Celebrating International Women’s Day, 2022
Today, communities across the globe are coming together to celebrate International Women’s Day! A lot of progress has been made since IWD was first observed in 1911. But as of 2022, the gender pay gap, violence against women, transmisogyny, and other injustices are still pressing issues. Along with being a time to celebrate women’s achievements, IWD is an occasion for people everywhere to heed calls to action to accelerate gender parity. This year’s IWD theme is #BreakTheBias, urging awareness of, and action addressing, the conscious and unconscious biases that hold women back in the workplace every day.
Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field.
Here at Meltwater, we’re committed to diversity, inclusion, and championing every member of our team. That’s part of why Comparably named us one of the Best Companies for Women and Best Companies for Diversity in 2021. You can read more about our diversity and inclusion initiatives on our Careers page.
There’s always more that we can do and learn when it comes to recognizing and celebrating women. So for IWD 2022, we asked three members of the Meltwater family to share their insights on being women in leadership.
1. Julia Nill - Enterprise Director, EMEA
Julia joined Meltwater in 2015 as an International Management Trainee, quickly advancing to become a Managing Director of Meltwater Africa 2020, she co-founded the Women in Tech initiative at Meltwater, becoming a leading voice for gender equality. Julia is based in Cape Town and is currently the Enterprise Director of Meltwater EMEA.
Julia's words of advice
- Have each others’ backs. A practical example is on Zoom calls. If someone has a great idea and it’s your female colleague, take yourself off mute and acknowledge how good that idea was and celebrate that on the spot.
- Be or get a sponsor. Someone that is there to help nurture your career and see opportunities, see strengths, see where you can improve, and therefore help further where you want to go.
- Prioritize. You have to know what matters to you, what you want to fill your day with. We all have the same amount of time, so it’s up to you how you want to use it. I have found a great way of prioritizing the things that fuel me and that give me energy. And that means that I can bring my best self to work, but also my best self at home.
- Define success for yourself. Someone's success is often all you see, but it is only the end result of someone’s late nights, hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. It’s difficult to separate what success means to you and what it should look like for you if you're too busy looking at someone else's version of it.
- Above all, be authentic, be real, and stay true to yourself. Probably the three most important ingredients for success I can think of.
2. Laila Mousa - Account Executive Director, Middle East
Laila started with Meltwater in 2010 as a Sales Consultant, part of the team responsible for establishing Abu Dhabi operations. Since then, she’s risen through the ranks, building out crucial markets for Meltwater in the Middle East, becoming an Account Executive Director in 2020, and leading the team responsible for some of Meltwater’s largest accounts in the region.
Laila's words of advice
- Lean on your support system. My parents were the most amazing mentors that I have had. I’m very proud of them, and I really lean on their shoulders for everything so far.
- Fake it until you make it. When I started at Meltwater I considered myself closed off, shy, and having major stage fright. I still remember my first visit to the Saudi market with a client. At that point, women doing business in Saudi was very rare and very unheard of. Getting in that meeting room by myself in front of a room full of men was such a nerve-wracking experience. Did they listen to me? Not really, not in the beginning at least. Did I run away? I really wanted to hide. But it took me a while, almost 20 minutes, to get their attention and respect. It was on that trip that I really wanted to do something different to break the glass ceilings.
- Don’t be shy about asking for help or advice. No one will think less of you. We always tend to want to prove ourselves. But looking for help and support systems, you need that to be successful, whatever your role is.
- Find that go-to person in your career. It could be inside your organization or outside your organization, to create that support system and help you in seeking guidance.
- Build your confidence. My confidence grew significantly as I grew in my career, meeting my goals and my expectations for myself. When imposter syndrome starts creeping into my mind, I always try to take a step back and take a toll of what’s going on, what’s going well, and what I have achieved. Build my own confidence block by block.
3. Pooja Farkade - Senior Director, Business Applications
Pooja joined the Meltwater team in 2013 with past experience at Oracle and as a Fellow for the Clinton Foundation. Today, she is part of the global Research and Development Leadership Team, as Head of Global Enterprise Applications, and is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Pooja's words of advice
- Lead with empathy. People are at the front and center whenever I think about leadership. You need to lead with empathy, whether you’re solving a customer issue or you’re meeting with an employee. It’s always the empathy and the compassion that you have that can open the doors to finding creative solutions.
- Have integrity. By that, I mean having ownership and accountability. You need to lead the way for your teams by walking the talk so that they see that you are reliable and you are dependable.
- Be adaptable. Being able to have that critical thinking is the most important thing.
- Have the curiosity to learn. Learn as much as you can. Have an open mind. And build that business acumen.
- Learn to work with people. Be resourceful, be collaborative, and build those relationships, because ultimately the world’s a team sport.
- Be kind to yourself and the people around you. Through it all.
Have a happy, mindful, and empowering International Women’s Day! We hope you take some time today to celebrate the women in your life and reflect on what you can do to #BreakTheBias.