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Representation Matters Even More in Male Dominated Industries

True leadership goes beyond titles and positions. I like many others believe it is a quality that is demonstrated through actions, behaviors, and attitudes. In this post, I’ll explore what it means to lead and the importance of representation as an immigrant female in a male-dominated industry. What does it mean to lead? Leadership is the ability to inspire, influence, and guide others towards a common goal.

Leaders I’ve admired are those who can create a vision, communicate it effectively, and motivate others to work towards achieving it. While some people are born with natural leadership abilities, it is also a skill that can be developed through practice and experience. I’ve seen both examples in my career.

Leadership is not just about giving orders or making decisions. It is about passionately believing in your vision, understanding the needs and concerns of those around you and creating an environment where everyone can thrive to achieve goals together. That’s what I work hard to do every day with my team. A good leader is authentic, empathetic, compassionate, and willing to listen to feedback. They are also able to make tough decisions when necessary and take responsibility for their actions. The Importance of Representation Representation is the act of being seen and heard. It’s about having someone who looks like you, talks like you, and shares your experiences in positions of power and influence. In my career experience, that’s often been hard to come by. For immigrant females in male-dominated industries, representation is even more crucial. It is a way of breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes, and inspiring the next generation of leaders. Representation is also important because it provides a sense of belonging and validation. When I see someone different and authentic, in a position of power, it inspires me that I too can be like them in my own unique way and achieve my goals.

As an immigrant female in a male-dominated industry, it can be particularly challenging to navigate the workplace and the marketplace, because I may not fit in the picture people used to see. However, by working hard, demonstrating my abilities and taking on leadership roles, I’ve found the chance and opportunity to challenge these stereotypes and pave the way for others to follow. I am lucky to work for an organization walks the talk, Mercer Health & Benefits, leading the way with female leadership and overall diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. Top 5 Tips for Leading as an Underrepresented Individual in a Male-Dominated Industry

1. Be authentic & confident – You are who you are, own it, embrace it! You are unique in

your abilities and have a lot to offer in your own way. Believe in yourself and your

abilities. You have unique skills and experiences that can help you excel in your field. 2. Communicate Effectively - Communication is key to successful leadership. Be clear,

concise, and assertive when expressing your ideas and opinions. 3. Build Relationships - Networking is important in any industry. Take the time to build

relationships with colleagues and industry professionals. This can help you find

mentors, allies, and opportunities for growth. 4. Embrace Diversity - Diversity is a strength, not a weakness. Embrace your unique

perspectives and experiences and encourage others to do the same. 5. Take Risks - Don't be afraid to take risks and try new things. Failure is a natural part of

the learning process, and it can help you grow and develop as a leader.

Again, let me reiterate, leadership is a quality that is demonstrated through actions, behaviors, and attitudes. As an immigrant female in a male-dominated industry, representation is important for breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes, and inspiring the next generation of leaders. By taking on leadership roles and demonstrating your abilities, I truly believe you can pave the way for others to follow and make a positive impact on your industry. That’s what I work to do each and every day.

If you’re interested in learning more, please feel free to reach out (gulsah.mattson@mercer.com). I’m happy to share my experiences leading as an underrepresented individual in the workplace. It’s only through 1:1 engagement that we can work together to make real change happen and I look forward to doing just that in partnership with women-led organizations like Mercer and RSP and invite you to do the same.

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