“We have very talented women, but they lack the ambition to compete for a top management position, especially at a global level,” admits Evita Lune, global partner of “Pedersen & Partner” in an interview. He is one of the supporters of the Novatore Impact Summit. This international forum will be held in Riga on September 22-23 and its main goal is to encourage and motivate women to achieve the highest goals in their careers, thus realizing their full potential.
What are the main stops in your career?
I am a partner of the “Pedersen & Partner” group, that is, I am a co-owner of a group operating in 50 countries. In my daily life, I work in global fintech application powered by ar. fintech customers. Another area of my responsibility is the Baltic level manager of “Pedersen & Partner”. We have very strong teams in the Baltic and I can safely say that we are the best executive search company here. I have come to this position by constantly working with a focus on maximum quality.
It is known that every business can be done in some way, well or cleverly. In my projects, I always looked at how something could be done better. My relentless desire to produce quality work has allowed me to reach my current level.
Of course, the education received was also important, and not just academic – I have not only a PhD in social economics from the University of Latvia, but also a great first job in the international company “Shell”. It was a tremendous experience for me, how to work at a high level, how to build a global business. I would also like to highlight one of my workplaces, the Riga University of Economics, where I worked as the director of company management programs. I was lucky to work there, too, in an academically excellent environment. This experience encouraged me to create my own example of excellence in the company I work for.
Sometimes people are excellent experts in their field, but they cannot become leaders. Maybe you had a personal ambition to be a leader?
I am an entrepreneur and do not suffer from a self-doubt and shyness complex. On the contrary, it always seemed that I know everything and can do my best.
Often, before moving into a managerial position, an employee – more often a woman – asks, “Am I really a good fit for this position?” He begins an internal struggle. What advice would you give to such a person?
I totally agree with you. In addition, in our study, we observed that women mostly look for flaws in themselves and are overly critical. My answer is – you have to train your ambition muscle just as we train our body and mind. This is best done by starting out with applying for different positions above and beyond your current comfort zone.
For example, when choosing a back office position it often seems easier to just call people you know, just avoid confronting someone, avoid any risk. Everything is fine, calm and normal.
However, it is not a position that leads to career success. The good news is that the problem can be fixed.
Personally, I also had a hard time starting a conversation with strangers. I got rid of this complex while working in my clothing store – every day, strangers had to not only say “hello”, but also ask how they could serve and help choose the most suitable one. As a result, I got a great energy from these conversations and my shyness in conversations with strangers completely disappeared.
However, if we keep doing nothing and refuse to go beyond the limits we set ourselves, we are not really aware of our potential and what we are missing in life.
Women also often cling to the order they must choose, such as family or career. Are these things really so incompatible?
We raised four children in our family. Personally, I never took long breaks or vacations, even when the kids were very young.
I do not want to say that there were no difficulties, but everything could be done and planned. Among my friends is a woman who has raised seven children in her family and achieved even more in her career.
I think family gives additional motivation to achieve more, to be an example to your children, to be an equal partner with your husband and to be a generally harmonious person, and it is not a misfortune.
I’ve seen single people who seem to have all the time and resources in the world for the highest achievements. However, it turns out that after a while, a person becomes unmotivated and destructive, burns himself pointlessly, or indulges in harmful habits. I have no time for this because I have various responsibilities. That’s why I would like to say that family and career complement each other. Personally, I can say that if I only had to do housework and couldn’t go out in public, if I couldn’t realize myself intellectually, I would be very unhappy.
Therefore, the myth of choosing between career and family is very old. Today, we are no longer even talking about balancing work and leisure, we are talking about an integrated life that includes all aspects of human happiness. This is the intended purpose.
What advice would you give to a woman who has no problems with career ambitions, has not reached the top management level yet, but has to face discrimination along the way, from derogatory comments to deliberate disregard for her opinion, and who stand out in this way? In a career, can’t a woman “play at the same level in the league after all” as men?
It should be noted that this problem is less pronounced here than, for example, in Central Asia or Latin America. However, if you find yourself in such a situation, I recommend, first of all, to increase your competence above all your male colleagues, and secondly, to express your opinion in any situation possible – be loud and visible, but do it. Don’t try to act like a man.
You should work with your whole personality and appreciate what nature has given a woman. It’s important to be competent, visible and strong with the leadership skills a woman has acquired, but don’t try to box men or fight with their guns.
Rather, you need to find a way to be respected as a leader and opinion leader by staying who you are, knowing and using your strengths.
