This year's International Women's Day theme #ChooseToChallenge represents the idea of challenging norms related to gender equality to create change. At LVI Associates, we choose to challenge and promote gender diversity and inclusion.
Corinna Frye, Vice President, Renewable Energy & Clean Technology at LVI Associates, shares her thoughts on this year's theme, and how she chooses to challenge in her role.
What does the #ChooseToChallenge message mean to you?
#ChooseToChallenge to me means not accepting a status quo just because that is what has always been. To not be afraid to be a pioneer and to be the first one to break through a barrier or to create a path that others can follow.
What sort of conversations around gender equality do you have with your clients in your role? Has Covid-19 had an impact on gender equality?
Gender equality and diversity more broadly is a very important subject for all of our clients as they seek to have different points of view and ways of thinking on their teams all the way up to, and perhaps most importantly, at the executive and board level. In order to achieve these goals, we consult them on possibly being more flexible and open minded when considering candidates who might have breaks on their resume due to taking time away from work to raise a family, as long as the skills and experience necessary for the position are clearly demonstrated. The silver lining of this pandemic has been that for many employers, it proved that people can work just as effectively remotely. I hope this will encourage more women to apply for positions which align with their qualifications which they might not have looked into because they could not commit to an office commute and visa versa that it may give employers confidence to hire candidates who are looking for that remote flexibility. This can allow companies to hiring more top female talent and at the same same these women are not having to make personal sacrifices for their career.
What role can recruiters play in challenging norms and creating change?
Don't be afraid to push back on clients if the qualifications for their roles are too specific or are excluding groups that could excel in the position. While some qualifications are crucial to perform the job, others will likely be 'preferred' or not required. Based on a report from Hewlett-Packard, women typically only apply to positions they meet 100% of the criteria for, whereas men often apply if they feel they meet just 60%. On the flip side of recruitment, this also means reaching out to a wider candidate base. Don't worry about sending someone who is just shy of the requirements you were given (such as years experience). You may present a hiring manager with someone who has slipped their radar and would be an excellent fit.
What advice would you give to a company trying to create a diverse hiring strategy?
To understand that in order to find and hire more diverse candidates you have to approach the search with an open mind. Look for the qualities, skills and experience that you need in the role and on your team; but appreciate that the manner in which a candidate might have acquired those skills could differ from the traditional routes that you are used to seeing. Also understand that big life events can also impact candidates timeline of employment, but that should not take-away from whether they have the ability and the skills to do a role.
As a female leader, what advice would you give to other aspiring leaders in overcoming potential gender biases and achieving career success?
My best advice is that "knowledge is king". A phrase used by my manager back in London that has always stuck with me, because its 100% true - knowledge is the cornerstone of everything including and perhaps most importantly of confidence. What has helped give me the confidence to believe in myself in this job over the years; whether that is speaking to a client, to a candidate or even to my peers and superiors is the confidence that when I am talking from a position of knowledge. More specifically I am referring to knowledge of my market, the industry and what's going on in terms of the companies, the people, the technologies and the projects that are an integral part of what I do every day. If you know what is going on in your sector, and you can speak to that knowledge than you will immediately garner respect from the clients and candidates you work with, as well as be able to speak from a position of strength. Which as a woman in a still mostly male dominated industry like energy is hugely important.
About Corinna Frye
Corinna joined our London business in 2014 focusing on Renewable Energy recruitment globally. Over time, she narrowed her focus to the US market. After a landmark year with the business in 2017 where she was one of the top performers in the company , she was offered the opportunity to move to our Boston office to grow our Renewable Energy business state-side. Since making that decision to move across the world, Corinna has not only a been part of LVI Associates incredible growth story, but also seen an industry she cares passionately about grow exponentially year on year as more focus is placed on the impact of climate change and a transition towards a carbon neutral future. Her personal aspiration, with support of her team and LVI Associates, is to establish the biggest and most highly regarded Renewable Energy Recruitment business in America!
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