Introducing Hacia Atherton
CEO, Empowered Women in Trades
Hacia Atherton is the Founder of Empowered Women in Trades (EWIT), a charity established in 2020 to increase female representation in skilled trades in Australia through work experience, educational training and ongoing support.
The ‘Power of Women’ Series Interview Questions
In my experience, women often struggle with self-promotion due to a combination of societal expectations and internalized self-doubt. Society often encourages modesty in women and discourages them from being too assertive or confident. This can lead to a fear of being perceived as arrogant or self-centered, which can make self-promotion feel uncomfortable.
Additionally, many women suffer from what's known as "imposter syndrome," a psychological pattern in which individuals doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud." This can make it difficult for women to confidently promote their own achievements and abilities. I have come up against this wall more than once and it takes a lot of courage to push through it.
It's important to remember that self-promotion is not about bragging or being arrogant. It's about accurately representing your skills, achievements, and potential. It's about making sure that your value is recognized and that you're given the opportunities you deserve.
So, how can we overcome these barriers to self-promotion? Here are a few tips:
- Recognize your value: Take some time to reflect on your achievements and skills. Write them down and remind yourself of them regularly. You've worked hard for these accomplishments and it's okay to be proud of them.
- Practice self-promotion: Like any other skill, self-promotion gets easier with practice. Start small by sharing your achievements with close friends and family, then gradually work your way up to sharing them in more professional settings.
Seek support: Surround yourself with people who recognize your value and encourage you to promote yourself. This could be a mentor, a supportive colleague, or even a professional coach.
Reframe self-promotion: Instead of viewing self-promotion as bragging, try to see it as a form of empowerment. By promoting yourself, you're not only helping your own career, but you're also challenging the societal norms that discourage women from showcasing their achievements.
Remember, self-promotion is not a dirty word. It's a necessary part of professional development and a powerful tool for challenging gender inequality. So go ahead, shout your achievements from the rooftops. You've earned it!
If I could have a heart-to-heart with my younger self, I'd say, "Dear younger me, embrace your curiosity, vulnerability, and empathy. These aren't just buzzwords, they're your superpowers!
Curiosity is your secret weapon. It's the spark that ignites innovation and growth. It's what makes you question the status quo and seek better ways of doing things. So, ask those 'why' and 'how' questions, even if they make you feel like a five-year-old. The answers will lead you to insights that can change the game.
Now, vulnerability. I know, it sounds scary. But trust me, it's not a weakness, it's a strength. It's about being real, being you, with all your imperfections. It's about saying, 'I don't know,' or 'I messed up,' and that's okay. Because guess what? We learn more from our mistakes than our successes. So, don't be afraid to stumble. Each fall is just an opportunity to rise stronger.
And empathy, oh, the power of empathy! It's about understanding that everyone is fighting their own battles. It's about being kind, being supportive. As a leader, your role isn't just to lead, but to uplift and inspire. And there's no better way to do that than by leading with empathy.
So, step into your power, younger me. Be curious, be vulnerable, be empathetic. You're stronger than you think, and you can make a difference. Believe in yourself, and the world will follow."
Pursuing passions is not just a delightful endeavor but also a significant aspect of the 'Meaning' element in the Positive Psychology PERMA framework. When women follow their passions, they are essentially aligning their actions with their core values and interests, which adds a profound sense of purpose and meaning to their lives.
Imagine you're a painter, and each stroke of your brush is a day in your life. Now, wouldn't you want your painting, your masterpiece, to reflect your true colors? That's what pursuing passions does. It allows you to paint your life's canvas with hues that resonate with your soul.
In the grand scheme of life, pursuing passions might seem like a luxury. But in reality, it's a necessity, especially for us women. It's like the secret ingredient in our favorite recipe, adding that extra zest to our lives. It's the spark that lights up our world when the mundane threatens to dim it.
Now, let's talk about the PERMA framework. The 'M' in PERMA stands for Meaning, which is all about having a purpose in life, something bigger than ourselves. When we follow our passions, we're not just ticking off a task on our to-do list. We're contributing to our life's purpose, adding a chapter to our unique story. It's like finding that perfect pair of shoes after a long day of shopping - it just fits!
