I am a firm believer that as you climb the corporate ladder it's incredibly important to remember to throw down a rope. This is especially true for women leaders. What responsibility do we each now have in trying to make a difference for those who follow us? How can we provide assistance through impacting policies, setting the right examples and walking the talk? I believe the days of women fighting for the one available executive role are behind us... one woman's success does not reduce the amount left for each of us to enjoy. Women helping women, it's a responsibility not a choice.
Finding a cause to invest in that you feel a strong connection to can be very fulfilling. When I discovered G(irls)20, I knew this was an organization I could get behind both professionally and personally. G(irls)20 is a social profit that basically replaces the G20 leaders with a female delegate 18-20 years old from each of the participating countries. They work on the same topics that will be discussed at the G20 and bring forward recommendations for women's economic advancement for consideration.
It provides practical leadership skills as well as a network of impressive mentors, who provide year round support and encouragement as these young women head back to their home countries to impact their communities in incredible ways. This all seemed like such a fantastic fit for Jones New York. Jones New York has a long history of promoting and supporting women's empowerment. It has provided startup loans for female entrepreneurs, supported women's charities and based its brand position on providing women with trusted clothing that builds confidence.
On a personal note I find being exposed to such exceptional young women very inspiring. It fills me with admiration to learn about their initiatives as well as the challenges that girls and women continue to face around the world. Looking beyond our own backyard provides perspective and an appreciation for all we have in Canada.
I was lucky enough to be involved in the selection of the South African candidate for the upcoming G(irls)20 summit in Australia. I was struck by something that was a common thread through out the applications. This was the repeated use of the word "brave." In an environment where violence against girls and women is epidemic, it was clear that communicating strength of spirit and courage was imperative. I struggled to get through each application with a dry eye. I could feel the challenges that these remarkable candidates faced as well as their will and drive to overcome them and be change agents within their communities. We are all connected through the village of our gender. Those who can help in some way should.
You might ask, "What does clothing have to do with women's empowerment"? Clothing can help women feel more confident and prepared to face the day. It can be as simple as a favourite scarf or a black dress that somehow helps us face a situation with a bit more confidence. I used to have a beloved red blazer that was my "power" jacket. I always felt a little stronger and more capable when I had it on! Clothing is the wordless way we communicate our personal brand to the world. We shouldn't under estimate its potential impact on how others perceive us and how it can empower our own confidence!
My hope is that through the partnership of Jones New York and G(irls)20, we can support and nurture the next generation of female leaders around the world.
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