Inside Edelman is an ongoing series that spotlights our colleagues who are doing extraordinary work across our network. This year's International Women's Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge and we’ll be spotlighting our female leaders, discovering how they build inner resilience and advice they'd give to future leaders.
Who is a woman you admire and why?
I really admire Jacinda Ardern (Prime Minister of New Zealand) for her empathetic and authentic leadership style. She’s not focused on being the loudest in the room, but she still commands respect and acts with decisiveness and compassion, just a really great role model. I also love Mindy Kaling’s wit and Dolly Alderton’s writing.
With the status quo being challenged more and more, in the past 10 years, what have been the biggest changes you’ve noticed for women?
I think we’ve really seen women stepping into their own strength over the past decade. Movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp gave women everywhere a platform to confront issues that had just been accepted in silence for many years. There’s also been more and more incredibly important representation across politics, business and popular culture – I know I saw countless videos of little girls celebrating while they watched Kamala Harris sworn in as the first female Vice President of the United States that made me a little misty. While there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality I also think there’s been a lot of glass ceilings smashed along the way we should be proud of.
What advice do you have for a woman starting her career?
I like the saying “be the CEO of your own career” because it embodies the mindset I think everyone needs to be successful in whatever they choose to do. To me, it means you need to think about what you want to be doing and consciously look for opportunities and put yourself in places and with people who are doing those things so you can grab opportunities that come at you with both hands.
If you’re feeling out of your depth, chances are that’s when you’re growing the most. But that doesn’t mean that you need to shoulder tough situations alone. Working in the amazing Health team at Edelman has really shown me that it’s ok to ask for help when you need it
How do you build your inner resilience?
I like to think I’m a glass half full kind of person about 99% of the time, but a big part of building resilience for me is acknowledging it’s ok to feel overwhelmed, anxious or just down – especially over the past year. Personally I find having a regular moment of reflection – either internally or with friends (we love sharing a “rose and thorn” for the week over a glass of wine)– to take stock of life helps me keep a positive outlook.
What do you believe will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of women?
Achieving gender equality (besides being a fundamental human right) is good for the economy and society as well. But research shows the impact of COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted women and is having a regressive effect on our efforts to achieve gender equity which was plateauing even before the pandemic hit. The most recent estimates put achieving gender parity at 99.5 years away. So I think it will be incredibly important for the next generation of women AND men, and the one after that, stand up to ensure the positive steps that have already been taken continue – and the renewed momentum needed to reach this goal is achieved, hopefully within their lifetime.
What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received in your career
Network. It seems like a trite piece of advice but it’s really so important regardless of what industry you’re in. I’ve met some wonderfully brilliant people through engagement with organisations like PRCA, HCA, MJA and PRIA that I wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise and who have offered the opportunity to partner together that has been invaluable for my career. If you see someone interesting speaking at a conference – tell them how wonderful you found it and ask if they would have time to chat with you. Then do your homework and show up with thoughtful, pertinent questions. I guarantee a lot of the time the answer will be yes!
ABOUT ISHTAR SCHNEIDER
Ishtar Schneider is Associate Director for the London Healthcare team.