This summer, the European Parliament passed a directive requiring at least 33% of women to be on company boards and 40% on council. What does this directive mean for women and the labor market in the Baltic countries?
Our global customers, listed companies with more than 250 employees in countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany, have been working on these principles for a long time before they wait for the directive to be adopted. Also, women are not only in the final result, but already in the selection process, for example, at least 4 out of 10 final candidates must be women, otherwise these companies will not accept this selection list at all. But it wasn’t like that until a while ago. Above all, this is a real opportunity for all applicants to be considered as potential job candidates. Secondly, it is also an opportunity for companies to improve their work, as research has proven that results, productivity and sustainability increase in companies with women on their boards of directors.
Thanks to the presence of women, the management team is less aggressive, destructive and competitive. It is common for men to be willing to sacrifice even their jobs just to prove their egos and victories.
The presence of ladies has a balancing and calming effect. We have confirmed this in our company – “Pedersen & Partner” consists of three women in a team of fifteen partners.
Research has concluded that anonymizing candidate surveys has increased the proportion of women in management positions by up to 70%.
The services of our recruitment company are mostly preferred by companies with high management standards. We are faced with the opposite situation, because these companies are from us – give us ladies, but it is often difficult for us to find and attract these ladies.
What could be the reasons for this?
We work for senior executives – CEO positions. Managers of finance, marketing, and personnel management can be found, but few women are among the senior people. We have very talented women, but they lack the ambition to enter top management positions, especially at the global level.
What should a woman who sees the talent and potential to assume this senior managerial position in herself? How does he do this on purpose?
First of all, in the relevant situation, clearly state your desire to take the leading position. Second, evaluate your current workplace from this perspective – maybe he won’t be able to take the CEO position there, maybe this company is too big for now, then it’s worth looking at smaller companies where possible. Gaining CEO experience. Third, evaluate your competencies to understand what is still missing.
The training of the company manager at the Riga University of Economics consisted of 12 courses that formed the basis of what every CEO should know. One should not fall into the second ditch here, as many ladies are very diligent in learning and have a true perfectionist syndrome, ready to accumulate degree after degree without any practical use in their careers.
It is also very convenient – learning by learning, but it is also necessary to work practically so that the knowledge provides added value.
Among the skills that CEOs need to learn today, I would definitely include digital technologies, without them, a person excludes himself not only from management positions, but also almost from the labor market in general. You should definitely follow the latest trends if you need to learn from your children how to use modern technology, but it needs to be done.
It is often said that there are many intelligent, educated and enterprising women in the Baltic countries. Therefore, it is somewhat surprising that there is still a lack of attraction for the positions of senior executives.
In general, the situation in the Baltic is very good for us. All opportunities are available for women, there is no gender discrimination in modern companies, job applications are evaluated according to knowledge, skills and ambitions.
However, I would recommend building your career in a company that is modern, open, and meets sustainability standards. Don’t try to create something successful in an already rotten company.
If there is a well-established, backward old men’s club, do not learn there, go to the company that works according to other modern standards and methods. Also, you can always consider starting your own company, you can set up and run it exactly as you wish. Only here it should be taken into account that the unicorn will most likely not come from a company that will crochet a neighbor’s garden with small socks, or will become the leading envelope bender in its micro-region. While not immediately global, it is important to look at your company’s characteristics at least regionally.
Why is it important that you support the international “Novatore Impact Summit” for women’s economic empowerment, which will be held on 22-23 this year? in September?
I want to inspire other women, reach the best version of myself, and do more in my life and career. Good governance principles are very important to us as a company. Women’s participation and empowerment is a great example of good governance. I am pleased that Latvia and our entire region is moving in the right direction in general. I see this event as a factor that contributes to our being a progressive and democratic society. Personally, I’ve never encountered the attitude of someone thinking that I can’t do anything at work because I’m a woman, or that nothing will happen to me because I’m Latvian.
We often underestimate our freedom. If anyone has any doubts about it, for example go to Afghanistan and try to live there. It is foolish to miss the opportunities we have!
In addition, our country, which gives us the opportunity to receive education and raise children, has a duty. Moreover, Latvia is a small country and not the richest country where women can afford to live on the backs of men. Let’s build their wealth together, let’s not be lazy and consumerist! If we want our country to be prosperous, then we must work not just like gray rats in a corner, but proud of ourselves and our achievements.
Source: Tv Net