Money matters, it’s cool to be good with it

After season one of Netflix’s Drive to Survive, ESPN saw a fifty percent uptick in the number of people watching Formula One. We were two in that camp, addicted to the drama, humanity, David and Goliath battles, and an anomaly of the sport that makes your teammate your biggest competitor.

How is F1 relevant to an article about money? Because they both suffer from unfair stigma. Ask us five years ago what we thought of the sport, and we’d have said, ‘it’s a bunch of cars racing around in a circle’. How wrong we were. And how wrong you are if you, like 45% of women, think money isn’t for you.

Women are socialised to avoid money

Over the last 100 years, women have gradually been granted access to the financial systems that rule our world. The right for women to work, earn equal pay, apply for credit, and be a financial decision maker, are all relatively new. These rights were hard won – the patriarchy didn’t roll out the red beige carpet, throw a welcome party, or hand over the jargon-riddled user manual.

We may now have legislated equality, but laws alone don’t change deeply ingrained money biases. Girls receive less pocket money than boys, and parents are less likely to teach girls about investing; we pay a 50% ‘pink tax’, and so on. This probably explains why the finance world still feels so foreign for many of us. That’s even before considering the myths about women and money, myths that have prevailed despite being well and truly disproven:

Women are big spenders: despite earning less, we save more.
Women aren’t good investors: we outperform men.
Girls are bad at maths: there’s no cognitive difference between sexes.

Women are actually excellent at money 

In a Drive to Survive style revelation, it turns out that women are very good with money. We are so good at it that we’ve managed to earn, save and grow it despite the lack of access to financial systems. Throughout history, we have found creative ways to build financial security. Here’s to the spinsters taking on low-paid labour, the hidden brains behind some high-profile male investors, and the well-accessorised who use jewellery as a source of accessible wealth.

Turns out, most of the things you believe about women and money are probably incorrect – unless you already think that we are better than men when it comes to saving and investing. Because we are, it’s there in the research. Don’t get too much of an ego though, because our differences are actually beneficial. It means we avoid silly risks and take a curious and pragmatic approach to achieve money goals over time 📈. 

Let’s get greedy 

The word ‘greed’ has come up a lot since our PowrUp episode on negotiation. When we’re socialised to ‘take one for the team’, it’s easy to feel selfish when we demand what we deserve. 

The gender pay gap is still a defining feature of modern economies, so damn right, we should want more. We still don’t have enough. Congrats to the handful of women who tuned into the podcast, then immediately put their mouths where their money should be and negotiated your pay. You’ve already increased the earnings of this community by tens of thousands of dollars, and we applaud you #WomenOfAction. 

If you’re concerned about being perceived as greedy when negotiating, pause to remind yourself that you’re the gender at the wrong end of the pay gap. Then take a deep breath and do it for yourself and the sisterhood. 👊

It’s time to take control

Taking control of your money means taking control of your life. Too many women still waive their participation in long-term financial decisions, and in a surprising twist, millennials are even more likely to hand the reins over to their husbands

We fought hard for those rights, and half of us abdicated them. 

We’re not trying to make you feel guilty, but opting out has long-term consequences for your financial security, especially when life takes a surprising turn. Learning the basics takes so little time. It’s worth handing over some household load, so you have time for finances. Sound familiar? Yes, how we operate in our houses mimics the workplace; we get stuck with invisible work when we should be contributing to strategy. 

Progress, not perfection

It really, really doesn’t matter what money mistakes you’ve made in the past, what opportunities you’ve missed, or how little you know; money is one of the few things in life that rewards you threefold for whatever effort you put in. And it’s never too late to start learning.

30 second action:

Organise a money date – it takes 30 seconds to send out a calendar invite to some friends. Then all you need is yummy food and drinks and these free conversation cards we helped create, to get the conversation flowing. Already good with money? Great, you’re perfectly positioned to shortcut the journey for other women.

Welcome to our new podcast: PowrUp 🎙️

The world is better when more women are in positions of power and influence.

