Burofocus Consulting Bureau

International Women’s Day 2022

Zoom Panel: About Female Leadership
Topic: Image and auto esteem

Date: 8 March 2022
Presenter: Dr. Nilda Arduin

In the midst of the many issues and challenges facing our world, commemorating and celebrating women’s accomplishments today is even more important in order not to be distracted and lose sight of the plight. So, I salute Reyna and the many concerned persons all over the globe, for keeping the torch burning, to empower women over the years.

Though much has been achieved to break the bias since the Women’s lib movement and feminism of my youth, there is much work yet ahead of us to raise the image of women in leadership and awareness for gender equality. Having moved from leadership within the household to the highest echelons in the corporate world, public power and authority, it is important to take stock as we forge forward.

What are the lessons learned to be shared with younger generations?

We should acknowledge that it is no longer a man’s world with an itsy bitsy touch of a woman in the Western hemisphere. Women have made strides and have taken over some sectors of the working society. The Caribbean has seen many female leaders of Government over the years.

Looking back at a career of forty-five years of formal engagement as a teacher, attorney and legal consultant, and the first Ombudsman of my country, I took stock of some main challenges encountered, and most importantly, how I dealt with and overcame them.

  • As a teacher, my first profession at the age of twenty, it was important to define myself and firmly establish my own identity in order to lead and groom my students to discover and embrace their own authenticity.
  • The main challenge as an attorney has been that most of the time I was the only woman in the room at top level deliberations and supervisory boards. This however provided me ample opportunity to stand out and leave a lasting impression by bringing above average proposals and out-of-the-box solutions to the table.
  • Striving for excellence and exceeding my goals became the norm. Being curious and expanding my horizon on all topics and matters I had to deal with, became the absolute standard in my career.
  • Building a support network as Ombudsman, a one-headed High Council of State, forced me to seek out both men and women internationally willing to exchange thoughts and ideas.
  • Overcoming challenging physical, mental and emotional experiences with an attitude of decisiveness provided an edge on the way. It does not matter how others perceive your stature, potentials or interpret your actions, confidence acquired through knowledge, research and hard work speaks for itself and supersedes any unqualified discussion about you or your achievements.

Be prudent not to misinterpret or define gender equality with perceived male standards. Female leaders are characterized by often prioritizing personal development, bringing different skills to the table, details, creativity, imagination, a new sense of awareness and perspectives for problem solving and leadership. Their nurturing instinct may play a role in supporting the development of others in order to make a real and lasting difference where they are.

I have learned that it is pivotal to be aware of your limitations and own (un)conscious bias, develop self-confidence to seize opportunities and take risks, stay inspired by being passionate and curious, be comfortable and stay true to your values and norms. Be a voice at the table and not an afterthought, inspire and empower other women, while you are at the top.

And lastly, I have learned that humility directs your ego away from yourself to a larger good. It opens up possibilities, develops an open mind and curiosity, rather than protecting only your own point of view.

And so, I conclude and hope to inspire the next generations: to belief in yourself, be willing to learn and nurture others, focus on achieving the set goals (both personal and collective goals), lead with decisiveness, be passionate and open-minded, question the status quo, be not afraid to admit when you do not know and ask for help.

Leadership is established by actual accomplishments, and willingness of others to follow. Be a change agent; lead by taking charge and ownership of your career!

I look forward to further the conversation with you.