Today we have 29% of senior management that is female globally. But only 33 of the Fortune 500 companies is led by women. It doesn't look like women are having their fair share of leadership. And it is worst, if we look within cultural backgrounds, people belonging to a certain culture or race - It is the moment to ask ourselves: what can we do to make it better? is confidence affecting the rate of career progression for women and minorities?

In todays episode of Learn with Bessern we have an impressive guest: Lily Woi to help us understand the situation and find solutions.

Many studies prove today that women outpace men in the majority of the leadership traits -Interestingly enough, studies have shown that women also tend to rank themselves lower when it comes to assessing themselves and this can be linked to the lack of confidence itself.

About our Guest Lily Woi

Lily has been working in consulting with KPMG, Accenture and Deloitte and today she is a determined entrepreneur. She helps people who:

✅ Can’t break the glass ceiling and step into their first (or next) leadership position

✅ Struggle with being seen, heard and recognised for their value and expertise

Over the past 8 years, she has worked with global leaders and businesses to shift behaviours, unlock potential, transform careers and develop courageous cultures. She has coached and trained clients working in multinationals such as Deloitte, Nest, Hello Fresh, Nike, Pureaffinity, and the British Film Institute.

To reach out Lily:

Access her free mini-course Career Clarity & Success Blueprint: 


Insights from the podcast!!!

if we are not aware about our biases, we fall into the trap of taking decisions in an irrational manner and based in known biological stereotypes, or other traits that are not of value for a company, right. And the thing is, we have seen over and over again, and research has shown that first impression are often wrong. As our first impressions are how we see the other person, not how competent they are but how confident they are and that's when unconscious bias starts to come into place

What are corporations doing in terms of teaching people how to control their biases?

There are increasingly more and more companies that invested in unconscious of unconscious bias training invested in understand how they can make their company more diverse and more inclusive, and how to really leverage and maximize the uniqueness or the diversity that exists within the company.

And looking at where is the glass ceiling?

So we are seeing that a lot of underrepresented groups are getting stuck at the middle management and then breaking through into the senior management. I have seen a lot of companies investing in a lot of initial training but the follow through is not strong. Example If a company has invested a light unconscious bias training, and those are great training, what is the follow through? What is the refresher? How do we bring this more into life? How do we really support individuals to figure out what are their own unconscious bias and how can they consciously bring it to awareness and understand how it impacts their decision making in their specific role? So really, taking it from a corporate level or company wide level and start breaking it down into individual level? And I don't feel companies are doing more of that. Hence companies should improve on that.

To get over biases

So, we have already taken a lot of time to build up our current biases saying Asian people are calm, do not have leadership traits that are required, or women are too gentle. All of the biases that have been formatted by our society. So it has taken within the last 20 to sometimes 40 years to write the code in our brains that this has said this is our shortcut. So you cannot solve the problem by having like an awareness session. You have to rewrite a new code and rewriting a new code it means practice consistently. Then being aware of and already I can tell you, I mean, this by that you mean whoever it is has a gorgeous of defecation. It doesn't mean that we know ourselves that well it takes time it's continuous practice. We only know that the process to get to know each other ourselves better. But if we were constantly practices because an irrational monster dominates us inside of our brain that controls our emotions, our perceptions, so we will always come and have our natural biases taking  control of our decisions. So it's a solution.

The momentum for change

Because when we are in a challenging situation or we are feeling challenged, our natural reaction is to revert back to what's comfortable. Let's just let's just go back to how we used to do it. And in that moment, whether you decide to go back to your old ways, or change to any way, I think that is the decision point where we where we really understand that we actually grow and develop and change as a person


What are the do's and don'ts when either you are a woman or you are associated with a culture of a region?

The first is really understanding some of the feeling misconception or unconscious bias that woman or even underrepresented groups half on themselves is that you do not represent your community. So you can do whatever you want. Make off the mistakes you want. And it's a representation of who you are as a person, but you do not represent woman. You do not represent the Chinese community. You do not represent you know, XYZ committee and I think one of the common misconceptions that I've seen and this really disbelief kind of help kind of get people stuck in where they are is, oh, you know, I can't really do this. How would people react? How would my people react? How people like me react, in my mind representing a good image for my community, and that in turn, in still fear in you.

The second one is about when we look at you know, for example, you mentioned gravitas, or what are the traits of a great leader. So, for example, confidence or decisiveness of presence. Those are a list of traits, and often we have an idea of how that translates to behaviors. But I think it's the deep to disconnect traits and behaviors. traits are what how can I put it treats and neutral? Look, for example, confidence in a confidence is a trait that we see in great leaders with confidence itself. And for however, what this how this translates to actions and behaviors is confidence to you looks quite different to how I demonstrate confidence. Yep. Yes, we agree that it's a common set of traits we see in great leaders. But that does not mean that there is only one way to demonstrate those traits and how do we figure out what does that look like for me, that still fits my style and my personality? So I don't need to imitate someone else. And for example, a classic example it's extra was an introvert, the introvert feeling that I need to constantly be loved to be seen as confidence. But now, an introvert person just has a unique way of demonstrating confidence. And they are soft spoken, and quiet.

What do you think it could be the daily practice that we can start to build our confidence is by gender and culture. Why is it important to create consistency in the practice?

We'd have to repeat them because that is the key word. Yeah, exactly. I like to describe confidence as a muscle. And that's where consistency come in, is you need to be consistent in going to the gym, and or going exercise to maintain your muscle and it's the same confidence you need to consistently do something to keep nurturing and developing your confidence. And if you stop doing it, it will start to shrink.

Lastly, Lily emphasizes on being unapologetically you irrespective of race, gender, age or position.


About Learn with Bessern
The Learn With Bessern Podcast is about exploring the science behind self-development, leadership and well-being. We demystify personal and organization growth.
This episode is hosted by Ivan Palomino
Learn more about Bessern