As the world emerged from Covid, we left Hatch and were shocked to find that, while we’d been growing our business, every gender equity metric had slid backwards. 🫣 We’re no spring chickens, but we still get ID’d occasionally, making us exceptional. We have high levels of self-confidence but take that claim literally: we are the exception to the norm. In a world where women-founded startups receive under 2% of venture capital, ours was acquired after 5 years. Women comprise a quarter of executive positions, and we’ve both held them.

But we shouldn’t be exceptional. So, we left our cushy corporate roles to open source the leadership playbook and get more women represented in positions of power and influence at every level.

Our newsletter was our first step, and our podcast, PowrUp, is the second. Think of us as your personal cheerleaders, providing the tools to equip yourself with the confidence and skills to shape your career on your terms. Of course, we hope to entertain, enlighten, and inspire you along the way. 🫶

In ep 1, How to negotiate your salary, we challenge you to get what you deserve. Learn the best ways to capture and communicate the value you bring to the table. Prepare for this critical conversation from giving yourself a pep talk to having a plan b.

In ep 2, What is the Metaverse? we demystify today’s digital worlds. This is your jargon-free (and tech-bro-free) guide to the new digital realm. Learn about the women shaping them and why, as women leaders, we must be across developments in virtual reality.

In ep 3, Imposter Syndrome, get unfiltered advice on overcoming the fraud in your feelings. Learn the surprising history and bust the myths behind this global ‘epidemic’ experienced by high-achieving women leaders.

You can listen to PowrUp in all its glory on any of your favourite podcasting platforms – make sure to hit subscribe or follow so that you get notified when new episodes drop each week!

How to run an effective meeting

Most meetings stink. Yes, even the ones you organise. Many Employees Eagerly Talking (see what we did there?) is the best-case scenario. Next time you’re at the 50-minute mark, look around. Someone is checking their phone, someone is doing other work, and you’re probably organising your household chores. Most have tuned out. 

Give people space, and we’ll fill it! Case in point, meetings never ever ever finish early, do they? Harvard Business Review estimates that we are losing billions from wasted time – not including the hours we spend grumbling about our jammed calendars. Want better? (we know you do!). These six meeting hacks are backed by science – so let’s reclaim our precious time.

1. Do you even need a meeting?

Before you flick out yet another invite, mentally go through this checklist:

2. Articulate the agenda

In one sentence, can you describe why you are meeting? The purpose should be clear before you join; if it’s not, it’s worth asking. One person prepping an agenda is far faster than many people figuring it out on the fly. 

You are meeting to move forward on something, so here’s a simple structure: What do we need to share? What do we need to decide? What are the following actions required? Assign the tasks using a what, when and, importantly, who framework. 

3. Meetings aren’t a spectator sport 

The leaner the invite list, the more time it leaves for the uninvited to get on with it. Trust us; there’s no FOMO when it comes to meetings. Meeting minutes are meeting manners, so assign one person to note down significant discussions, critical decisions and next steps. This 2-minute read can help non-attendees to stay in the loop in a fraction of the time.

4. Try the 15-minute meeting on for size 

Calling all efficiency aficionados. Research shows that we can only pay attention for 10 to 18 minutes before checking out. If meetings are unavoidable, try scheduling them for 15 minutes. Don’t trust yourself? Set a timer and stand up! Popularised by Silicon Valley, the stand-up meeting is designed for brevity – the longer you stand, the more uncomfortable you’ll get. And yes, you can still stand on video.

5. Ban phones (gasp)

Ruthless! Studies have shown our colleagues judge our scrolling – but we know very well that phones are distraction machines. Basecamp and others also ban laptops. Pull out the bic; handwritten notes are more memorable, anyway. It also gives you an excuse to get a lovely planner – an industry expected to balloon to $1.8 billion – someone’s on to something here!

6. The 10-minute rule

It’s time to ban ‘back to backs’ – they are no longer a badge of honour. Let’s give everyone back 10 minutes to review their tasks, collect themselves and turn their sights to the purpose of the next meeting. 💥

It’s time to make home life work for you

In the middle ages, unmarried women had a harder time finding work. They were relegated to low-value jobs like spinning wool – and that, Powrsuiters, is why the term ‘spinster’ exists today. 

