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2 posts from March 2013

27 March 2013

Crafting your career – ten great pieces of advice from mothers all over the world

Since our last blog post a couple of pivotal things have happened to celebrate women.  Of course, there was International Women’s Day (IWD), but also here in Ireland Mothers Day fell on 10 March this year.   As shared in our 8 March blog, our firms around the network celebrated IWD in many different ways, while globally we focused our efforts on our own unique theme for the day – Gender, generation and leadership: supporting the millennial woman craft her career. 

Thousands of people have already visited the various resources we created to support this theme and foster a broader conversation on gender diversity.  There is something for everyone -- whether you’re a millennial woman, a talent leader, a mentor, a parent, or a CEO, so if you haven’t already – why not check it out

In addition we marked IWD by giving all of our talent the opportunity to take part in a PwC network-wide discussion by posing the question – Crafting your career, what’s the best piece of advice you ever received from a woman?

This proved to be a great exercise, one that certainly exceeded my expectations.  I expected great discussion that would help us to better understand the contribution that all of the women in our peoples’ lives have made to both their own success and the success of PwC.  But what I hadn’t really appreciated was that in essence this exercise would create what I can only refer to as ‘repository of development advice’ that our talent can take something from, be it IWD, or any other day of the year.

The fact that I celebrated Mothers Day with my mum the Sunday after IWD did not influence how I viewed all the advice shared.  Mothers Day or not, a clear theme emerged - nearly half of the great advice our male and female talent received came from women in their family (see poll results below), but in particular from mothers all over the world.


I couldn’t help but feel compelled to let all those mothers out there know how influential they have been to careers, but also, to share some of this great advice further. 

 So I am very happy to share with you today, ten of the great pieces of advice shared as part of our internal discussion to mark IWD.

Advice from mothers in Australia:

Australian PM
Pictured: Manuela Schmid, PwC Australia and Julia Gillard, Prime Minister, Australia
  • “Most people say no, and then think about it.  We need to say yes, and then think about it. 
    Have no regrets…..
  • One day many years ago I was thinking about giving up on something that I thought was impossible to accomplish – my mother simply asked me “Why can’t it be you?” Those wise words have stuck with me forever, and I often ask myself the question in my personal and professional life.  Be that when I’ve been pursuing that promotion or buying my first home.  I met the Prime Minister of Australia this morning, and while I was sitting there deciding if we should go up and ask for a photo, guess what I said to myself – “Why can’t it be me to have a photo with the PM?”

Advice from a mother in Austria

  • Sometimes it can be easy to feel nervous or intimated when meeting senior leaders in business.  My mom always told me to remember that “everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time”.  I always remember this and it helps me have confidence no matter who I am dealing with.

Advice from a mother in China

  • When I think about some of the most valuable advice I have received throughout my career, I have to pay homage to my mother who always told me “you have the right to voice your opinion, and you have the responsibility to respect the opinion of others”. 

Advice from a mother in Hong Kong

  • Growing up as a child my mother always told me that “we can change our future simply by changing our attitude”.  This advice has stood me in good stead over the years.  In all careers we face challenges or problems at different times.  Instead of letting problems get me down, I see each problem as a hurdle with hidden opportunities. In my career this has led me to embrace change and become a stronger person. 

Advice from a mother in India

  • “Enjoy your journey, don’t worry about your destination”

Advice from mothers in the Middle East

  • The best career advice I ever received was from my mother who said “Move on, don’t let a set-back dishearten you.  Learn from it, and you can forge ahead”.
  • “Never let anyone decide what you can’t do”

Advice from mothers in the UK

  • I remember as a small child not wanting to go to a party.  My mum told me “it’s often the parties that you don’t want to go to that turn out to be the best, don’t miss out on an opportunity, you’ll never know what you missed”.  I have always tried to embrace that idea since, so now if there are things outside my comfort zone that I’m reluctant about, I always think of this advice, take a deep breath and dive in.   And my mum was right, many of the best things that have happened in my career are because I did exactly that. 
  • I remember my mum telling me “you don’t need to ask anyone but yourself if you are making the right decision – but bear in mind that every morning when you get up you will have to look at yourself in the mirror and you had better like what you see” which was a nice way of reminding me that I would have to live with my decisions, but perhaps more importantly has been a critical guide as I have shaped my career and helped me become the authentic leader I feel that I am today

My own mum has always told me to make sure I enjoy what I do, and when you are getting to share inspiring advice from women all over the world, well, it is hard not to.  I hope this blog inspires you to think about the great advice you have received from women that helped you craft your own career and how you can share it further. 


08 March 2013

Is the world your oyster?

CentredinternationalwomensdayGreetings from Dublin and San Francisco.

As many of you know, today (Friday 8 March) marks International Women’s Day (IWD).

IWD is a global celebration of the economic, political, and social achievements of women, and this year’s theme is The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum. Today’s blog is a collection of ‘gifts’ from us to you - resources intended to support and inspire you and the women in your lives.

Yesterday our Chairman, Dennis Nally, posted a blog about why we should stop talking about diversity. Dennis is also leading a PwC network-wide discussion today in which he shares the best advice he received from a woman – and asks our people to contribute their own best advice. This discussion will help us to better understand the contribution that all of the women in our peoples’ lives make to their own and PwC’s success.

Our firms around the network are celebrating IWD in many different ways. We’ve harnessed the topic globally with our own unique take on the day, the theme:

Gender, generation, and leadership: supporting the millennial woman craft her career

IWD 2013_RGB_P_MX_D4_1609-2

The conversation on women in leadership, while critical, has dominated the diversity conversation in the media. We believe that by focusing on developing talented junior women now, we’ll prepare them for leadership roles in the future.

To that end, we encourage millennial women – as well as those of you interested in their development because you parent, coach, lead, work with, or spend time with them in your professional and personal lives – to take a look at and share the tools and resources we’ve made available to everyone.

We know you’re busy, so our content is in bite-sized chunks. Go to our dedicated PwC International Women’s Day website or click on one of the links below to read, watch, and listen, and be part of a broader discussion on gender diversity.

Podcasts and Video Vignettes

Dr. Elisabeth Kelan of King’s College London provides succinct advice to millennial women and talent leaders based on extensive research in her book, Rising Stars: Developing Millennial Women as Leaders. Hear her advice on these burning questions:

As a woman in your 20s and early 30s, you may think the world is your oyster...but research shows that some small tweaks could prime you for even greater success...and navigate the bumps in the road

Listen to the 7-minute podcast: How to craft your career as a millennial woman

Website photo

Does gender really matter in the workplace anymore? Are role models and women’s networks relevant to today’s upcoming female talent? What must I do now to become tomorrow’s leader?

Watch three short videos of Dr. Elisabeth Kelan answering these questions and more.

Leader Insights

Dennis Nally, Chairman of PwC International, Ltd. tells us why we must stop talking about diversity.

Five female CEOs from around the world share their insight on today’s most pressing business issues in PwC’s 16th Annual CEO Survey.

Moira Elms, Chair of PwC International, Ltd.’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council discusses her insights on diversity in The Glass Hammer.

PwC’s Gender Agenda Blog

Occupation: Housewife – does the Feminine Mystique still exist in 2013?

Read our Gender Agenda Blog – Occupation: Housewife

Why does diversity matter, anyway?

Read our Gender Agenda Blog on the diversity business case

Happy reading, watching, and listening and happy International Women’s Day!

Aoife and Dale

Also available from PwC: New research from our Economic analysts reveals woman in the UK are less likely to be in full-time work and experience greater pay inequality than their counterparts in other developed countries. Find out more.