inspires me, and team sport is a real adventure and an amazing time spent. At regattas all over the world there is an opportunity to communicate with very interesting people. This is networking, and business, and sports, and the sun, and the sea - a lot of positive in one event, which we need to replenish the energy that we then share in all areas of our activity, in all the roles that we live.
Photo: Press Services Archives, Getty Images
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