Modern women have very different prospects than their medieval sisters. These days, men are the main benefactors of marriage – even if many are oblivious to the health and happiness they gain. Their wives? They’re statistically worse off – even if society refuses to believe it. Those sympathetic assurances that your single friends will ‘find the right man one day’? They’re being directed at the happiest group of all. Our favourite RomCom could have been called She’s Just Not That Into You.

Navigating the complex world of household chores is hard, and not all of us are lucky enough to be single or in a relationship with another woman. 😉 Many Powrsuiters find themselves with a partner who ignored the warnings to stay away from career women and married anyway (#HopesAndPrayersForHusbands).

If you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother.”
Paul Dolan, Professor of Behavioural Science.

It’s time to make home life work for you

When Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, resigned, many assumed she walked away to spend more time with her 4-year-old child. We’re still waiting to hear the same rationale applied to a male politician who renounces their position. Neve is a gorgeous wee girl, but the double standards faced by working women and men are anything but. 

Many Powrsuiters have experienced the challenges of juggling the personal and professional firsthand. Last week, we spoke to an executive coach who works with a select few high-performing executives. While you’d assume the biggest challenges facing this group would be their immense workplace responsibilities, her recent sessions with a top-tier director have instead focused on negotiating household chores with her husband. 

Another conversation last week reinforced what we already know; household demands negatively impact women’s careers. In the middle of a (second) glass of wine at a lovely Auckland, NZ bar, an ambitious Powrsuiter announced that once women had children, it was unrealistic to hope their careers would stay centre stage. 

So this week? We’re taking action.

Maybe women can’t have it all. Perhaps we don’t even want to. But what we can hope for is a better work/life balance. So join us to defy the stats, and create a home life that re-distributes the workload, so that we can reach our career goals, whatever they may be.

Behind every great married woman is a partner who shares the load

No one (apart from Nat) enjoys cleaning. No one (including Nat) wants to do the dishes. But these chores, alongside many others, still need to be done. However, how they are done is totally up for grabs. We’ve picked the brains of experts and professional women and pulled together three approaches to fairly divide the mental load to free up time for the things that matter (pssst. That’s you).

Pay to make them go away

During Anne Elder Knight’s Growing Greatness programme, she asks participants to list all the chores they have on their plates. Then, she asks them to identify the ones they can pay other people to do. Yes, we understand there’s a level of privilege in the ability to outsource your chores – but if you do have spare cash, outsourcing could be your best investment. If money is tight, a short-term arrangement can be enough to buy some sanity – consider paying for a helping hand during stressful seasons.

Divide out the doing

If we had a dollar for every time we heard that women are naturally better at multitasking, we’d be on a flight to Hawaii. Incidentally, women are not better than men at seeing mess either. What we are good at, however, is taking on the role of project manager and doer at home. But we don’t need to. Are you in a relationship with someone who is pathologically unable to remember school trips, appointments, gifts, or the shopping list? Then it’s time to stop trying to make them. Instead, split household roles into two: you can embrace the role of project manager and make sure the house runs like clockwork – but leave all the doing to your partner. Yes, it’s time to walk away from the dishes, washing machine and vacuum.

Own the task

Instead of breaking chores down by role, why not break them down by task? Grab your partner and a glass of something yummy, and create a complete list of everything required to keep your household functioning (or take a shortcut and buy this great game). Divide the tasks fairly between you and agree on the minimum standard you expect for each – i.e. do you really have to iron your pillowcases? Your tasks become your (or your partner’s) responsibility to complete from planning to execution – yep, the whole shebang. Remember to schedule regular check-ins to review and reshuffle work as required.

30 second action:

Invite your partner (or yourself) on a planning date. Change starts with understanding the status quo, so use this date to get clear on who’s currently doing what. Bonus points if you challenge yourself to determine whether it’s a fair division.

Are you managing or leading?

Turns out management really is the problem

When managers account for roughly one in every ten employees, it might come as no surprise that they place an outsized burden on an organisation’s costs and complexity. As a result, organisational structures are constantly being reworked to address demands for efficiency

While many think the titles are interchangeable, managers and leaders actually play very different (and very important) roles – and very few people are good at both. Once you understand the difference, you’ll be able to recognise the two hats and know the right one to put on in every situation.

Management is a role, but leadership is a state of being

Leadership has nothing to do with job titles. 

Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr, Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai and Nelson Mandella are just some of the great leaders of the last century. The commonalities of this varied group perfectly define the label; they can inspire people to buy into a shared vision and give them the confidence to achieve it. 

On top of empathy, charisma and a powerful sense of purpose, these household names have one other vital trait in common; they weren’t promoted to a formal leadership position. Their influence didn’t come from sitting at the top of a hierarchy; it resulted from an incredible ability to inspire change.

Leaders use influence, managers require power – and a manager’s power is bestowed on them by their job title. Within an organisational hierarchy, managers are responsible for controlling how work gets done. They are generally accountable for delivering outputs, which can lead to micromanagement. And while this may have worked in a production line, it can backfire in modern workplaces.

Managers execute a vision, leaders create it

As you rise through the ranks, the importance of exhibiting leadership traits increases accordingly. At an executive level, leaders are expected to see the big picture; understand the business as a whole system, and see how the moving parts interact. They deal in nuance and uncertainty and are adept at juggling competing priorities. Great leaders become symbolic figures; without relying on individual relationships, they can bring people together and engage, empower, and motivate them to achieve their vision. 

Where leaders are artists, managers are technicians. Their role has a narrow focus; to execute the vision. A good manager can understand their team’s tasks and ensure they get done; they are organised, detail-focused, and tactical. They rely heavily on their ability to closely oversee the flow of work, which has become more difficult in a remote/hybrid world. 

Because a manager’s primary focus is on the outputs (not the people performing them), they can make poor leaders. A study of 10,000 leaders within Google found that technical ability came last on the top 8 traits employees identified in an effective leader. We see the irony as organisations tend to promote technically sound experts to leadership positions.

How to show leadership at any level 

While the title of ‘manager’ is only ever assigned, leadership can be exhibited in any situation. We see examples of it everywhere, from the friend who organises a book club to students who speak out against gun violence. Within an organisation, ‘leaders’ are found at more than just senior levels. They’re easy to spot; they’re usually the people others look to for advice and guidance.

The transition can be extremely challenging for those thrust into a formal leadership role (congratulations!). The skills that got you into the position aren’t the ones to make you any good at it. Adding to this seismic shift is a challenge unique to high achievers; they are used to being good at what they do. 

Becoming a good leader at any level can mean putting the skills you’ve honed for years aside and learning an entirely new set almost from scratch. So, regardless of whether you’ve landed a leadership role or are starting in an entry-level position, it’s time to get practising:

Look across, not within
Managers are specialists, but leaders are generalists. To become a good leader, you must move outside your functional comfort zones and look outwards to the bigger picture. Whatever you’re working on, take the time to understand its broader impacts and collaborate with people from other business areas. Especially if it’s an area you need to gain more knowledge of. When making a strategic decision, learn how it relates to the broader competitive and economic environment.

Navigate competing demands
Learn how to make decisions for the good of the whole organisation, not just your area. Departments often compete for budget and people, but leaders must make trade-offs. Next time you’re working on a project, consider the desired outcomes and consider how that might impact your behaviour.

Build empathy over logic
Leaders empower people to achieve results rather than focusing on the outputs they need to deliver. Are you able to succinctly communicate the strategy you’re working towards? Can you align it with the values of the people you work alongside? Have you asked for critical feedback recently?

30 second action:

The next time you’re in a group situation (or watching a reality TV show!), identify the most influential person. No, they aren’t always the loudest. Who does the rest of the group look to for decision-making or to give advice and recommendations? Title aside, they are the leader.

3 career habits to break (and 1 to make) in 2023

We’re 25 days into 2023, which means most of us have done away with our New Year’s resolutions. We thought technology would deliver flying cars by now, but instead, we have apps that can pinpoint the exact day we quit trying to become better people. Most studies on New Year resolutions indicate that the majority of them fail, so we understand the urge to give up while you’re ahead behind and live a heathen life. 😉

In an unscientific Instagram/LinkedIn poll last week (#LikeAndFollow), we did discover that three-quarters of Powrsuiters are looking for positive change – specifically at work. Congrats to the almost 50% of employers who’ve delivered a clear path of progression (the other half might need to subscribe to Powrsuit).

