Hello! My Name is Allanna, In my 15-year journey from HR Advisor to HR Director in a predominantly male-dominated industry, I’ve encountered challenges and had great successes that have shaped my perspective on leadership, confidence, and gender dynamics. Navigating the boardroom as a woman has been a rewarding, enlightening and fun experience, and I’m excited to share my insights on how to exude confidence while being successful.
As an HR Director, knowledge is your superpower. Your knowledge, skills, and experience are what make you valuable to any boardroom discussion. Whether it’s discussing talent acquisition, employee engagement, or culture, own it and let it shine but don’t forget how valuable your opinions on other business issues are. Being a true partner to a business means having broad views across all business functions. Confidence comes from knowing that your insights are grounded in years of experience and a deep understanding of the industry.
Confidence grows from ‘knowing your stuff’ Before board meetings, ensure you’re well-versed in the agenda. Thoroughly research industry trends, challenges, and potential solutions. When you’re armed with knowledge, you’re better equipped to contribute meaningfully to discussions and offer your insights. Your preparation will not only boost your confidence but also earn respect from your colleagues.
it’s important to find your voice, assert yourself in discussions and know where you can add value to the discussion. Adding value to the discussion and not feeling pressured to saying something just because, it is important to building confidence. Don’t hesitate to share your perspectives and ideas. Your insights are valuable, and your contributions can drive positive change. Remember that your voice matters, and your confidence in expressing it can inspire others to do the same.
Surround yourself with allies who champion your abilities. Connect with colleagues who appreciate your contributions and encourage your growth. A strong network can provide the emotional support and validation needed to boost your confidence during challenging times. It can also widen your business perspective outside of your own specialism.
Challenges are inevitable, but they’re also opportunities for growth. Don’t shy away from difficult situations; instead, view them as chances to showcase your ability and resilience. Each challenge you overcome will further reinforce your confidence in your abilities. See a challenge as a growth opportunity. Face into them with confidence and surround yourself with your network. You’re never alone.
Confidence is not only about what you say but also how you ‘show up’. Cultivate presence by mastering techniques such as nonverbal cues, maintaining eye contact, and using confident body language. When you walk into the boardroom with a confident presence, you’ll naturally inspire confidence in those around you.
Take pride in your accomplishments and celebrate your successes along the way. Recognising your achievements, no matter how small, can fuel your self-assurance and remind you of your capabilities. Acknowledge your progress and use it as a foundation for continued growth. Remember failures are just as important as successes for growth. Remember to take time out to reflect on the failures and learn from them. Coming back from a failure builds self-confidence and reminds others around you that failures are part of business and life.
Being a female HR Director in a male-dominated industry has its challenges, but it’s fun! it’s also an opportunity to pave the way for future generations of women leaders. Confidence in the boardroom stems from a combination of expertise, preparation, assertiveness, and a supportive network. As you continue to break down barriers, remember that your presence is a powerful statement in itself. With each confident step you take, you’re not just representing yourself, but inspiring others to rise and thrive.
My parents have been my greatest inspiration on my journey to becoming a who and what I am today. My mother, a dedicated stay-at-home mum laid the essential foundations for our family, creating a stable and nurturing environment where my siblings and I could learn and grow. Meanwhile, my father, pursued his education later in life to eventually become a CEO and being my inspiration, demonstrating that challenges are there to be overcome and should never be a barrier to achieving one’s goals. Their distinct paths instilled in me the values of resilience, gratitude, and empathy, which have become the cornerstones of my leadership style.
If I could speak to my 16-year-old self, here’s what I would say: Don’t stress too much about your career path at 16. It’s okay not to have it all figured out. Explore your interests and passions; they will guide you.
Focus on building soft skills like communication, teamwork, and adaptability. These skills are invaluable. Education matters, but it’s not the only path to success. Be open to learning from various sources, including real-world experiences. Stay curious and adaptable. The world of work is constantly changing; being flexible and eager to learn will serve you
Trust yourself more. You have the potential to achieve great things, even if you doubt it sometimes. Enjoy the journey. Life is about more than just your career. Cherish your personal experiences, too. Remember, your 16-year-old self is still growing and learning, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Embrace the opportunities that come your way, and don’t be afraid to take risks.
Three words that encapsulate the essence of feminism for me are: