International Women’s Day. More than just the clinking of glasses…

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8. It is a global day recognising the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Following a decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women’s Day has been observed for well over a century.

For team CLA, International Women’s Day is a particularly important day on the calendar. As a business that is led by an inspiring female CEO and driven by a capable team (many of whom are women!), it is a day of reflection, celebration and encouragement.

This year, however, we’ll be sitting taller at the luncheon we’ll be attending in celebration of International Women’s Day. Yes, there will still be the lovely clinking of glasses and the hum of warm conversation. And although it will look and sound the same as other events, for us it will feel very different.

This is because over the last 12 months, we have partnered with some of Australia’s best and brightest, to enable women to shine. In the best way we know how. We are experts in leadership, so this is where we’ve focused our efforts.


The Business Chicks connection

Through a warm introduction, CLA were invited into the welcoming network that is Business Chicks some 12 months ago. From the moment we met founder Emma Isaacs, Australian CEO Olivia Ruello and the team, we knew we’d met our match. Our professional kindred spirits, you might even say.

To put it simply, Business Chicks exists to help women live bigger lives. As Australia’s largest and most influential network for women, their aim is to create connections that count and do that through their online platform, engaging content, exciting events and meaningful experiences. We’ve been fortunate to attend several Business Chicks events, both locally and abroad. Whether we’ve attended as guests, as presenters or as hosts to our own clients, the feeling is the same. It’s the “come as you are”, “be yourself”, “you are enough” undercurrent that permeates through all that Business Chicks does; and seems to be an unspoken agreement between all who are involved. It’s the power of the network at its finest – and continues long after the event has concluded and farewells are spoken. This is the magic that is Business Chicks, and one that we were desperate to get closer to.


What CLA brings to the table

CLA partners with individuals and businesses to help them succeed through leadership. We are a consulting team of organisational psychologists, scientist-practitioners, leadership specialists and thought leaders, who provide deep leadership insight and develop valuable leaderships skills for both men and women, for application in the real world. When we first got talking with Business Chicks, we all soon recognised that there was a great amount that we could do together, to give more women in Australia access to great leadership development.


The research

We started by asking the women of Australia what was important to them? Launching our first-ever study into Women in Leadership in early 2018, our goal was to hear from women directly on the challenges, opportunities and skills they believe are most critical to their success in business and in their careers. In just 48 hours, 2,752 women right across Australia and beyond, shared their experiences.

We also interviewed senior business women across some of Australia’s largest corporates and most successful startups. The overwhelming response to the online survey and interview-based research we conducted is testament to the passion that women have for this topic, and the demand for greater attention being given to it.

The 4,600+ written comments, submitted by those surveyed, speak volumes regarding both the ongoing challenges, and the immense opportunities, that present women in business today. To read the full whitepaper, click here.


The women of Australia spoke. We listened.

The overwhelming message we heard is that there is a huge need for developing practical leadership skills through formal programs, as well as by learning from other women. The leadership skills that women said they most want to develop include things like: how do I influence others (whether those I am leading, my peers, stakeholders, manager, etc); how do I build and leverage a network that can help me to achieve my goals and get things done; how can I think ahead and really have a point of view on the direction of the business; and how can I build an adaptive mindset – for myself and in others – so I can lead through change and uncertainty effectively.

The insights we gained through our research have led us to creating two powerful leadership programs. LEAD Emerging is designed to support aspirational and emerging female leaders.

And LEAD Executive is targeted at mid to senior female leaders, who want to be further stretched.

Both of these programs can be run in-house for groups of 20 participants or more. However in order to give more women access to this cutting-edge leadership development program, we have also scheduled a series of open programs in Melbourne and Sydney. To learn more about these powerful programs that will equip women with the skills, tools and community they need to lead with impact, click here.


What sets these programs apart?

  • We draw on psychology-based principles in our design. As a team of leadership experts who are also psychologists, the skills and insights that our participants gain are grounded in the latest science and research.
  • We strongly believe in individual development; what we call “development for one”. This means that we never assume that one person’s goals and needs are the same as the next person’s. As a result, we include individual psychometric assessments along with 1:1 coaching with a CLA organisational psychologist for every participant, so that they can really focus on their own learning and development goals.
  • We’re not assuming what we think women ‘need’. To the contrary, we have designed this program in response to the research we undertook and by targeting the skills that women themselves have told us they want to develop.


Where to from here?

On International Women’s Day 2019, it’s exciting to think that our impact on women in leadership is just beginning. If we forecast 12 months down the track, we may well be sitting at our next International Women’s Day event, knowing that we have supported hundreds of Australian women in leadership to be the best that they can be. To be themselves. To know that they are enough. To have a strong, supportive network of women to lean on. And to have the leadership capability to support, inspire and develop those around them. We’re confident that next year, it will again be the same clinking of glasses, the same hum of warm conversation, yet we’ll be sitting even taller. Knowing that we are actively making a difference is what really counts.

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