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  • Writer's pictureMarion Burchell

Have you faced any unique opportunities or advantages as a female leader in the business world?

No, I can’t identify unique opportunities or advantages that have been afforded due to gender. I can identify examples of where it has been incorrectly assumed opportunities have been given to me based on my gender. This demonstrates the complexity of achieving diversity in the workplace, as some people will assume females are given promotional opportunities based on gender as opposed to their skill and experience. It can backfire and cause illegitimacy of talent or tokenism, which is disrespectful to women and decision makers.

There has been few occasions where people have stated I was successful because “they were looking for a female”, or “she is the favourite” or “she must be sleeping with someone to get that opportunity”, from both men and women. This attitude is unhelpful as it seeks to reduce the achievements of people and is more reflective of the attitude, issues and values of the people saying it.

It seeks to return the achiever to the status quo, which if successful, means no-one wins except mediocrity.

Yes, I have been blessed with unique opportunities, but they have been brought about due to reputation and brand, building a connected network, and making things happen. The reality is, if you deliver outcomes and create products or services that are of high quality and meet a need, then people will gift you those opportunities.

It is not about ego or promotion or more money, it is a focus on your purpose and why, and delivering value for people that can make things happen. When you successfully solve problems, deliver results, and stay ahead of what people need, you get given more responsibility, more opportunity, and more advantages. That is the sign of success.

About Marion

Marion is a highly experienced and accomplished strategy, innovation and leadership professional with a focus on the enterprise and government sectors. She is a trusted advisor to CEOs and senior executives, providing practical and pragmatic solutions to the challenges they face. Marion is the Managing Director at Azolla Holdings Pty Ltd, a Board member, thought leader and member of an international entrepreneur association.


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