Women in Leadership: Claim Your Space

November 15, 2021 0 Comments

    According to a recent study published by McKinsey, despite women making up 56% of entry-level positions, only 30% of the vice-presidents and 18% of the C-suite are female. What holds women back? Even though gender equality has improved significantly over the years, females still face an unconscious bias in the workplace. In a recent interview with Kristen Hoskinson, Vice-President and leader of the Master Builders Risk Business at AXA XL, we gain insights on how women can claim their space both personally and professionally, helping them excel in their careers. By following these three life-learned lessons, Kristen was able to claim her space at the table and obtain the respected position she is in today:

1.      Be intelligent, not just smart. Be beautiful, not just pretty. Be bold, not just strong.  Be compassionate, not just kind.

2.      Teach somebody something. Learn something. And make someone’s day brighter.

3.      Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Be intelligent, not just smart. Be beautiful, not just pretty. Be bold, not just strong. Be compassionate, not just kind.

              What is the difference between intelligent and smart? According to Kristen, there is a big difference between the two as “being intelligent is so much more comprehensive than just being book smart or knowing a fact – it’s knowing your situation.” When a person is intelligent, he or she knows their audience in any given situation. An intelligent person thinks with their IQ as well as their EQ (emotional quotient). Understanding the emotional factor of both you and your peers will help you personally and professionally because it will allow you to empathize, leading to stronger relationships with yourself and others.

              Another tip that will help you establish strong working relationships is to be beautiful, not just pretty. What does this mean? Being pretty is external; it is what people see on the outside. However, being beautiful is both external and internal. It is being compassionate, loving, and genuine; qualities that will benefit you as an individual.

              Kristen also suggests that a person should be bold, not just strong. She states that “being bold means that you have to admit your strengths and your weaknesses and sometimes there is a lot of power in that.” Having the courage to admit your weaknesses can be seen as a strength and important for your professional career. Being bold serves as a catalyst to helping you stand out, which will help you claim your space at the table.

              Another strong characteristic seen in many female leaders is the ability to be compassionate and not just kind. This means that you genuinely take the time to understand where someone is coming from and try to give them honest advice – not just a pat on the back. Not only will this help your peers grow, but this will also help you grow as both an individual and a leader.

              Kristen’s advice for females is to remember to be intelligent, beautiful, bold, and compassionate. These qualities help you stand out and establish strong relationships that will also benefit your leadership skills This is what ultimately helps guide you to your seat at the table.

Teach somebody something. Learn something. And make someone’s day brighter.

              When Kristen was growing up, her grandfather ingrained a critical life lesson into her head. He taught her that a person had a successful day if he or she taught somebody something, learned something, and made someone’s day brighter by being in it. You are bound to become a brighter individual if you apply this lesson to your daily life. These are three things that a successful leader would want to get out of his or her day. By teaching somebody something, learning something, and making a person’s day brighter daily, you will prosper in your personal and professional career.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

              While you are finding your space at the table of life, do not forget that happiness is a journey and not a destination. You are not going to wake up every day and feel 100%. However, Kristen states that “some days, if 1% is all you’ve got and all you can get, you’re going to scrap to get every little bit of that 1%.” If you keep your career moving forward and continue to create personal and professional relationships, you will see your space at the table starting to expand. Every day is a new day, so keep moving forward.

              Over the years, we have seen more and more females reach higher and higher positions in the workplace. However, reaching these high positions is no easy challenge. But, as Kristen says, “with challenge, comes change.” If you are a female who is looking to advance in your career, do not forget to speak up and claim your space. By applying these life lessons to your daily life, you will have an easier time claiming that space and becoming the leader you aspire to be. If you are interested in learning more about women in leadership, listen to our podcast, Women in Leadership: Claim Your Space, with Kristen Hoskinson. 


Connect with Kristen on LinkedIn
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Email Kristen at kristen.hoskinson@axaxl.com
Connect with Valerie Bono
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