It’s that time of year again! Preparations are well underway in many organisations for International Women's Day (IWD), celebrated globally on the 8th of March each year.
Over the years I’ve been to many “women’s” events set out to celebrate women's achievements. Most events have a common theme and a common flow: a panel of super high-powered, potentially intimidating, CV carrying (and shoulder padded) women sharing the ‘secrets’ of how they got to the top.
The aim of these sessions is usually to inspire the ‘ordinary’ women in the audience to strive for, and to reach, even greater professional heights.
“Climb that corporate ladder!”
“Navigate the office jungle gym!”
“Lean in and smash that glass ceiling!”
... All achieved over an alternate meal of chicken or fish (as if we all want the same thing!).
I don’t know about you, but occasionally I walk away from those events invigorated and inspired, ready to take on whatever obstacles pop up in front of me on my career roadmap! But more often, I actually end up feeling a bit deflated.
The key message is often that success is measured by achievements for which I’m not necessarily ready, willing or able to strive.
It's the exact opposite of its intent, and certainly not what International Women's Day is all about.
And then there was my a-ha! moment...
I suspected - or hoped! - many of you are like me: looking for something different. I’m not ashamed to admit I still cry when I watch re-runs of Susan Boyle auditioning on ‘Britain’s Got Talent'; the unconventional aspiring singer who belted out the most unexpectedly spine-tingling version of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’. And I definitely get goosebumps when I hear Sue Ismiel talk about how she was driven to invent a no heat, natural hair removal product out of ingredients in her kitchen for her daughter; a product that has now of course gone on to become the global success story ‘Nads’.
So why do these stories feel so compelling? Because they are all about ‘ordinary’ women doing extraordinary things. And that’s what International Women’s Day is all about: recognising that every day, in all corners of Australia and across the world, there are so many women doing extraordinary things in the context of their own lives and communities!
These women have incredible influence on the people around them. Not because they have hit the highest levels and pay scales on an org chart (don’t get me wrong, that’s fantastic too if that’s your aspiration!) but because they ‘dreamed their dream’ and have begun to live it.
So this year, through a-ha!, I set out to create something different. In celebration of you, our extraordinary women of Australia, a-ha! is delivering an event to celebrate women, in the style I always wished I could find!
‘Women Who Rock’ celebrates all of our incredible achievements - everyone's inner 'rock star'! And yes, I did choose a panel of amazing women; and what’s unique about them is that they are a diverse and impressive bunch who will truly resonate with all us 'not-so-ordinary' women out there!
But there's even more, because we've organised live music and entertainment, a fun and energising team activity, a variety of food and beverage choices, opportunities to network, and even an after-party for those who want to continue celebrating all night long! Now we really are rock gods and goddesses!
I consider it one of my own little achievements, one that I was ready, willing and able to strive towards. It's a-ha!'s contribution to women in Australia for International Women's Day, and I hope to see you there!
#ahamoments with Kat