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Discussing The Power of Mentorship with Morison Global
22 March 2023
This year, a handful of Fortus colleagues and I had the amazing opportunity to once again attend Morison Global’s International Women’s Day event!
Being part of the Morison Global community’s something we’re incredibly proud of. As of 2023, they’re now the 9th largest global association of leading professional service firms, providing cross-border accounting, auditing, tax and consulting needs of business owners.
Our collaborative effort with Morison Global, alongside our International service line offering, means that we get to work alongside them on exciting projects – this also includes their International Women’s Day events we’ve participated in for three years in a row.
As the event began, we were welcomed and introduced by the Morison Global team as well as this year’s panellists before getting ready to take this year’s “Embrace Equity” pose for the group photo. The panellist discussions then began on ‘The Power of Mentorship’!
Hosted by various speakers – ranging from Heads of HR; Partners; as well as Audit, HR, and Senior Managers – current and future leaders in varying stages of their careers shared their experiences and challenges to date within their fields.
Starting off, ‘The Power of Mentorship’ event re-emphasised the necessary steps for businesses to further support future female leaders. Training, coaching, and of course the importance of mentorship in allowing more women into successful business spaces was the main introduction to today’s discussion.
The panellists were given a warm-up question, starting with what they found their main concerns were regarding women within the Accountancy & Consultancy industry. The main theme that cropped up, unsurprisingly, was the industry’s heavy male dominance despite many firms on the panel having a 40-60% female workforce – with very few women making it to Partner level. Discussions were had around the barriers preventing the progression up the corporate ladder, including work-life balance, maternity leave, and potential workplace harassment within the industry.
Leading off the back of this, our group of speakers were then asked about changes within the industry from when they’d first joined compared to present day. Despite more women coming into this field of work, the difficulty in retaining people within businesses had been tough. However, business changes made during the Covid pandemic meant that a lot more firms created better flexibility – greatly helping and impacting female professionals. Where businesses have succeeded, they’ve kept (and some have even enhanced) their flexibility offerings in an attempt to not lose good talent. Therefore, it’s up to businesses to put in the work to do what’s necessary to keep good talent and ensure they’re given the necessary tools and resources to develop.
Discussions then led with the following question: “What can be done by current leaders in supporting future leaders?” Advice was shared across the group regarding needs and wants to be made clear to management, as well as raising better awareness around available training for young women coming into the industry. Current panellists at their firms had already implemented, or were in the process of implementing, new coaching programmes for their inspiring leaders. Not only to help them get to where they want to, but to also show how valued they are by the business in an attempt to give back.
So, what had helped you get to the position you’re in now?
- Having a good support system, as each mentor’s able to provide a slightly different perspective.
- Being valued by your workplace.
- Setting boundaries e.g. less travel, learning to say ‘no’, being clear about certain goals and demands.
- Developing strong relationships with the Partners at your business.
- Achieving a good work-life balance to ensure burn-out’s minimised.
But in order for women to reach senior roles in the first place, the difficulties in which women face climbing up the corporate ladder had to be addressed. A lack of role models within your network makes you less likely to be aspirational. And from personal experience, panellists have previously had troubles regarding womens’ confidence in coming forward for extra support, despite having the drive and tenacity to seek more senior positions, and has meant they’ve in fact been approached to be mentored instead.
The same issues regarding family life and work-life balance was reintroduced again, as many businesses still haven’t been receptive or flexible enough to accommodate. But also current working environments are of great importance, so again women have to be pushed towards training and mentorship programmes if they don’t feel encouraged or made to feel comfortable in the workplace.
One of the main takeaways from the session is despite varying circumstances across the world in elevating women into senior roles, diversity within businesses is of great importance for others to have role models, not only look up to but also feel inspired by.
To summarise, what were the key pieces of advice to take away from this event?
- Be the change you want to see.
- Network and create shared spaces – if you have these available in your workplace already, great. If not, go out and create your own! Don’t be afraid to approach people and ask for guidance.
- Continue to provide flexibility and accommodation for each person to truly embrace equity.
- When you work together, we ALL achieve great things.