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Inspiring Young Women into Business with the Stories of a Generation X and a Generation Z woman

“We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back”, the words of Malala Yousafzai on fighting for women’s equality around the globe. These words should resonate with all of us when we consider every aspect of our society. When we look at the world of business, we see a world being held back… so we decided to do something about it. Catherine Park and Helen Bailey decided to come together to create a podcast called “You Belong On The Board”. Designed to encourage co-operation between generations of business women as well as encouraging more women to enter into business ventures. Starring experts from all aspects of business life, such as Lou Williams and Petros Chamakiotis.

We found the decision to host a podcast on these issues an easy one, a quick glance at the statistics concerning male and female employment in top level business positions is enough to shock most people. Of the top 100 CEOs in the UK more are men named Stephen than are women, and there are an equal number of women to men named David.[1] Not only does this highlight a rather dull naming trend amongst men, the implications for women entering into business are clear. This is not to say that women aren’t entering into business or aren’t engaged with studying it, in fact the gender split in business degrees is almost exactly equal.[2] Women are enthusiastic, they are entering the field, they are part of business life but hardly any are reaching the top jobs. There is only one solution, those women who have led successful business careers must help those who are just starting their own careers to succeed. This is not a one-way street, however, the new generation of business women must share their knowledge with their new, more experienced colleagues. An understanding of technology and of the new world is vital to be successful in todays society and Generation X must be ready to listen as well as teach if women are to compete with the Stephens of tomorrow.

But what qualifies us to even begin to tackle this issue? Well we believe that if generations are to work together there must be a conscious effort from both sides. Hence why our podcast is co-hosted by Catherine and Helen. Catherine is a business student at the University of Sussex, founder of GLOW (Growing Leaders with Opportunities and Willpower) and is currently on a placement year at SAP. More importantly for this podcast, she is part of generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2010. This is the new generation of business women who must be ready to learn from those who were successful in Generation X, Helen Bailey is one such person. Having started multiple ventures herself and currently running Aviatrix market research consultancy, Helen is doubtlessly a woman to emulate. By her own admission, however, she has much to learn from Generation Z, she feels her fear of new technology has on occasion held her back and she needs to learn how to embrace the new world.

But we couldn’t do it alone, this podcast features two business experts bringing their knowledge and experience to the discussion. Lou Williams, a long term entrepreneur and an advocate of women’s entrepreneurial potential, will feature in episode three “starting a business”. She’ll be talking about her journey through the business world and how she became so successful. In episode four we’ll be joined by Petros Chamakiotis, a university lecturer for ESCP Europe, he’ll be talking about new developments in the business world and how students are preparing themselves for these new challenges.

But why a podcast? Well other than being a simple way of reaching as many people as possible, we found it was the best way to connect with all generations. But we were not so naive to think that one podcast is going to be enough to reshape the structure of society. But we believe we can start a movement; it wouldn’t take much. All that we need to foster is a culture of co-operation between business women at every level. A culture that would encourage older and younger generations to learn from each other, a culture of knowledge exchange and adaptation. Generation X and Z must be ready to adapt to the future, co-operation across generations is the only way to bring about change for the future.

If you are interested in joining us on this journey you can find the details for our podcast and our upcoming event on our Facebook page or Instagram @GLOWleaders. The first episode will be releasing on Thursday 14th of November on YouTube, Spotify and iTunes. Episodes will then be releasing every Thursday after that! We will also be hosting an event on 12th of December where all of our guest speakers, our two lovely hosts and an assortment of other business professionals will be there to talk to a live audience. Tickets are live on the GLOW pages and we hope to see many of you there!

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