7 Sources of Wild Opportunity For Women Leaders in the New World of Work

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The post-pandemic world of work isn’t by far peachy. Inflation is lingering in many countries, triggering deep cost cuts and potential recession. Companies that prided themselves in treating employees like family are laying off by the thousands. And even though people proved during the pandemic that an enormous volume of work can be done remotely, a lack of quality performance management systems, leadership, and imagination are powering a forceful return to the office. How can a talented woman who aims to preserve her sanity and lead a sustainable life find opportunity and thrive in this new, tricky, and abrasive market context?

 

The sources of opportunity for smart, talented, and ambitious women leaders can come from various places, some of them unexpected. Let’s take a look at some of them.

 

  1. COMPANY RESTRUCTURING

Even though everyone fears corporate restructuring because of the inevitable change and reduction in the number of roles, for a smart, talented woman with good visibility and a great network this can be a tremendous opportunity to feature her leadership, understand the needs of the newly restructured body, and spot the places from where she can lead with more authority and influence. Large scale restructuring is like a massive tectonic wave; no stone is left unturned. However, this can also create the opportunity to high-jump several levels in your organization that could be take years to navigate otherwise. If your company is going through a major vertical restructuring, your question should not be how to keep your current job. Instead, ask yourself: what does this new entity really need and from which place of greater influence can I serve it the best?

 

  1. NEW AREAS GAINING TRACTION

Over the last few years there are a couple of sectors that gained so much visibility that the people representing them are often seen at executive board level meetings even though they don’t officially belong to the board (yet). These areas are sustainability, cyber-security, digital transformation, innovation, and remote work. Thanks to their cross-system nature, these roles are extremely generous in helping women create connections and drive wild influence throughout the whole organization. At VORNICA® we are ready to bet that 5 to 10 years down the line, the majority of corporate CEOs will emerge from the people who are now in these strategic, cross-organizational complex roles.

 

  1. NEW LEGISLATION COMING OUR WAY

It is said that a good wave lifts all boats. When looking at various areas of regulation across Europe, we can definitely see new regulation supporting women to shine more in the workplace. From the women on boards directive stating that by June 30, 2026, all publicly listed companies must have a minimum of 33% of the under-represented gender in all executive boards to the new regulation on sustainability, which is finally taking this field out of the shadow, new rules and laws may sometimes come across as overwhelming. However, when smartly used, they can also be a fantastic trampoline for mindful, intentional career growth.

 

  1. GLOBAL TALENT AND REMOTE WORK

As stated earlier in this article, 2023 started with bad news for employees. The tide turned, and companies laid off by the thousands, mainly in North America. At the same time, the very companies providing the platforms enabling digital work –Apple, Meta, Microsoft, Salesforce and the like – seemed keen to see their people back in the office. Even though these companies profess 2023 to be “the year of efficiency,” they choose to retain large, widely unoccupied office leases and cut costs elsewhere, mainly on people. Beyond the hypocrisy and the gap between public discourse and reality, it’s undisputable that employers gained the upper hand this year, riding the wave of people’s existential fears and reverting back to control-and-command crisis mode of leadership. However, the news is not all bad. If prior to the pandemic only 4% to 5% of people could work remotely full time, today the number stands at more than 30%.  Some companies might have also reverted to a model of flexible hybrid work, with 2-3 days in the office and 2-3 days working from anywhere, as a temporary strategy to gain time until they can figure out the best business and work model for their company moving forward. Regardless, there are smart, fast-growing companies on the market that understood the way the labor market of the future can function. With talent available everywhere, all you need is competence, autonomy, and a global mindset to look for career growth opportunities in remote-first companies that chose to future-proof themselves by sticking with a flexible work-from-anywhere model.

 

  1. NEW TECHNOLOGY IS ABOUT TO ROCK OUR WORLD

By now everyone who hasn’t been sleeping under a rock for the last six months has heard of ChatGPT and the impact of artificial intelligence applications in creative professions and beyond. During the recent Women in Tech Summit in Paris, Annabelle Jenish, member of the executive board with TLGG, noted that we are standing at a similar wave of transformation as when the Internet started to gain traction, or social media 15 years ago. We have already seen the power these new technologies have in transforming our work and lives. Therefore, if you want to be at the forefront of opportunity creation, look for companies involved in new AI development and deployment. They are hiring.

 

  1. COMMUNITIES BEYOND THE OFFICE

We are social creatures, as we all well discovered during the pandemic. Even though the pandemic enabled many people, introverts included, to work and create value in conditions more suitable to their own needs and biology, as opposed to noisy open offices in crowded large cities, communities still matter. This is why future of work experts such as Darren Murph, VP for Work Design and Remote Experience with Andela, note that in the future, people will rejoice more in communities of proximity, which will elevate their quality of life. May you look for opportunity in your local community or in a virtual community such as VORNICA®’s THE CEO ELEVATION CIRCLE, inter human connection is a deep human need that can increase the quality of your life and drive opportunity for your career.

 

  1. POWERFUL GLOBAL NETWORKS LEAD THE WAY

The new world of work requires a global mindset. Why? Because the major challenges our society is facing - from climate change to cyber-crime, the degradation of democracy, the fragility of our financial system, and more - are global in nature. As such, we cannot fully engage in solving major global issues with a narrow-minded mindset. To be able to hire from anywhere, to come along with and drive performance for people from anywhere, and to see our true, rightful place in the world, we need to stretch our thinking beyond the power and attraction of our immediate local system. This is why global and regional networks such as Chief, the European Women on Boards, the 30% Club, Women in Tech, and our own THE CEO ELEVATION CIRCLE have a bright future ahead – because they provide women with global networks that stretch their current thinking and trigger fresh opportunity and innovation that is vital for our future.

 

Opportunity may come our way in many shapes and forms. To recognize it we need to step out of a place of anxiety, fear, and nostalgia for the past, and to open ourselves with courage to a better future. Let us know where you see the main source of opportunity for yourself, your career, and your leadership in the coming years by dropping us a note at Cristina.muntean@vornica.com.

 

Better yet, join us in THE CEO ELEVATION CIRCLE, which is opening its gates to new members on June 1st. Who knows what kind of wild opportunity is expecting you when you dare to step up and welcome it with an open heart.

Curious how you can spot and drive more opportunity to elevate your career and quality of life in the new, post-pandemic world of work? Join us this Thursday, June 1st, for a high level CEO PANEL TALK on the topic FUTURE OF WORK: HOW WOMEN CAN LEVERAGE EMERGING OPPORTUNITIES TO LEAD, GROW, AND THRIVE IN THE NEW WORLD OF WORK. We look forward to seeing you there.

CHECK OUR INCOMING CEO PANEL TALK AND REGISTER HERE. 

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