Internationational Women’s Day: Q&A with Fiona Ward

Author Pearce Doorley
March 11, 2019

Carter Murray is proud to be supporting International Women’s Day 2019. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Whilst we all know that gender parity within the workplace has improved over the past decades, we all also know that there is still a long way to go.

We would like to join the discussion and be part of International Women’s Day 2019 #BalanceforBetter campaign on the 8th March by interviewing inspiring women we work with and, in particular, understanding the role confidence has played in their career.

Carter Murray interviewed Fiona Ward, Head of Learning, Janison.

How do you define confidence, particularly in the workplace?

To be empowered to have an opinion and the ability to influence. Have enough trust and space (from managers and leadership) to do your job to the best of your ability = job satisfaction.

How do you think the confidence gap affects women?

I think many women tend to ask first and men just do. This is a lot about the physical presence of men: projection of voice and confidence which can be intimidating and incorrectly perceived as competence.

Do you think women’s workplace confidence has improved over the past few decades? Please explain why.

Absolutely depends on the workplace. Some workplace cultures have many women, but women competing against women in a male dominated culture is worse.

Otherwise, I believe women especially gen x and y are better at holding ground.

How important have confidence and self-belief been in achieving your career goals?

Self-belief is important. Self-awareness even more so.  People need to be open to learn, which includes making mistakes.  Confidence is not arrogance.

Success in your career may equal money, validation from clients or management, or the ability to make long term sustainable change.

In the long run, being connected, living by your values brings confidence and self-belief and will deliver you success.

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome (where you doubt your achievements and have an internalised fear of being exposed as a “fraud”)? If so, how did you overcome it?

Of course! When you are in a role wearing so many hats, you do start to wonder what you are good at.  How to overcome it?  Structure your day and focus on the most important things for you and your business. Get out of your head.

How important is mentoring, coaching and sponsorship in helping women to grow their confidence at work?

Very important, but it doesn’t need to be by a woman. Important for everyone.

How can confidence-building be built into career development strategies?

Its actually critical in today’s business world. People will push in, push you out of the way, lie and cheat to get ahead. Have the confidence to play a different game – maybe on a different field.