Tips for Women in the Workplace: Insights from two female leaders at Valcon

Women have come a long way in the world of work, but there is still a long way to go. According to a study by McKinsey (Nov, 2022), women are still underrepresented in leadership positions and many women still face gender bias and discrimination in the workplace.

At Valcon we believe in a diverse workforce. And today we are happy to share insights and advice from two female leaders at Valcon, Bianca den Elsen, Managing Partner Valcon NL and Susanne Guntermann, Partner Financial Services. Here are some of their tips for working women:

Susanne Gunterman, Partner, Valcon NL
Susanne has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years and has the following thoughts to pass on to women who are thinking about moving into the consulting, technology and data industry.

  • Be confident – own it. In a male dominated industry like ours, women can often get caught in the trap of not being as confident as male counterparts when they’re going for a job. But if you want the job, take it and show that you are more than capable of handling it. And importantly, have fun along the way. People will always think what they want and label you as they please. Focus your energy on what you can influence.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. According to Susanne, the managers she has worked for have always given her the opportunity to take the next step in her career and supported her on her career path. However, she had to ask for it. ‘Don’t expect that your efforts or results will speak for themselves. Ask for what you want and if you feel like you are not being heard, ask louder’
  • Invest time in understanding your goals and knowing what you value from work. Susanne advises young women to invest time in really understanding what makes them tick and what will bring them job satisfaction. And get under the skin of what they value in an organisation and a job and then choose a role that matches their ambitions and their life circumstances.

Bianca den Elsen, Managing Partner, Valcon NL
Bianca den Elsen has been working in consulting for almost 25 years. Here are her thoughts and tips for women working in our industry.

  • Build a network. According to Bianca, it’s essential to build a network. Reach out to the people you know from university and your social life, build relationships with colleagues and other professionals in the industry. Join professional organisations and connect with people via LinkedIn.
  • Life-long learning. Bianca believes in life-long learning. ‘Make developing your knowledge and skills a priority – every day’s a school day.’ Learn from others on the job, take advantage of training opportunities, learn new skills, and stay up to date in your area of expertise and industry trends. This will increase your chances for advancement in your career in whatever role you want.
  • The most important piece of advice. The most important advice Bianca has received is to reach out to potential clients and build a relationship with them. ‘The worst thing that can happen is that they say no, but more than likely, they are open to having a coffee with you and discussing what’s on their mind.’