Last fall, I presented at the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce event: Women Leading Change. It is a good thing my voice carries (perhaps an understatement) as I did not realize until after I presented that I forgot to take off my face mask.
That was before the Pandemic was politically over. As a new business owner, knowing Alberta needs to diversify our economy as the boom and bust is frustrating for all of us (with the Pandemic bust of negative prices being icing on the cake) such an event seemed relevant. Change management is necessary for the successful evolution and survival of any business, especially in the digital age. Change is speeding up, so many can feel left behind and overwhelmed.
This year’s Women Leading Change event took place this week. It is not an event that excludes men but rather celebrates and encourages women. Since we are half the population but not half the leaders in most spheres, one goal of the event is to be inspired by the talented and resilient Alberta women that overcome their various hurdles (e.g. divorce, poverty, disability, glass ceilings) to not just financially survive but to lead in many industries from health to energy, from social media to finance, and everything in between.
Once women in leadership roles hit the 50/50 mark, such events will be unnecessary. We should all want the best person for any position. Business needs it and society needs it.
My biggest takeaway from the event? It was not from the impressive networking guru with the 17,000 connections in her database (insert Emoji face with eyes popping out). Nor from the IT person turned change management guru at a major energy company.
It was from the final panel of successful entrepreneurs and businesswomen proffering a solution to help balance their days. Too many women are worried about cooking. Once the budget allows, you do not HAVE to cook dinner. Meal delegation to family, restaurants, food delivery services, etc. can help you be a better leader (or at least a less tired one).
My parents separated when I was eight and my mother returned to work. I had to babysit my six-year-old twin siblings (a brother and sister) after school while cooking grilled cheese sandwiches and shouting at them to stop running across the stovetop and counters (I still have flashbacks). I lost my enthusiasm for cooking for the family then and I will get it back when (if) I retire… maybe. I also watched my own mother of five try to keep up her homemaker level of motherhood while balancing two full time jobs, and all the stress it created.
Nonetheless, cleaning my own residence took a while to delegate. Why should someone else clean up after me? It turns out that cleaning other people’s homes can be a welcomed flexible source of entrepreneurial income. I eventually had to get to this next level of delegation as a young professional working long hours and volunteering in the community. Our Cinderella cleaner (she named the business, not me) was happy to move beyond minimum wage and have flexible work hours to raise her family.
Women leading change is not about doing “it all”, there is no such thing, you might as well sign up for burn out. But changing even a few of our own habits can not only help us but help the economy, helping everyone lead better lives.
Donna Purcell, K.C., (aka Lady Justice) is a Central Alberta lawyer and Chief Innovation Officer with Donna Purcell QC Law. If you have legal questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.