Icon Group is fortunate to have a huge number of talented women working across the organisation in many roles at different stages of their careers, and that provides a wonderful opportunity for us to support and learn from each other. But it was pointed out to me recently that while we have a number of formal development programs in place for both our leaders and our emerging leaders we’re missing the chance to actively create connections between women who work in the same physical locations but in different teams or on different projects.
We know the value that’s created when we can bring women together – our partnership with Business Chicks for example has provided a great opportunity for people from different teams or divisions to attend their lunch or breakfast events and not only hear great speakers but get the chance to know and learn from each other, but there’s only so many who can go to events like this each time they come around.
We also wanted to make sure that women who were just starting out in their careers had access to senior managers and executives from teams and divisions other than their own, so they had the chance to hear about and fast track some of the ‘life hacks’ those women have developed over their own career journey.
That’s led to our new Iconic Women program coming to life. Iconic Women is designed to be an informal program that involves female team members getting together and sharing the stories of their careers – how they identified opportunities, how they overcame challenges, and how they have lifted up others and been lifted themselves along the way.
It’s going to be fairly fluid initially, we don’t want to be overly prescriptive around how we get together and how these conversations are structured, as we think it’s important that all of the women participating get to be involved in making those decisions.
Our kick off is going to be on International Women’s Day, where our senior female leaders have invited all of the women based at our Brisbane Corporate Office to join them for an open lunch conversation, instead of heading out to one of the myriad of external events underway on that day. Lunch time gatherings are not always as easy at the sites across the Icon Group, but we’re encouraging teams there to organise similar conversation opportunities which fit in with their workflows, and again our female leaders will be joining them for those conversations whenever they get the chance.
I’m so excited about the learnings that these conversations will generate and the opportunities they will create. I’m sure some of them will be confronting – just like that initial one that suggested to me we could be doing a lot better than we were currently – but that’s how we innovate, improve, and most of all learn from each other.
We’re confident that as a program this will also provide great learning opportunities for our Iconic Men, as they also gain a better understanding as to what the women who make up more than 80% of the Icon Group workforce need and want in their career and personal development.