Written By: Anne Alo, Creative Director, WE Comm (right: on panel at Create & Cultivate Seattle)
In a world where women make up only 5% of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies (a stat that hasn’t wavered since the list was first published in 1955), getting to work at a female-owned company feels like finding the Holy Grail. You’ve searched forever for a place that feels encouraging, promising and safe in a male-dominated society. And when you finally sip from the lady-owned chalice, you know that you’ve found something special. A place where your talents can shine regardless of gender. Where care and compassion are daily practices. Where your drive is celebrated, not squelched. And where “meeting in the ladies’ room” is about the boardroom, not the bathroom.
Disclaimer: No males were harmed in the writing of this blog. I love our male counterparts—it’s just that this little write-up is about us, not them. But I digress…
I totally get that everyone has different experiences with female leaders, so I can really only speak to what I’ve observed at WE Communications. So, what do I love about working at a female-owned company? I don’t even know where to begin because there’s so much. But I’ve forced myself to edit (a skill I work on daily) and boiled it down to these four main reasons:
In the Company of Women, My Superpower Is Fearlessness
Bette Midler once said, “The worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you.” And everyone’s familiar with the cliché that women tend to tear each other down instead of building each other up. Although this can sometimes be true, in my experience I’ve found that working for intelligent and driven women motivates me to push harder. My successes are celebrated, and the only competition I’ve come to expect is outside my agency doors. When someone gets a win—male or female—the kudos become infectious. It’s like a 24/7 ropes course, where we all support each other and don’t even have to do the dreaded “trust fall.”
“People First” Isn’t Just a Tagline, It’s a Reality
Corporate philosophies are a dime a dozen, with company career pages flooding your computer screen with promises of the perfect workplace and too-good-to-be-true coworkers. But a female-owned business puts their money where their mouth is. Work-life balance is a priority—because life isn’t perfect and stuff happens. If life hands you lemons, your female CEO will hand you water, sugar and the time you need to recover. There’s a level of compassion that comes with the territory, and I never feel like I have to be a stone-cold, emotionless soldier. Instead I’m free to be the passionate, soulful warrior they hired me to be.
I’m Recognized for My Talent, Not My Gender
Man, woman, Muggle, Klingon… no matter who you are on the outside, the real recognition comes from your inner beauty. Cue the soft piano music. But seriously, talent sees no gender. Gender stereotypes and office labels still exist in the world, but at my agency it’s a thing of the past. With a woman at the helm, you can be sure that you’ll be acknowledged for your abilities and what you have to offer, not for your outward appearance.
Total. Lack. Of. Mansplaining.
I don’t really need to elaborate on this one, right?
So go forth into the world, dear reader. Break the glass ceiling with gusto and become the CEO that everyone wants to work for.
Anne Alo is the Creative Director for WE Communications. She believes that design is a powerful tool that ignites the spirit of beauty and intelligence, and has dedicated her career to mastering provocative visual art that transcends the ordinary.
Top photo credit: Alyssa Dawson (L); Elizabeth Crook (R)