“I am reminded of the movie titled “There is something about Mary”. Well, I want to raise my voice out loud and clearly state “There is something about Mary, Sue, Anne, Carol and every other woman out there!! I truly believe that the world can change if women in this world are awakened to their true self. If they can see their own beauty and if they can step into their own worth and value.” These are the words of Catherine van Heerden, Psychologist, Author, Speaker, Coach and Facilitator.
She further explains that our self-concepts and how we esteem our own worthiness – what we think and feel about ourselves – significantly impact our professional performance, and for women to be truly empowered in business they need to recognise and illustrate their self-worth. It’s important to acknowledge that the qualities, skills and competencies we develop do not have to be gender-based.
“Gender thinking can undermine women’s careers and impose self-limitations. In developing countries like South Africa, it’s important that the private sector intensifies its role in the economic empowerment of women, however it’s essential that we first understand that ‘empowerment’ does not suggest that women need to act more like men. I still find that view to be alive and thriving in the corporate space.”
“Boldness, decisiveness, strong leadership and risk taking are traditionally described as male dominant qualities, but these shouldn’t be ascribed to a particular gender – they are human qualities first and foremost,” explains Catherine. “I mean, aren’t women told that ‘they have balls’ when they show courage? Do we ever say to men that they have ‘boobs’ when they had compassion? I am just saying…..”
It is whether we as women can retrain ourselves and understand that we have the right to lead, to make decisions and to take risks.
Workplace gender-bias and equality is difficult to escape, even in this day – it’s a phenomenon throughout all industries across the globe. Addressing these issues requires a strategic approach that looks at the culture of the organisation, weighing up existing company initiatives and company priorities. “However, women can’t wait for corporations or even society to address this gender-bias and equality, we need to look at ourselves and our immediate environment to understand what we can do to change the situation, dependent on what each of us want and desire for our own individual lives.” Catherine advises.
“Speaking from my own personal experience, I know what it means to construct your own future by the way you think, how you conduct yourself and how you invest in controlling and guiding your own thoughts. There is much power in deciding who you want to be and how you want to show up in your life each and every day, despite your past realities or your current restraints. I know for some women this is extremely hard as culture and societal limitations often set clear boundaries for women.”
It’s about taking ownership of your career, having a clear vision and clarity of your life purpose and meaning and constantly emphasising and demonstrating the value of your strengths or value propositions to your world.
To make this more accessible to women and providing them with a practical platform to be mobilised into a journey of self-discovery, Catherine has partnered with Susana Kennedy who is also extremely passionate about women empowerment – to create a three-day highly interactive and dynamic workshop uniquely designed specifically to empower women in business.
The Success Portal workshop, which takes place from August 11 to August 13 at VENUE in Johannesburg, offers women career coaching, goal setting guidance and planning on how to identify the need for and implement change. Catherine has designed a cognitive model to mobilise people into making good decisions.
“Through the Success Portal event, participants can expect to gain a newfound inspiration and a sense of achievement,” says Catherine. “It provides women with a dynamic opportunity to become ‘unstuck’ in their careers, relationships and/or other areas in their lives and will help them design their own professional path in a welcoming environment of career-focused women.”
In an interview with FastCompany.com, Arianna Huffington, author of Lean In, said it was the voice in her head and negative self-talk that had the power to hold her back in her career. Catherine and Susana will work with delegates to address and overcome this negative self-talk that so many women experience.
Importantly, the Success Portal event provides the opportunity for delegates to network with like-minded women AND be introduced to successful women who have acquired ‘Celebrity’ status. The power duo is pleased to announce that PJ Powers and Kamini Patha will be their guests during the session in August and participants will also be treated to some of Kamini’s delicious creations.
“Our event is limited to just 20 to 30 women maximum, to encourage authentic and genuine engagement amongst participants and with myself and Susana,” explains Catherine.
“Strategic networking and mentorship is critical for career advancements – relationships are important and can often play an important role in success.”
To register for the Success Portal event, visit http://www.thesuccessportal.org