Many of us have ingrained habits that impact our ability to achieve our work goals. We’ve rounded up three that are career-limiting and one that can set you up for success. While motivation is still high and we are still officially in ‘fresh start effect’ season, let’s get down to business.

1. Stop saying sorry 

Two women walk into a bar. They both apologise so much that the bar closes before they finish. Bad jokes aside, start paying attention, and you’ll notice how much time women spend apologising. Amy Schumer’s ‘Sorry’ skit may hit a little too close to home.

A man and a woman bump into each other. She apologises, and he reassures her it’s ok. Studies support what many of us recognise; women apologise far more than men – but the reason might surprise you. Research from the University of Waterloo found that men and women apologise the same amount when they believe they should. Putting aside the trope of men not being able to recognise when they’re at fault, this highlights a very real issue with women and their personal threshold for ‘wrongdoing’. 

A good apology is the outcome of genuine remorse and self-reflection and shouldn’t be an automatic response. When women overuse the word unnecessarily, it loses meaning and is, quite frankly, annoying. 

While it may feel like an innocuous compulsion, over-apologising can highlight a lack of professional maturity. Every ‘sorry’ takes the spotlight off the topic and shines it on an individual’s needs. As you move up the career ladder and are expected to take on more responsibility with less support, constant requests for reassurance wear thin. It may even reduce leadership confidence in your ability to step up – so when the urge arises, bite your tongue


Keep track of how many times a day you say sorry. Keep a count in a physical or digital notepad, and let us know your #SorryCount.

2. Ditch the body obsession

Steve Jobs wore black skivvies every day for a reason: to reduce the mental fatigue that comes from decision-making. Many high-profile leaders have adopted the same habit to free up the brain space for the much-more-important work they have on their plates. Yet, many women still devote much of their brain space to fixating on their bodies.

The latest beauty craze, Buccal fat removal, is the latest in a long line of fads that encourage women to modify themselves to conform to the newest standard. A conspiracy theorist may think the constant pressure to switch up how you look was designed to overwhelm women, so they had less time to take on the world. A regular person would be forgiven for thinking the same.

You, however, can rebel. Be fit, eat healthily, and head to the gym, salon or botox clinic whenever you like – it’s good to feel good. But quit the negative self-talk that’s doing nothing but taking up valuable brain space. 

It’s 2023, and your value doesn’t come from your waist/hips/thighs. As leaders, we must add ‘positive role model’ to our job descriptions – younger people look up to us, and the normalisation of self-hatred is not the future we aspire to create.


Get down with Love, Sex and Goopstrip naked in front of the mirror and look at your body. Recognise the flaws, and find the bits you do like. Get comfortable in your own skin.

3. Neutralise the #PassAgg 

Confrontation is scary; feedback is scarier. Avoiding both in favour of snarky comments, gossiping, backhanded compliments or subtle digs – well, that makes us the toxic ones.  

While there are difficult personalities and dynamics in every workplace, most sources of conflict are simply miscommunications. We often overestimate how much others know about our feelings and can unjustifiably resent the message. Rather than addressing issues head-on, women have been socialised to adopt passive aggressive behaviour, expressing hostility ambiguously and indirectly

Passive aggressive behaviour may deliver short-term validation, but long-term? It negatively impacts our reputations, and we miss out on learning critical leadership skills. 

As we progress up the career ladder, we must neutralise this toxic trait to develop relationships, manage conflict and lean into clear, kind and honest feedback. The ability to constructively assert an opinion has an additional benefit; it lets colleagues know that we do, in fact, have one. 


The first step to breaking the #PassAgg habit is getting comfortable with the fact that it’s ok to disagree with people at work.

One habit to make in 2023: boundaries

Putting your own oxygen mask on first, doing less better, self-care… Boundaries are the hedge that protects your ability to get important sh*t done. The 2022 phenomenon of ‘quiet quitting’ could be more accurately described as ‘acting your wage’, establishing boundaries, and refusing to go above and beyond. Burnout is real, and learning to say ‘no’ can be your best defence

Want to supercharge this habit while minimising pushback? Boundaries, like affirmations, are best spoken aloud. Initiate meaningful conversations about why you won’t accept a 7:30 pm Zoom call or why you switch off on the weekend. Go on, practise clear, kind and honest communication (#NoMorePassAgg!).

