Jane Egerton-Idehen is the founder of womenncareers. A platform that supports women globally in growing their careers through career advice, practical tips, tools and resources from different female executives
She is an accomplished Executive of thriving divisions within two Fortune 500 firms, as well as an advisor, spokesperson, and board member of nonprofit organizations.
Jane Egerton-Idehen is also an expert in the Telecommunication industry with over seventeen years of experience. She is currently the country manager Nigeria for an international satellite company, Avanti communications limited.
Recently she was celebrated as one of Nigeria’s “50 Leading Ladies in Corporate Nigeria” by Leading Ladies Africa. She has an MBA from the University of Warwick and an Executive Education from Havard Business School.
In this article, SLA contributor Anwuli speaks to Jane Egerton-Idehen as she talks about her impact on young women as she’s helping them in their career growth.
Since founding Women and Careers, what unique challenges have you helped women tackle in their growing careers?
Since starting Women and Careers, we have seen a lot of awareness about issues facing women as they grow their career.
Most women in their mid-careers, are seeking skills and a support system to help them grow their careers while they manage their home and family. While the single ladies are seeking to combine a career with building family relations and obligations.
I have noticed that most women in the early part of their career need guidance and some form of mentoring to guide them as they grow. To consciously invest in developing themselves and maneuvering the dynamics of the office place.
These challenges form a wide spectrum from like microaggression at work to lacking sponsorships for leadership roles.
We also have the impact of the patriarch in the workplace and society at large. There are also common ones like work-life balance.
I recognize that we need to talk more about these issues, share our stories and support each other through the journey
What level of progress has Women and Careers achieved in reaching out to women globally?
Since officially starting in 2017, Women and career has taken our passion to a larger audience. Our passion is to support women to grow their careers and encourage young girls to start one.
We have touched a lot of lives through our events and activities. We also celebrate a lot of women who are successfully paving a way in their fields no matter how unpopular those sectors or industries are.
WomenNcareers has worked with outside organizations to discuss these challenges women are facing bringing awareness to them and making sure relevant stakeholders are involved to support in addressing these issues.
We have co-sponsored events like TEDXAjegunle women, Sozo Networks Before I Turn 18 program for teenagers. To reach out to women and young girls in underserved areas.
We have just finished a mentoring program for young female undergraduates at the University of Mines and Technology in Tarkwa Ghana.
Our hope is that this can inspire and motivate a lot of women to work their paths as well.
What kind of support would women starting their careers in STEM fields need from professionals in the field?
Firstly Organizations need to be more deliberate about the pipeline problem especially in STEM fields.
Data shows that women are still underrepresented at the entry levels. This requires that companies relook at their hiring process.
A study by Women Matter states that;
Men are often hired and promoted based on their potential, while women are often hired and promoted based on their track record. This may be particularly acute for women at the start of their careers when their track records are relatively short.
Secondly, we noticed a lot of leakages when it comes to female talent in the STEM fields. Women starting their careers in the industry need a lot of support from the organizations they work to ensure they grow their careers in the field.
Quite a lot of them leave the field when they start getting married and probably having kids. One of the main challenges is managing their young family with the continuously demanding professional life.
Organizations can consider flexible working hours. They can consider maternity and post-maternity policies that are supportive of such women.
I would also recommend women in this phase seek a lot of support from loved ones and seek mentors that can guide them to navigate this phase.
Metaphorically I would relate the discussion about Women in STEM fields to what Charles Blow, an American Journalist for the New York Times, once said;
It requires that you fight on two fronts; trying to reduce the size of the hill and climbing the hill – Jane Egerton-Idehen
This is how I have always felt about women who try to grow their careers in the STEM fields.
I have come to acknowledge that it is a constant battle to have this. With all the challenges, they must face, it feels like climbing a hill.
It needs to be recognized that we ( Policymakers, Corporate organizations, etc) need to reduce the hill for women who in the past century have started to branch into these fields where the rules of engagement were created with male folks in mind.
What lessons can other women take from your journey when they feel discouraged?
I would say “your career is a marathon and not a race so don’t beat yourself up”. Life will throw you curveballs, There will be highs and lows. There will be upward movement and sometimes lateral career moves. Learn to keep pushing forward no matter what.
Be in the driver seat when it comes to your career. Most times we look for a boss, organization, etc to cart our career path.
We should learn to intentionally think, plan and work towards our career goals.
How do you effectively combine work, pursuing your passion and the home front?
Whatever we feed or spend time in, grows. One of the secrets is daring to be bad at somethings and not feeling guilty about it.
Decide what is of priority to you. Focus your time on things that are of priority. That for me is key.
Also learn to seek support, delegate or outsource activities that are less important or impactful. This will free up time for family, work and your passion.
Missed our Facebook Live on August 22nd on how to drive social change through your business/career? Click here to watch here.