Josephine Payne, Ford Otosan Craiova: “A leadership role has its stresses, but it’s also exciting, you get to make a difference”
“A company culture is about people. What we need is for women to really feel that they belong in this industry. To create that culture where people belong, you must start by talking to current female employees, the women in the industry, to understand the challenges they have faced, how they feel and what we need to do to change. We need to get everybody involved in this change. It’s a war for talent right now. Just being ok or accepting of women isn’t going to encourage people into our industry. We’ve got to really shout out how really diverse we are, what opportunities there are and how exciting it is to be here,” Josephine Payne, president, Ford Otosan Craiova said during Women Professionals in the Automotive Industry conference organized by Automotive Today.
“Like every job, a leadership role it has its stresses, but it’s also exciting, you get to make a difference. We create something, and that creativity is a great part of this world. First you have to create the desire and the willingness, and secondly you have to provide the opportunities. That means giving female colleagues the same opportunities as men, which means we have to address things like unconscious biases and to prepare women to get into those roles and speak up.
It means creating opportunities to do job rotations, it means moving people out of their comfort zone. You don’t have to have 100 percent of what it needs to go for a job. If you are the right fit, if you got that ability, then go for it. I think it’s about addressing the desire and then addressing the opportunities and being serious about it.
Of course, there are challenges of being in a leadership role. There is the challenge of feeling like you belong. When you’re in a room where everybody else is male and you’re the single female, there is that issue of kind of impostor syndrome, of belonging and of being wanted.
You might be the only woman at the table, but quite frankly everyone will know you are. They might not know who the other nine men are, but they will know who the women is and that brings you great opportunities and great recognition. Capitalise on that and take advantage of that opportunity.
Managing the work-life balance requires, first, a really supportive network of people around me. The second thing is about managing energy, which is different for everybody. I am happy to work very long hours during the week, but I take the weekend to recharge my energy.”
Full recording of the conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D70hWlXRgA&t=732s