WOMEN'S DAY SERIES: WEST 68 DESIGNS (MACKENZIE)
Posted by Amanda Cockburn on
What gender specific challenges, stereotypes or barriers have you had to overcome during your career (or in your business)? The line of work I am in for my day job (behaviour analysis/social services) is heavily female-dominated. While this is wonderful and I am so blessed to be working with and learning from strong females each day, there is also a push for males to join our field. After I got my Master’s degree, I went to my very first interview. The interview was a success and I felt very confident about my chances. However, at the end of the interview the hiring manager said, “I’m going to be completely honest with you, I have one spot to fill and I have a male coming into interview after you. Your credentials are very similar, and I would love to hire you, but my boss is pushing for male therapists to join our team. So if his interview goes well, I will likely have to hire him.” While I respected the inclusion and interest of men joining our field, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the same situation would have occurred in a male dominated field?
Where are you feeling empowered (or disempowered) in your own woman's story? Joining this small business world has brought about a whole new sense of empowerment. Especially around woman’s day. Seeing all these young, strong, driven women running successful businesses all on their own - has given me the courage to pursue something for myself.
How have your female networks and companionships supported you through the past year? I couldn’t have done it without them. I have a very strong, close knit group of girlfriends that have been a part of my life for almost two decades. Pre-Covid we would see each other on a very regular basis. When Covid hit, and our contacts were limited, it made me realize how much I need them in my life. As much as I love my boyfriend, I need my girls in my life too.
Covid19 has disproportionately affected women (taking on a heavier burden at home and with childcare in lockdowns). How can we support other women as we start the social and economic recovery process? I do not have children of my own. So, while I don’t share the same experience, I can definitely empathize with it through seeing how my friends with children have been impacted. I was listening to the radio the other day they were talking about a global director for brand marketing, who rote a resume specifically for Moms trying to re-enter the workforce after being off for so long and having to justify the work gap on their resume. The resume highlighted key characteristics that stay-at-home mom’s have developed that should be recognized in the workforce (with a comedic note added). I think this is a very important lense to take as women start to re-enter the workforce. Sure, they may have not worked a 9-5 job in almost a year, but they have take on roles such as: teacher, hair-dresser, chauffeur, sport coach, therapist, etc., seemingly overnight. They have had to develop a new sense of leadership, conflict resolution and teamwork. I admire and incredibly respect these woman, and I think it is our job to support them in the same way they have supported their families and each other over the last year.
What would you tell your younger self (in career or business)? What do you wish you had known or not spent so much time worrying about? The math class you failed in high school is going to seem irrelevant when you see how far you’ve come.
We've all had that moment in our business where we wanted to quit... what was that moment for you, and how did you keep going? In my career: December 2019 when I had a client who was experiencing some extremely challenging behaviours that took a toll on them, myself and my staff. I had many days where I thought I should just quit and let someone more experienced take over, but I stuck through it, put a really great plan in place, and I can confidently say that with the support of all my colleagues, I made a significant difference in that child’s life.
In my business: before I even started. I put it off for a long time because I was afraid of failure. And I still am, some days. But I also have a whole new support system of other young women in the same position as me, who remind me every day to keep going!