Along with 150 of Sydney’s heavy hitting female business networkers, I also enjoyed lunch with Ray Martin at the fabulous Tearoom in the QVB building on Wednesday.
As usual, there were no guests from the consumer electronics industry (although their stores are dotted around that graceful building), so they couldn’t learn how Ray Martin was able to connect with those powerful women, get them to buy his book and to recommend it to all their friends.
They also missed out on studying the high level of viral micro blogging that was happening about Ray throughout the event and has been ongoing for several days.
Just take a look at this post from my respected media colleague, Valerie Khoo. An expert in communication and a committed supporter of the leading women’s networks, Valerie puts the value of our women’s networks into perspective.
Over the half dozen so years I have been a member of these networks, I have watched them grow into powerful forces whose primary aim is to encourage women to grow their businesses by supporting each other.
Speaking out about women’s workplace issues such as the woeful lack of women on Australian boards is at the top of the list. A great advocate on this topic is another colleague, founder of SheEO, Australia’s thought leader on gender balance,
It’s a wonderful environment to work within, with most groups operating with a flat hierarchy resulting in a low incidence of poisonous politics.
But, despite the growth in these networks and the fact that over 72% of Australian women control the household budget, I am yet to meet either a female or male (yes, men are most welcome to attend and many do so) executive of the CE industry voluntarily investing a few hours a month to attend a function and meet these women.
As a famous scientist pondered: why is it so?
Well, I haven’t done a poll on the subject yet (but watch out) but my sense is that they are uncomfortable in a room full of powerful women due to lack of experience
I have worked in the Australian CE industry for almost 18 years and I have never walked into a room of industry leaders who were all female.
This is because I believe that they are not encouraged to show up en masse.
And without an awareness of the leverage that these women can offer to businesses, many industry CEO’s just don’t include such networking events in their professional agendas.
It has also been suggested to me that many of the male leaders in this industry, who report to head offices in the Asian region do agree that they need to be more proactive in creating a gender intelligent operation.
But an attitude of “not on my watch” towards such change overrides any other intentions.
As a result, these businesses continue to lose revenue to savvy operators such as Ray Martin, a man very comfortable with powerful women.
I would like to extend an invitation to any CE leader who feels they would like to talk to these women about the benefits of technology, or just to meet them and start to build relationships with them to let me know…we would love to see you onboard.