Today we celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 (8th March 2019) and this year’s campaign theme #BalanceforBetter, because a balanced world is a better world and collectively we can all play a part in making this happen.

On the 12th February 2019, Gemserv proudly hosted a Women in Sustainability (WINS) event, a network that aims to bring together women who share the same purpose and values. In this blog, Yke Wynia, Strategy Consultant at Gemserv writes about her experience at the event.


What kind of leader do I want to be?

How often have you asked yourself that question? I started thinking about the answer to this question quite regularly last

year, when I became someone’s manager for the first time. Therefore, the Women in Sustainability (WINS) event last month, with ‘Developing your leadership style’ as the theme, could not have come at a better time for me.

The morning began with an interesting discussion on the leadership styles of famous leaders (Obama and Trump, for example) and tried to recognise the values behind their leadership styles. WINS Oxford lead, Thalia Carr, introduced us to six leadership styles, as defined by Daniel Goleman. We debated which of these styles – visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pace setting and commanding – would work best for working in sustainability, and which styles women tend to prefer. We tried answering these questions in smaller groups before discussing it with everyone in the room. The women in my group realised they had bits of each of the six leadership styles within them and would apply them when the situation called for it. This realisation was strengthened by a comment someone made in the group discussion, an insight that stuck with me after the event:

“Women are adaptable, they can easily switch between leadership styles.”

This is a good example of the value of these kinds of events; when organised well, they make you think. You learn from others and think about ways to apply this learning in your day-to-day working life. You hear other people’s perspectives and you rethink how you deal with certain work situations. This is exactly what Rhian Sherrington, WINS founder, will ask you to think about at the end of her events: “what are you now going to do differently?”

Rhian started the WINS network to bring together women who share the same purpose and values. She wanted to ensure that we keep our passion going as changemakers. I have now taken part in three WINS events and a webinar, and I can confirm that they have helped to keep my passion for sustainability (in my case renewable energy) alive and kicking. And I use ‘taken part’ on purpose there, because you do not just attend a WINS event, you take part: you learn, discuss, reflect, share stories and meet new people. Which is why I immediately put my hand up when Rhian asked for a company to host the next London Hub meeting. It was great to have all those energetic women come down to our Gemserv offices and to introduce many of my colleagues to this invaluable network.

I am sure many more events like this will be organised, you might even be organising one yourself. Do let me know if you are! I would love to take part and meet more passionate women working in sustainability, energy or data, and I will of course take my Gemserv colleagues and my new friends at WINS along with me. As we celebrate Intertnational Women’s Day today, ask yourself, do you want to help forge a more gender-balanced world? If yes, then there are so many ways to do this. Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.

You can read more about the Women in Sustainability Network here.

Read more about #IWD2019 here.

You may also be interested in this article, featuring our Head of Privacy and Data Protection, Ivana Bartoletti, on bias in AI: Women Stand Against Social Injustice in AI

Ivana will also be speaking on the subject at this event: AI Ethics, Bias and Privacy Masterclass

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