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Alyssa Daugherty: "A celebration of the significant gains made globally on gender equality"

Date: 15 March 2019

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for communities and organizations around the world to raise awareness about accelerating gender parity. Each year on March 8th  we celebrate International Women’s Day, focusing on the ideas of unity, reflection, advocacy, and action. Here at Phaidon International, we take this day to recognize the impact that women have made in our professional careers and in our personal lives. Members of the Phaidon Family have shared their stories of what International Women’s Day means to them.

Your name, position, how long have you been at Phaidon?

My name is Alyssa Daugherty and I am the Head of Charlotte Office. I have been at Phaidon International for 4.5 years.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

To me, IWD is a celebration of the significant gains made globally on gender equality and the renewed commitment of everyone to continue to push the initiative forward. 2018 for me was an exciting year, where prominent institutes like McKinsey, Stanford, and Harvard all released compelling research on the benefits of gender diversity not only on organizations’ culture but also their bottom line. Watching the world, and many of our clients, strive to treat gender diversity as not just a moral priority but also a business priority, I’m hopeful this will slow steps backward and promote more steps forward. International Women’s Day is a day we all can be part of the conversation, bring awareness to the challenges, and ask ourselves what we can do to impact progress.

Who are the female role models in your life and career?

In my life, I think my largest female role model has always been my mom. She has always been incredibly strong, both in business and in running our family, and I’ve always very much admired her ability to balance it all.

In my career, in recent years I’d have to say a woman I’ve really looked up to has been Mary T Barra. She is the current CEO of General Motors and the first female CEO of a global automotive company. She gave the commencement address at my graduation from the University of Michigan. A particular quote for me that I remember resonating was: “the biggest message I have for young women is, Don't start cutting off branches of your career tree unnecessarily early. Sometimes women say, I know I want to have a family or play in the local symphony, and they start pulling themselves out of their career path. You don't have to take yourself out of the running before you even start.”

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #Balanceforbetter. What do you think companies can do to create a better gender balance?

There is a very senior hiring manager at Barclays, who runs a team of over 100 people, who I’ve always enjoyed meeting with and discussing this topic because he is actually one of the 3 global leads of The Barclays Gender Diversity Council. He said that the minute he held his daughter, this all changed for him, and he couldn’t imagine her not having an equal seat at any table. Having him as one of the most powerful men in the business, drive this as a key initiative that he is so passionate about, is I think something all companies could learn from.  Embracing that it’s not just a women’s issue.

Additionally, I think one of the best things companies to do, is to give women strong female role models within an organization… and for those senior women to make an effort to connect and be accessible to the younger workforce. For example, at another large US bank, one of their divisions is very light on females so whenever they make an offer to a female candidate… they make sure that she is also reached out to directly by a senior female in the business who they can ask candid questions to. I always thought this was a simple but powerful concept.