We are thrilled to announce that Dr Liz Mellon is joining us as a member of the Future Leader’s Award Adjudication Panel. The Adjudication Panel select the 10 shortlisted candidates going forward to interview by the Main Judging Panel.
A leading business educator, Dr Liz Mellon is an expert in leadership development, with clients ranging from media to mining. She is currently the Chair Editorial Board for Dialogue Journal Duke CE, and the Executive Director of Authentic Leadership Ltd.
As a leading business educator, Liz is an expert in leadership development, with clients ranging from media to mining.
We caught up with her to ask her a few questions about being a judge, what she’ll be looking for from our candidates and why awards are important.
What appealed to you about being a judge for the Future Leaders Award?
I am delighted that Gwen Rhys has asked me to be a judge on the Future Leaders Award Adjudication Panel 2015. Barely a day goes past without the business pages highlighting some case of discrimination against women in the City of London. The adjectives used to describe strong, successful women are often not complimentary, while there is too much commentary around the height of the heels they wear.
I deal a lot with unconscious bias in organizations – sadly, in the City of London, some of the bias is both conscious and overt. As a woman who started her career in the seventies, being told that I couldn’t apply for a job in marketing because ‘women don’t work in marketing’ – I’ve been there, done that and the T shirt is worn out. We are overdue change and I am glad to be part of the work in highlighting the most talented women out there.
What you will be looking for from the candidates?
Of course there are judging criteria, but I will be looking for women of courage, who are not afraid to challenge the status quo while working to change the system from inside. Women want to do a good job but sometimes this can be at the expense of inciting change in a system that needs it. It takes self-insight and intellectual clarity to stand back from a system of which you are part, observe it objectively and argue for necessary changes. It is easier to conform, try to fit in, do a good job and hope someone notices you. The most successful women I know are never afraid of losing their job – sometimes they are more afraid of keeping it!
Why should someone nominate themselves or someone else for the Future Leaders Award?
Awards are important because at the individual level, they identify talent. This much is obvious. But there is so much more. Awards show us how it is possible to bring about change, to fix what is broken and to make the system work better. Awards identify best practice and next practice. Other people and other organizations look at where the awards go and strive to do better to win next time. Competition is part of the human psyche. Awards show us where we are doing great and incite others to follow or overtake.
Why is the promotion of women still so important?
This is not the place to quote all the data about how organizations with more women in senior executive positions out-perform competitors. Nor is it the space to bemoan how informal targets are getting more women on Boards but still leaving gaps in the senior executive echelons. Or even to tackle again the perennial debate about whether women should be developed in a separate talent stream to men. Put simply, we are 50 % of the population and we should be represented at that level throughout the hierarchy, not just at the bottom. Statistically, it makes for more profit. Psychologically, it makes for more work satisfaction. JDI!