We want you to protect yourself so you can smash out some important stuff in 2023, so here’s a simple guide to setting and protecting boundaries: 

Identify your personal values: Use your values to identify your non-negotiables and the boundaries you want to set as a result. 

Plan and communicate them: ‘No’ might be a complete sentence, but it doesn’t make your boundaries more achievable. If dinner with the family is a priority, team planning sessions will help ensure you aren’t landed with end-of-day tasks (and no one is left picking up the slack when you leave). Remember, the more precisely you communicate your boundaries, the more likely they’ll be respected. Rather than ‘I don’t want to work late’, say ‘I need to leave by 6 pm’. 

Protect them: Be consistent. People may try to undermine your boundaries, and letting them slide will confuse matters. If the meeting runs over, your deep work is interrupted, or you’re asked to take on too much work, politely restate your agreed boundary.


The next time you turn down an invite, give the actual reason, not an excuse. You might get pushback from someone trying to violate your boundary (not your problem!), but you’re more likely to grow trust and respect.

5 gender equity practices for 2023

It certainly feels like a long time since Y2K. In the 23 years since the new millennium, we’ve experienced two global recessions, transitioned from flip phones to smartphones, fallen in love with Harry Styles, watched Prince Harry fall out of love with the monarchy… and made progress towards workplace gender equity. However, momentum on the latter stalled during the Covid pandemic when women took on the bulk of childcare, schooling and chores, all while trying to fit in an entire workday from their home “office”. 

We’re nearing the end of Q1 in this new century, so 2023 is the perfect time to ensure we’re on track to hit our gender equity targets. Why?

Diversity is just good business.

Research shows that the broader range of skills and ideas that come from having more women on the c-suite and boards of directors can boost the value of an organisation. A further study from EY found that the increased presence of women on senior leadership teams correlated with increased profits. The benefits aren’t limited to senior leadership positions – we all work better when we’re part of diverse businesses. According to the World Bank, productivity almost doubles when a company eliminates gender discrimination. 

There are proven best practices that can help deliver more profitable and fair workplaces. While these are often multi-year pursuits, in Powrsuit fashion, we’ve broken each down into achievable actions that can be kicked off while we’re all still feeling that new year motivation #noexcuses 💪

1. Hire for diversity

It may be surprising given the influx of diversity programmes, but the recruitment process is still rife with unconscious assumptions and personal biases. Workplaces are often led by men confident in their ability to make objective hiring decisions, but mirrortocracy is still alive and well.

Men are not alone in perpetuating hiring discrimination. In a Harvard study, both male and female managers failed to compensate for a range of deeply ingrained biases and showed a preference for male candidates at every step in the recruitment process. 

The antidote to unconscious bias? Make it conscious. Self-awareness and understanding are a must for any organisation that wants to address its natural preference to reproduce itself in its own image. 

A quick Google will unearth many organisations that provide workplace diversity training to help people better understand their unconscious preferences. Hiring managers should also learn about well-researched behavioural differences between genders and ethnicities – Google is your friend here too.

If you’ve already received training, remember a one-off deep dive is about as effective as a one-time yoga retreat. Addressing your unconscious bias requires regular practice; you’ll find daily opportunities when you pay attention.

2. Fix the broken rung

Were you passed over for a promotion in the early days? We hate to break it to you, but that one event has likely continued to hold you back. Lean In and McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace report found that the biggest obstacle to women’s advancement is the “broken rung” – the very first step we take from an entry-level to a management position. 

According to the McKinsey report, for every 100 men who secure a management position, only 72 women are promoted. As a result, men hold almost twice as many manager-level roles as women. Rinse and repeat up the ladder, and it’s no wonder women make up less than 10% of c-suite roles.🪜

We know that biases lead to women being held to a different standard; men are judged on potential, while women only advance if they have a strong track record. The principles to remove discrimination from the hiring process should also apply to internal candidate progression. At Powrsuit, we love the saying ‘hire for passion, train for skill’ (unless you’re our brain surgeon). 

