“Visibility is actually key because it’s very important for you to realise that; you can be very successful managing your career, you can be very successful managing your family…but if people don’t know your success stories, they won’t know who you really are. How can they actually select you, think of you or suggest you for a job?” – Marguerite Soeteman-Reijnen
To get ahead in your career, you need to be seen. Visibility in the workplace is one of the key things that enables employees to demonstrate their skills, get prominent assignments, and build strategic relationships. However, when women raise their voices to share a strong opinion, they are often called bossy by both men and women. So, where do we draw the line?
Our conversation with Marguerite Soeteman-Reijnen, Chairman Executive Board of Aon Holdings, Global CMO of Aon Inpoint and Chair of Topvrouwen, is part of the Leadership Conversation series and is now on Spotify and Apple podcast.
Marguerite is an influential and visible role model to women who uses her voice and influence to drive diversity and close the gender gap in corporate boards. She’s the chair of SER Topvrouwen, an initiative based in The Netherlands that gives visibility to board-ready women in the country.
The role of visibility in her personal leadership growth?
To Marguerite, visibility is not just about showing who a person is, it also involves highlighting who that person is as a career/business person in a way that highlights their thought process(es) and leadership style(s) in the industry or ecosystem where they work in. “If you work for Shell, you should be visible in the oil & gas industry”, she highlighted.
Steps that one can take to be visible?
Marguerite highlighted the importance of self-promotion while acknowledging the difficulty which women experience when faced with an opportunity to talk about themselves or promote their successes. “You should be able to explain in one minute who you are and what you are about”, she encouraged.
Dealing with backlash in the course of being visible in her career journey?
Although she admitted that she experienced some backlash in the course of promoting herself through her career journey and would wish that no one experiences such backlash, she added that “failure builds character” so women should not let the possibility of backlash scare them from being as visible as possible.
Personal opinion on situations where prominent people (men) are the source of the backlash against women visibility?
Marguerite admits that she is grateful when prominent people make tasteless remarks (backlash) against women because it highlights the situations and people who have wrong opinions against women and makes women aware of them, and in extreme cases, lead to the person being replaced with a woman. “A very bad thing was turned into a very good thing to show female leadership”, she remarked.
Want to learn more about the topic, understand how to use visibility as a tool for career advancement, and the roles that diversity and gender gap play in the placement of women on corporate boards? Listen to this episode on your favourite podcast platform, and be sure to subscribe, so you don’t miss anything!
The post EP11: Rising Through Visibility with Marguerite Soeteman-Reijnen and appeared first in Rise and Lead Women Forum.
Rise to Leadership Podcast, which was launched on March 8, is a bi-monthly show (weekly in March) that explores topics that matter while sharing stories of inspiring leaders who are creating positive changes.