So, ladies, let's not shy away from chasing our passions. Whether it's starting a book club, learning a new dance form, or launching a startup, let's do it with all our heart. Because when we women are passionate, we're unstoppable. And who knows, our passions might not just add meaning to our lives, but also inspire other women to find their own. After all, nothing is more contagious than the passion of a woman who's on a mission!
Remember, the world needs more women who are unabashedly passionate. Women who dare to say, "This is what I love doing, and I'm going to do it, no matter what." Because when we follow our passions, we're not just creating a meaningful life for ourselves, but we're also paving the way for other women to do the same. And that, my dear, is the power of a woman in pursuit of her passions!
Being a powerful woman, to me, signifies the courageous act of shattering glass ceilings and creating pathways for others to realise their extraordinary potential. It's about taking the reins of my destiny, steering it with conviction, and allowing my passion to ignite the flame of my purpose.
Breaking down glass ceilings is not just about personal advancement. It's about challenging the status quo and opening doors for those who come after us. It's about demonstrating that women are not only capable but also excel in roles traditionally dominated by men. It's about setting a precedent for future generations, showing them that their gender should never be a barrier to their dreams.
Inspiring others to achieve their remarkable potential is a responsibility I hold dear. It's about fostering an environment that encourages growth, nurtures talent, and celebrates success. It's about leading by example, showing others that with hard work, determination, and a positive mindset, they too can reach their goals.
Being in control of my destiny means taking ownership of my actions and their outcomes. It means making conscious decisions that align with my values and aspirations. It means not being afraid to take risks, to step out of my comfort zone, and to embrace change. It's about understanding that I have the power to shape my future.
Allowing my passion to fuel my purpose is what keeps me motivated. It's what drives me to strive for excellence, to overcome challenges, and to never give up. It's about doing what I love and loving what I do, knowing that my work is contributing to a cause greater than myself.
In essence, being a powerful woman is about embracing your strengths, overcoming your weaknesses, and using your influence to make a positive impact. It's about being fearless, resilient, and determined. It's about being you, unapologetically.
Rosie Batty and Brené Brown have been instrumental in shaping my perspective and approach to leadership. Rosie Batty, an Australian domestic violence campaigner, has been a beacon of resilience for me. Rosie's personal tragedy and her subsequent fight for justice and societal change in attitudes towards domestic violence have deeply resonated with me and shown me that even in the face of immense personal loss, one can channel their pain into a force for good. This has inspired me to be a fearless advocate for women in trades, even when faced with adversity.
On the other hand, Brené Brown, a research professor and author known for her work on vulnerability, courage, and empathy, has significantly influenced my leadership style. Brené's teachings have encouraged me to lead with authenticity and empathy, fostering a work environment where these qualities are valued. Brené's emphasis on the power of vulnerability has inspired me to be open about her own experiences and challenges, using them to connect with and inspire others.
Both these women, in their unique ways, have inspired me to be a courageous leader, standing up for what I believe in, and striving to make a difference in the world. They have shown me that leadership is not just about being in charge, but about inspiring change, advocating for those who don't have a voice, and leading with empathy and authenticity.
Maya Angelou's profound words, 'Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women,' have deeply resonated with me especially in my role and Founder and CEO of Empowered Women in Trades. This quote has become a beacon in my mission to increase female representation in skilled trades, guiding my actions and decisions as Istrives to break down barriers and create opportunities for women in the skilled trades industry.
I firmly believes that every woman who dares to step into a trade role is not just empowering herself, but also laying down a path for other women to follow. I see each woman's journey into the trades as a powerful statement, a ripple that can spread and disrupt the status quo. This ripple effect, I believe, has the potential to transform the industry, making it more inclusive and diverse.
In my work with Empowered Women in Trades, I embody the essence of Angelou's quote. Istands up for women in the trades, advocating for their rights, championing their success, and celebrating their achievements. Every initiative I undertake, every program Ilaunch, and every woman I supports is a testament to how I live my life by this quote. Through my actions, I not just standing up for women in trades but is also inspiring a new generation of women to stand up for themselves and for each other.