In 2023, consider:

Measuring the gender composition of managers at each level.
Offering formal mentoring and sponsorship to female team members.

3. Boost learning and development opportunities 

Arguably, companies that invest in their employees’ growth and professional development will retain top talent more easily than those that don’t.

LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report shows that, for many businesses, training has shifted from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘need-to-have’. Skillsoft’s 2021 Women in Tech Report reports that the vast majority of respondents rated opportunities for professional development and training as extremely important to them, but only 42% said their employer currently offers any. When asked about the top challenges they have faced while pursuing a tech-related career, nearly a third of the women surveyed pointed to a lack of training. 

A portion of learning and development (L&D) initiatives should be earmarked to foster core leadership skills for high-performing women, like effective people management, career mapping, navigating conflict and critical conversations. If we want to address the elephant in the boardroom, it pays to focus L&D activities on critical leadership skill gaps that cause women to be under-represented in c-suite roles. Proactively equipping women with financial management and forecasting, decision-making, and ‘future of work‘ skills like data literacy and human-centred design will help address the knowledge gaps that can hold women back. 

In 2023, consider:

Identifying a gap in your onboarding to set your people up for success.
Linking skills training with your employees’ goals and interests.
Supporting leadership courses, mentoring and coaching – all tools proven to support women.

4. Recognise all work (or spread it more equitably)

Writing meeting minutes, organising social events, serving on DEI committees, and shopping for gifts. Sound familiar? Working women accept ‘non-promotable work’ as just part of the job. These tasks are important to the smooth running of an organisation, but the problem is that they tend to fall mainly to women. Our precious time and energy get sucked up with work that goes unrewarded and unrecognised.

University of Pittsburgh professor and author found that the median woman at a large consultancy firm spent 200 more hours on non-promotable work each year than the median man – equating to one month’s worth of dead-end tasks. The firm’s executives were ‘shocked’ to learn about the imbalance. 🤔

2021 report by McKinsey found that women take the lead on employee well-being and diversity, equity and inclusion. While these initiatives are critical in a pandemic and post-pandemic world, organisations fail to reward or recognise them when it comes to performance reviews and promotions.

In 2023, consider:

Catching yourself when you assign non-promotable tasks – can it be made fairer?
Including ‘critical to the organisation work’ (committees and well-being initiatives) in role responsibilities to be formally recognised.

5. Solve your pay equity problem

You know about the gender pay gap; worldwide, women only make 77 cents for every dollar men earn – with The Nordic Region and New Zealand considered the most gender-equal, closing in on 90 cents. Lower salaries, alongside other gendered financial setbacks (caregiving, divorce), mean women risk missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time they retire. 

We are beating a dead horse now; a diverse talent pool improves financial performance, and top talent should be paid what they’re worth. Women are leaving leadership roles at the highest rates ever as they realise on mass that the cost/benefit equation just doesn’t stack up for them anymore.

It’s 2023, and it’s time to get this one right. 

In 2023, consider:

Signing up to pay transparency registers, like the one in NZ called Mind the Gap.
Conducting pay equity audit (google the many PEA options!) to assess gaps – and then fix them.

Turns out, boredom is good for you

5 min read posted 20 December 2022

In 1605, William Camden introduced the case against idleness, declaring that ‘the early bird catches the worm’. Benjamin Franklin argued that ‘time is money’, and Shakespeare’s King Richard agonised over wasting it. Before humans had even discovered gravity, we’d determined that busyness sat next to godliness. We reacted by filling every available minute – because no one wants to find out what work the devil could make for our idle hands.

While television, computers and the internet have been given well-deserved credit for changing the world, the humble clock is an overlooked game changer. The mass production of timepieces was intrinsically tied to the industrial revolution, synchronising transport and labour, bringing precision to ocean navigation, and inspiring the above quotes. Clocks separated us from the organic schedules that had us waking, working and sleeping with the sun and, instead, orchestrated our lives around the movement of two hands. And we’ve never looked back.

Work work work work

Welcome to hustle culture and how we define success in modern society. We’ve collectively fallen into a Busy Trap, with countless books, articles and podcasts glorifying productivity and finding new ways to cram more activities in less time.

