Tapping into women’s natural strengths

To recognise International Women’s Day 2022, we spoke to Corporate Traveller Australia’s Head of Growth and Retention, Jaclyn Reynolds, about women placing more value on their abilities and contributions.

During her 23 years with the FCTG, Jaclyn has held many roles starting as a travel manager, before moving into Account Management, then Head of Operations and General Manager for NSW/ACT before her recent promotion.

What benefits do women bring to the workplace?

Women have a natural ability to bring people together by promoting inclusiveness, a sense of belonging and by putting people at ease. I think this natural nurturing style can help bring out the best in people, while supporting them to help develop their personal strengths. Women also have an internal instinct or intuition based around empathy that gives them an ability to understand others, quickly get to the core of an issue and to create trusting, open relationships. These qualities help to encourage honest feedback, which in turn helps you to make better decisions.

What do you think makes a good leader?

Strong leaders create a clear vision of what they want to achieve and a clear plan on how to get there. Only then can you bring people along for the journey and help them feel valued and involved. A good leader also empowers people by supporting them to achieve individual growth and development. You also need to be true to yourself, a good listener and you need to have the ability to collaborate with others at all levels of the business.

What is the most important leadership lesson you have learnt?

When making changes, or rolling out a new project, focus on the ‘why’. Ask yourself, why are we doing this and what is the purpose? Then communicate the reasons clearly to get others on board. Also seek input from those around you, this enables you to look at a situation from all perspectives before you make a decision.

What is the biggest barrier for women wanting to progress their career?

In my experience, striving for perfectionism causes a barrier for many women. Women tend to be too critical of themselves and rather than jumping in to a new role, they may hold back until they feel they have ticked all of the boxes. We often think that we have to prove ourselves more than men. So we tend to judge ourselves more harshly, compare ourselves to others and hold ourselves back if we don’t see ourselves as a ‘stereotypical’ leader.

What deters many women from aspiring to top leadership roles?

A lack of exposure to these roles, means that women can have a lack of understanding about what a role actually entails. Women often assume that the time commitment will be too great, especially because they are often juggling family commitments and worry that they will burnout.

What advice would you give to women considering their next career move?

Work closely with a mentor within the business to support your growth, to help improve your skill set and to also help raise your personal profile.

Break the Bias’ is the IWD theme for 2022, what does it mean to you?  

Breaking down stereotypes by knowing what you value and knowing the values you bring to the table as a woman within the work environment. Women need to also expect equality, by not buying into stereotypes that imply we need to work longer and harder to prove ourselves. It’s important to put boundaries in place around doing work after hours and the amount of travel that works within your family and parenting situation.