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Move your career up a gear. Inspiring aspirational career women with our new coaching initiative

Move your career up a gear. Inspiring aspirational career women with our new coaching initiative

Move your career up a gear. Inspiring aspirational career women with our new coaching initiative.

When I joined the CWN Board in March this year as Vice President, I asked myself one question. “What is the impact and legacy I would like to leave behind after my tenure?” The answer is that I would like to play a key role in attracting aspirational ‘early stage career’ women to join our network. My interest in this stems from the desire to improve support for working women by removing blockers to their growth and progression, which has been a passion of mine for many years.

It is unlikely to come as a surprise to anyone that it’s been a tough year for working women.

McKinsey’s annual ‘Women in the Workplace 2020’ study shows just how disproportionately impacted women have been by the pandemic.

‘Female jobs globally are 19% more at risk than male ones, simply because more women work in negatively affected sectors. Yet even when considering women and men work in different sectors, women’s employment is dropping faster than average.’.

It’s further evidence of the urgent need to erode the barriers to gender equality – now well-documented as being better for business, the economy and society at large.

I love that CWN is more than a connection network. At its heart it is about developing women, to strengthen the chain of female leadership. That chain’s weakest link starts at an early career stage, with women losing ground at the first step up to manager.


“Women hold just 38% of manager-level positions.”

McKinsey Women in the Workplace 2020 report


McKinsey refer to this phenomenon as the “broken rung”. For every 100 men, only 85 women get promoted to manager. As a result, at the beginning of 2020, “women held just 38% of manager-level positions, while men held 62%”.

It is impossible for more women to occupy senior roles if there aren’t enough of us in the pipeline.

So, the question for CWN then becomes: What can we do to help strengthen that weak link in the chain to female leadership? We believe it starts by reaching out to women in the early stages of their career journey and making CWN’s proposition irresistible to them. In this volatile climate though, with job security and money anxieties heightened, that’s easier said than done.

One of CWN’s differentiators is that it promotes inclusion and belonging by welcoming women from a variety of sectors, from different sized organisations, and at various careers stages. While already offering exceptional value, we still want to attract those aspirational individual members.

So, we’ve been speaking with early stage career women about what would make CWN stand out and what would persuade them to join us. What they repeatedly say is they want the opportunity to see and learn from strong female role models. CWN not only brims with women successfully advanced in their careers who are excellent role models, but also qualified coaches who offer guidance and learning.

A great coach can help you harness your strengths, recognise your blind spots, and steer you confidently towards success.


“We cannot change what we are not aware of and

once we are aware, we cannot help but change.”

Sheryl Sandberg, business leader


Yet coaching is expensive and mostly beyond reach for younger, professional women. That’s unfortunate because the earlier we can help equip young women with the self-awareness, skills, and the confidence they need to progress, the more progress we will make towards female leadership.

I am an executive coach myself, with a niche for helping those in transition. Given how adversely impacted women’s careers are by this corona-induced climate, that coaching expertise is, arguably, more valuable than ever. Yet I’m far from being CWN’s only qualified coach. On our board alone our President, Uma Cresswell, and our Events Committee co-chair, Geraldine Gallagher, are also coaches.

That got us thinking about:

  • Coaching’s transformative power,
  • The lack of access to coaching for women early in their career, and
  • How many other qualified coaches there might be within our network who would be prepared to gift some of their time to coaching new, aspirational CWN members.

We reached out to our members and the response was amazing!

This means we are now able to offer free coaching to aspirational joiners - those with 10 -12 years’ experience. We are harnessing coaching to lead by example and want to bring the next generation of female leaders up the career ladder with us. We believe this is a potential game-changer for helping fix that ‘broken rung’ and for attracting more early stage career women to CWN, so please do spread the word.

"Commencing in January 2021, our individual membership will offer our 'early stage career' joiners four free coaching sessions in their first year with one of our own qualified coaches."

If you are a qualified coach with more than 75 hours of coaching experience and are interested in getting involved but haven’t yet expressed your interest, then we’d love to hear from you. Simply email us.


Patricia Galloway is a global HR leader with two decades expertise in the banking, technology, and engineering industries. She joined CWN’s board as Vice President in March. She is a practising C-Suite Executive Coach.

 December 10, 2020