Women in leadership: Acting for today and inspiring the next generation

Date:  22 May 2024

Women in leadership: Acting for today and inspiring the next generation

On 14 May 2024, the Women in Leadership Special Interest Group hosted its latest webinar with participation from healthcare executives from around the world, in collaboration with Alumni Global.

Featuring presentations from female leaders in the healthcare sector in Guinea Bissau and Kenya, the session was an opportunity for attendees to share experiences and advice on advancing in leadership. There was also an introduction to the IHF Leadership Model and how it can be applied in relation to gender equity – a topic that the SIG will take forward in the coming months.

Leading for, with, and through others

“I am on a journey that is truly fulfilling, as I bring along a fellow woman, a girl, a young man, who is being educated to change my country and the world.”

In a presentation filled with insights gained through personal experience, Magda Robalo, Guinea Bissau, President and co-founder of The Institute for Global Health and Development, shared four fundamental takeaways about succeeding as a leader in the healthcare sector.

  1. Find your voice – speak from a position of authenticity
  2. Understand your ambition – make it concrete, and make it about people
  3. Define your narrative – understand the boundaries of your leadership
  4. Be with the people – leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum

Empowering leadership: Nurturing growth within your team

Dr Toseef Din, CEO of M. P. Shah Hospital in Kenya, framed her presentation with the concept of leadership as an act of service to others, rather than motivated by self. Her four guiding principles focused on empowerment.

  1. Practise six essential leadership skills – communication, resilience, empathy, adaptability, curiosity, listening-humility
  2. Foster a growth mindset – challenges, feedback, and failures are opportunities to learn from
  3. Commit to continuous learning – whether training, peer mentorship, coaching, or self-improvement activities that are not work related, activities that stimulate creativity will spur learning
  4. Use your power to influence others as leaders – embody and model trust and integrity, and create a culture of accountability so your team knows they are supported by you to make decisions in your absence

“Bring some humour into your leadership – it does half the work… and centre yourself with inner peace – it makes anything possible.”

Reflections from the global network

Discussion following the presentations included the comment that it is evident that despite operating in different countries and cultures the concerns and desires that are unique to female leadership resonate universally.

Other reflections included an acknowledgement of the importance of showing vulnerability and a human side to be an engaging and effective leader. Questioning “why am I here?”, “what can I give?” and “what do I need?” can provide the right foundations to step forward when it comes to networking.

And there was encouragement to embrace 360-degree networking – to connect formally and informally in settings that aren’t traditionally male networking spaces. It was noted that it is necessary to network with people who are like you and people who are not like you in order to grow.


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