Kelly Guzman’s Takeaways from Women Leaders in Healthcare Conference

I found renewed energy after attending the Women Leaders in Healthcare Conference. What a terrific experience to connect with old friends and meet new colleagues. The speakers were dynamic and passionate about sponsoring and supporting diversity and equity in the workplace. It was refreshing to hear the various stories of accomplishment and from some of the pioneers who are blazing the trails for women and other minorities. Some of the highlights that I’ll be working on include:

Sponsors

As women leaders, it’s important to not only have a mentor but also a sponsor! A mentor is someone who helps you understand an organization, provides advice and guides you through your career. They can provide input and explain the unwritten rules and culture and use their experience to help guide you and support your development.

A sponsor, on the other hand, is someone who is in a position of authority or influential role in your existing organization. This person advocates on your behalf to provide challenging opportunities, high-profile projects and creates other organizational avenues to promote you.

Gender neutral/unbiased language

Most of us do not even realize that we use gender-biased language. When describing events or activities we tend to use stronger verbs and language when describing men versus women. Some examples that we use every day: “All men are created equal,” and “Best man for the job.” As a leader and influencer, it’s important to self-reflect and to determine where you are on the continuum. Referencing the above examples, the gender-neutral language would be: “We are all created equal,” and “Best person for the job.” When hiring or promoting new people it’s important to understand your biases and remove any barriers. Be clear regarding what is required to get promoted. Use specific deliverables and examples.

Some examples shared were:

  • Having a blind resume review. Removing any information that would reference the person’s ethnicity, age or gender.
  • Having a neutral party observe the meeting to point out the use of biased gender-biased language. When it’s observed, point it out and provide suggestions for alternate words or phrases. Being self-aware is the key to improving.

Lifelong learning

The importance of always learning, looking forward to the future and integrating old customs, information, and methods into the new way of life. Honoring the past and blazing the trail for the new leaders is critical for our growth and our future. Being open to learning new ways from “fresh faces” and not just the experienced group not only promotes innovation but also creates a culture of inclusion that stems from creativity.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Gandhi

I look forward to attending the conference next year and will be implementing these strategies in our company and my daily work.

 

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