How to Make your Mark as a Woman in Corporate: Advice from an Experienced Executive



In the modern working world, every business sees men and women work alongside each other, sitting through the same meetings, undertaking the same business responsibilities, and walking the same corridors. But numerous case studies and research suggest that the common ground ends there. Men and women experience very different workplaces, ones in which the odds for advancement vary widely.


I sat down with Belle Wong to have a chat about the topic of women in corporate Australia and her own experiences. Belle is currently the Executive Consultant for a global company based in Vietnam and has previously held numerous leadership titles in various Australian and Asian companies such as Telstra, ANZ and IBM – but, like many, her career journey was not smooth sailing.

From early on, Belle felt that her position as a woman hindered her ability to advance her career as rapidly as her male counterparts. “I felt like I had to put more effort in to gain my co-workers’ respect,” she explains, “even if I held a higher title, I felt like my leadership and authority was treated with scepticism”. Men are more likely than women to feel confident they are en route to an executive role. Women, meanwhile, perceive a steeper trek to the top.



“As a female, you have to show real significant value” 




Women can sometimes put themselves at a disadvantage - often being more inclined to listen rather than speak. Belle expressed her gratitude in being fortunate enough to have considerate bosses in the past, who made it a point to listen to everyone’s opinions and thoughts.


But there are many ways for women to take charge of their careers, climb the corporate ladder and reach their goals. 



Belle shared a list of lessons she’s learnt over her decades as a woman in the workforce:

  1. Don’t be jealous of other people’s accomplishments, use their achievements as your own goals and practice constructive thinking in order to achieve them.
  2. Collaborate with others rather than spending all your energy debating on different opinions.
  3. Instead of criticising what someone has done, show them how to do the job properly and make sure the communication is open. Remember, communication is a two-way street.
  4. Forgive but don’t forget. Don’t hold grudges or let misunderstandings and mistakes compromise your own abilities and inhibit you from advancing yourself. Shelve incidences as lessons learnt.
  5. Believe in your self-worth and don’t be afraid. This is easier said than done but you risk not performing to your full potential when you lose confidence in yourself.