In the spirit of International Women’s Day last week, I spoke to Keren Fanan, Gett’s Chief Commercial Officer, about her experience climbing the corporate ladder in a global corporation. We touched on a number of different issues, including the need for more women on executive boards, the power of mentors to help women find their professional footing and how she has managed to achieve her current position, while working to help other women reach their professional potential.
As attitudes evolve, women are breaking through the “glass ceiling” in many companies.
Sure men still dominate the majority of executive roles. Yet, women have learned to excel at balancing their personal and professional lives, frequently bearing most of the weight for managing family and household responsibilities while simultaneously, taking charge in their work roles.
What’s the most effective way men can play a role in promoting the development and success of their female colleagues?
People feel more comfortable with others most like themselves. By nature men feel more comfortable promoting men, which creates an ongoing cycle. I believe it is critical that men acknowledge that, acknowledge their natural preference for men, and work on making a more balanced team, generating a more effective and proactive environment.
If we don’t have both men and women in the room and in the conversation, we are clearly missing great minds. We should embrace what makes us different for a higher level of achievement and success.
Why is it particularly important to have more female representation on corporate boards?
In one word – Diversity. They say strength lies in differences, not in similarities. Having women in decision making positions means they can bring different things to the table, present a fresh, alternate perspective. Giving women a seat at the table is one part of keeping diversity, I believe corporate boards should include different people from all types of backgrounds – improving the quality of diverse and different cultures.
How have you attempted to give back and create easier paths for women who follow you?
It happens that most of those reporting to me directly are women. I’ve asked myself why is that, but the honest answer is that I looked for the most capable, talented people in the organization, who have impressed me and inspired me, and most of them happen to be women. I feel empowered being surrounded by strong, professional women. And I believe that when women see other females in higher positions they are more comfortable expressing their voice. It serves to pave the way for other women, proving there is room at the top for both genders and providing role models for a younger generation to emulate.
What do you do daily to boost your career?
The best career boost is to focus on getting the job done. Proper execution will pave the way to success and promotions. Don’t keep one eye on some future goal. If you do that you stop paying attention to the job at hand. I invest the majority of my time in doing my role in the best possible way, and getting better in what I do. I believe that the capacity to improve is endless when you love what you do.
What would be your main piece of advice for women wanting to sit at the boardroom table?
It’s a cliche, but true – always believe in yourself. Speak out, have a voice in your organization, aim high.
I believe in the quote “Growth and comfort do not coexist”. If you want to grow, get yourself out of your comfort zone.