The power of curiosity

Visible humanity is something that women do really well, but so often we don’t feel comfortable expressing emotion in professional settings where any signs of ‘passion’ or ‘feelings’ are seen as weaknesses. I went to two events recently where the discussion centred around the need for a cultural change to bring about awareness that diversity in gender, skills, background, ethnicity – and being bold enough to be open and honest – are all necessary for businesses, and individuals, to thrive.

The first was the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Women in Leadership ‘Survive and Thrive’ event, led by deputy chief scientist Dr Claire Thompson, and the second was the inaugural event for Lift As You Climb, a not-for-profit organisation set up to celebrate and encourage women at various stages in their lives and career through networking and cross-sector mentoring.

What began as a ‘story hunt’ for me turned into something a lot more personal, as I listened to speakers including Deborah Evans, Nadia Bukhari, Emma Davies, Tase Oputu, Diane Leicester-Hallam, Dr Catherine DugganClare Howard, Neelam Sharma and Mahendra Patel at the RPS, and – at Lift As You Climb – Baroness Margaret McDonagh, Labour peer and co-founder of gender diversity championing organisation The Pipeline, talk about their journeys (and hurdles) to success.

As well as the need to promote diversity in business, one of the many points that stuck with me from the day was that a defining characteristic of most successful leaders is that they are curious. My motto is onwards and upwards, and curiosity is a great driver for that. And on the days when upwards seems too much of a stretch then onwards and sideways will do, but always onwards.

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