To celebrate International Women's Day, Escape The City spoke to a handful of CEOs and founders from their Escape 100 organisations to highlight their experiences, inspiration, and career advice. Our very own Founder and CEO, Kike Oniwinde spoke about tackling gender discrimination, allyship and the importance of consistency.
Have you ever had to deal with gender discrimination at work? If yes, what did you find to be an effective means of tackling it?
Yes, I have. I was the only female in an all-male sales team. It was very difficult, especially because I was performing well, part-time, and also doing my business alongside it. I had tried talking it through with others, and even changing where I sat, but it didn't really work for me and sadly that meant I was disengaged from the group. What I ended up doing is focusing more on my work until I left. My advice if you are going through that is to speak to your manager and those around you to see what can be done.
What are some of the things you’ve noticed that women have had to deal with at work that men don’t?
It's hard to say that as a woman that's what's helped me in my career. But I think people love to see other women doing well and are inspired by them as the stats are against us in terms of getting into leadership positions and funding.
How do you think men can be better allies to women in the workplace?
I think we have to let men know when they're not being good allies so that they can learn from it and understand the implications of how something made you feel or impacts you. For example when I was working in sales and there was a real 'bro culture', I would take someone aside and let them know when something wasn't right. Once they're aware of why something isn't appropriate it makes a huge difference and they're more likely to call out other people in the future.
Do you have any pieces of advice for other women looking to take a similar career path?
"Start where you are. Do your research, find out the problem that you're trying to solve, find out if other people have that same problem. Crowdsource ideas, and start with the one that you can do where you are right now."
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Stick at it! You'll be able to learn more the longer you stay somewhere which will help you later down the line. Resilience matters in entrepreneurship, the ones who don't quit and keep going no matter how hard it is are the ones who succeed. It's the same in your career, no matter how hard it is it's just a season.
What and who inspires you with awe?
My mum inspires me so much. She's so liberal, so open, and so intelligent. She raised 3 kids on her own, in another country, while in a full-time management position. She's done her LLB, LPC, LLM all in the last decade and she's 60, but still so full of life and energy always looking to take on new projects! You don't always realise how well a parent has done until you look back, especially now I understand more about the workplace. I've realised how lucky I am to have such a great relationship with her and to be her daughter.
Kike was joined by the following CEO's:
Natalie Fée, Founder & CEO, City to Sea
Thang Vo-Ta, CEO & Co-Founder, Callaly
Alice Lacey, CEO & Co-founder. Now Press Play
Hermione Taylor, CEO, Do Nation.
The full interview can be accessed here.