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Milestones & Transitions: Navigating the Workplace Power Dynamics

“Nothing can be more absurd than the practice that prevails in our country of men and women not following the same pursuits with all their strengths and with one mind, for thus, the state instead of being whole is reduced to half.” - Plato

That is a quote Elisa Mallis, Managing Director and Vice President, Asia-Pacific of Centre of Creative Leadership (CCL) shared to encourage over 30 ladies during the inaugural Breakfast Networking session, Milestones and Transitions, on 29 September 2021.

There are unconscious biases women face in the workplace and even in leadership appointments. Historically, men are often seen as being more strategic, visionary, and influential while women are often seen as being more communicative, better at planning and organising. However, it does not necessarily mean women are weaker in being strategic, visionary or influential.

Elisa explained that these are abilities untapped within women because we are not given enough opportunities to exercise them; but, just like a muscle, it can be trained.

An example would be salary negotiation which was raised. The reasons behind women holding back on negotiating for higher compensation can be categorised into pull and push factors. Pull factors are mainly on self-talk like “I am not good at it”, “I have family responsibilities”, while push factors are systemic, for example, the organisational culture.

Two main takeaways on overcoming the pull and push factors:

  1. Lean in To push past our personal pull factors, speak up over our fears and negative self-talk.

  2. Lift up To be bold enough to overcome systemic push factors, of which men play a really crucial role in becoming our allies on this aspect.

“Be bold and fully courageous in our pursuits.” Let’s lean in, and lift up.

Some resources on women leadership which CCL has dedicated years of research and insights into:

Here are some of CCL’s related articles and resources for your reading:


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Organising Committee: Member Recruitment Organising Team: Ratna Juita Speaker: Elisa Mallis Partner: Centre for Creative Leadership

Author and Artwork: Maeve Woh Editor: Joey Ong


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