On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the contributions and achievements of women past and present. This year, we’re taking a deeper look at the question of equality and opportunity through the theme of “Balance for Better.” The idea resonates differently for everyone—some point to long-standing challenges women face getting in the door and rising through the ranks, and others call out struggles with finding work/life balance. This International Women’s Day, we asked Lenovo women around the world to put into their own words to share what #BalanceforBetter means to them.
To me, it means having an equal seat at the table in any environment: from work or board meetings, to extracurricular and decisions at home; no table is too small or large. Every voice has a unique perspective to offer and having a diverse group of those voices helps to guide decisions to benefit all vs. a few. I am no stranger to being a minority in several of these environments, starting with being one of the only women in each of my computer engineering classes in college and continuing in leadership meetings throughout my career. These environments can put unnecessary pressure on the minority to validate their presence and to represent the voices not in the room. With more balanced representation, all can focus more on the topics at hand. A gender-balanced world will require collective action from all. I would not be where I am today without the encouragement and support from my both my female and male colleagues, family, and peers. Let’s use IWD as a reminder of this call to action, but let’s reinforce that message throughout the year.
For me, I believe balance is a choice—you must understand yourself, your family’s needs, and your jobs requirements of you in a deep way. Different times will require different priorities and the best way to manage a balance between those priorities is to practice good planning. It’s also important to acknowledge that it is impossible to make everything a priority—you will have to let some things go in the process, and it’s important to know that it’s okay, that you are making the choices to balance your life in a way that works best for you, and to not feel guilty about making those choices.
To me, Balance for Better means having equal opportunities from the home to the workplace. I want my niece to grow up in a world where she can be truly fearless to go after her dreams without having to worry about being limited by her gender. I encourage us to start important conversations around gender balance in our corners of the world, and if you can, reach out to a young girl in your community and share some of the knowledge you’ve gathered along your journey so far.
It is not easy to make [balance] happen, but it is very satisfactory when you can do it and manage it. Today’s women have more aspirations than in the past—women want to be professionals and pursue executive positions as they believe they can—and of course they can! On the other hand, they also want to have a family and be present with them to be able enjoy it all. The key variable is balance. It is not easy, but it is possible, because women have the ability to manage several things at the same time. With the right priorities in mind, we need to be able to say “yes” to some things and say “no” to others—and try to give a plan B solution when you say “no.” Most importantly, you can’t feel guilty to put those priorities in place. The world is changing and evolving, so women need to take the right opportunities that they believe they can manage!
Balance is important for me and means delivering on the right mix of the different aspects of my role to deliver value to customers. It is easy to get caught up in what is important today and to neglect all of those other things that we do for customers that provide real value to them. A key focus for me is our quarterly DCG training. I get this completed as early as possible in the quarter. When I first joined Lenovo DCG two years ago, I left it until month three in the quarter, and with everything else going on, decided I would never do that again! A continual focus on learning and upskilling gives us the capability to sell value and solutions by understanding our customer’s business challenges and engaging with their executive teams. When I reflect on International Women’s Day and being a woman and a mum, I think about my contribution to Lenovo DCG, the balance in what I can do for customers and the positive impact this has for them.