This year, Proxima launched the Gender Equality Network and hosted our first event in celebration of International Women’s Day. Leading the session was Cally Beaton, a media entrepreneur, writer and comedian whose career has, among other things, seen her being the youngest and only female member of the ITV board and most recently doing a 10 year stint as Senior Vice President at Viacom International – responsible for brands such as MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures.

Cally discussed important topics including what it means to not belong, how to be a better ally, and ways to work towards diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace.

Addressing the feeling of not belonging

In 2020, women held just 20% of executive positions in corporate board rooms, 16% involvements of top grossing movies, and they were paid 23% less globally. Pre-COVID-19, the World Economic Forum predicted that at current rates of progress it will take 257 years to close the economic gender gap. 

A sense of not belonging in the workplace can be a very painful experience and have a significant impact on our psychological well-being as well as our performance. The workplace shapes so much of our daily lives. We have inherited a system that we feel is just the norm. How do you have conversations with those that think differently? Listen generously to those that are not in your common circle. Do not shy away from conversations because they are different and uncomfortable. Start from a position of humility and making yourself available to listen and listen generously.

“Imposter” syndrome in the workplace

There is a constant fear amongst individuals of being “found out” or “feeling like a fraud.”  It is important to acknowledge that this is a common syndrome and it affects both men and women. This is especially true in the workplace with some work cultures negatively affecting professional self-esteem.

Many individuals have an incapacity to internalize their own success. No one knows 100% what they’re doing 100% of the time. 95% of us have some form of impostor syndrome. Instead of turning down the dial of who you are, turn it up. Be a positive disruptor and become an upstander (instead of a bystander).  Businesses must recognize that commercial excellence comes from human connection and that our differences do not equal less success, they always create more.

The first step towards change doesn’t have to be a big one

Change can be either radical reinvention or something smaller. Maybe we have a chance to move towards our opportunity towards bigger change. The only way of making a big change is enacting something small first. Establishing a “butterfly effect” mentality helps provide  a new lens through which to view business, markets, and more. 

Proxima launched GEN to offer a networking group that enables building relationships outside of a typically immediate circle of colleagues and acts as a mechanism that actively supports and promotes training and progression for all genders to facilitate career development.

GEN will dedicate its efforts to a new theme each quarter, this will include a Spotlight Session where one of our own employees will share their insights and experience.

Twitter: @callybeaton
Instagram: @callybeatoncomedian
LinkedIn: Cally Caroline Beaton

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