A 2019 research paper by Korn Ferry revealed a series of startling statistics about female leadership in the healthcare industry. Only 19% of hospitals are led by women, and only 4% of healthcare companies are led by women. What’s even more troubling? Approximately 80% of the healthcare workforce is made up of women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At Agency Ten22, a Finn Partners company, we cut our teeth in the healthcare scene as an independently owned and operated public relations firm spearheaded by a woman-led executive team. We hire women, we mentor women, we provide services to women. And while we admire the comradery and collaboration we receive from our male counterparts, we do take a lot of pride in the role that women play and are continuing to play in the healthcare sector.

So what do we do to improve the numbers referenced in the paper above and really practice what we preach? These questions were posed in a recent webinar hosted by Becker’s Hospital Review. This blog aims to highlight the top takeaways from the panelists and help women in every stage and sector to better themselves and others.

Takeaway 1: Accept yourself.

It may seem like a tall order, but the first step to bettering yourself and the female coworkers around you is to accept yourself. You will never fully gain the satisfaction or approval of others, but there is only one you—so it’s important that you like her! Accepting yourself means telling the negative voice in your head that you are enough, that you are smart and that you are capable of great things. It might also mean turning down the noise on things that can take away from that. For example, not engaging in gossip with other women on your team about the “new girl” or spending less time comparing yourself to people on social media.

Takeaway 2: Surround yourself with like-minded people.

It’s true that you are who you hang out with, so it’s imperative to ask yourself: Is this group best suited for me? Are they bringing me down or lifting me up? If the answer to the second question is the former, maybe it’s time to reconsider your peers. Whether it’s the group of women (and men) you are talking to around the watercooler or the group you hang out with as soon as you leave the office, there is something to be said about their impact on you. Surrounding yourself with people who see you for who you are and acknowledge you for being a good leader? That kind of relationship is priceless.

Takeaway 3: Build a bigger table.

You know the saying about women not having a seat at the table? Let’s dispel that lie right here and now. Women HAVE a seat at the table. The problem is we need a bigger table! The panelists unanimously agreed that the biggest detractors of women are—you guessed it—other women! When we stop putting one another down and start lifting each other up, we are able to foster a community of inclusivity and optimism that is contagious. Build a table that has different opinions, different outlooks and different perspectives. Chances are the people you need to start are all around you.

Takeaway 4: Be other women’s greatest champion.

We often overlook the fact that in order for women to support other women, we have to fully embrace the many qualities that make us who we are (i.e., different from our male counterparts). Some words that the panelists highlighted included responsiveness, servitude, collaboration, cooperation and compassion. When you work together with other women, all of these strengths are able to marry together and shine through in their respective ways. Maybe you have a new hire at the office who can bring a fresh outlook to a solution, or a more tenured employee who can use past experience to implement change. Both voices are important!

In conclusion, we have our work cut out for us. Women are highly intelligent, emotionally intellectual creatures and without them our jobs, offices, households, friendships and other avenues would be severely lacking. There’s a reason women make up 80% of the healthcare industry! Keep leaning in, keep doing the work and remember that every day is a new opportunity to support the amazing females in your life.

Need some tools to get started? No problem! Our team has rounded up their favorite reads on female leadership. Happy reading!

  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  • How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith
  • Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It by Peggy Klaus
  • Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord
  • Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power by Brooke Baldwin

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