All this despite an evolutionary advantage uniquely positioning humans to embrace idle time. Scientists believe humans are the only creatures on earth able to detach themselves from our surroundings and daydream. Rather than embracing it, studies have found people will do almost anything to keep their minds from wandering – even giving themselves electric shocks.

If you need more evidence, think about the unofficial experiment we’ve all participated in during the pandemic. When many of us were presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to decrease our number of hours in motion, most of us didn’t take it. In fact, for knowledge workers, the average workday increased by 48 minutes. 

The joke’s on us 

Not only is it likely that women were behind some of the world’s most famous quotes about time, but the passage of time has also made those quotes irrelevant. In a knowledge economy, it’s no longer hours swapped for money; it’s performance. And the thing about performance is that it’s directly correlated with idleness. Watch any elite athlete, and there’s one thing we should mimic – their ability to do nothing. You might have noticed top tennis players putting their heads in their hands during breaks. They’re not despairing but rather switching off – a technique widely embraced to supercharge their game. 

Work a different kind of muscle

Your brain is a high-performance athlete. It’s not your muscles or lungs you’re conditioning – rather, your prefrontal cortex. Responsible for everything that makes us highly functioning, organised individuals, your frontal lobe is doing a big job. By the end of the year, that little lobe is probably telling you it’s tired. 

But far from the visions of curling up with a good book over the break, many of us will take on the mental load of Christmas shopping, organising family meals, and planning trips. The outcome? Less holiday and more just a different kind of workday. So if you need permission to get down with downtime, this is it – gift-wrapped in a newsletter from your two new leadership besties. 🫶 And we’ve experienced its benefits. On gardening leave after our last startup, we realised that while we’re tough enough to never, ever need a break 😉 – idleness really is life-changing. It’s how Powrsuit came about.

True downtime doesn’t mean taking up a new task like walking, meditating or reading; it means doing nothing. And ironically, doing nothing takes planning, so here are five simple steps to making sure you actually stop. If you ever catch yourself falling into old habits, remember that we’re not birds, worms are gross, and the devil couldn’t care less what you do with your time. Far from plotting how to fill idle hands with work, we hear she’s happily perusing Prada. 👠

Our guide to nothing

Schedule your last workday

Approach this ‘wind down’ day to get on top of work admin and put a full stop to the year. This is your chance to clear your plate and make sure you can mentally walk away from the office.


Recognise that you’ve finished. You made it through a full year! Have a wine and cheers yourself. Far from a feel-good moment, this acknowledgement helps your brain realise that it’s rest time! 🥂

Embrace manic mode (for a limited time)

You’ll likely be unable to genuinely relax for a few days. Do small tasks while in manic mode – clear out a cupboard, light gardening, or get to that photo album you’ve been meaning to complete. It’s natural for your mind to unwind like this; we all do it.

Banish guilt 

When you think, “I should…” or “I must…” – shut it down! You shouldn’t. Remember, it’s essential for productivity that you recharge, even if it means being a mediocre parent


Give yourself proper do-nothing-at-all downtime – even for a few minutes (or 30 seconds) at a time. It takes practice, so start small! 

30 second action

Set a timer for 30 seconds and lie down with your eyes closed. Do nothing but listen to your breathing. 🧘

Mind the pay gap

You know about the gender pay gap; worldwide, women only make 77 cents for every dollar men earn – with The Nordic Region and New Zealand considered the most gender-equal, closing in on 90 cents. What you might not know is the actual dollar figure the shortfall represents. 

We hope you’re sitting down. Lower salaries, alongside other gendered financial setbacks (caregiving, divorce), mean you risk missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time you retire. Generally, women hang up their powrsuits with 30% less in their nest eggs, then have the financially dubious advantage of living longer. Suffice it to say; the ‘retirement gap‘ hits hard.

Women can find it hard to put themselves first, but when it comes to money, we have to. Not only do systemic factors conspire against us, but we unknowingly conspire against ourselves.🤦🏼‍♀️ Many of us are guilty of choosing to conserve money (saving, budgeting), over growing it by maximising our pay and investing the proceeds (stay tuned for a future powr edition for the latter!).

Have you ​​ever (incorrectly) assumed that if you do well, your performance will be recognised and rewarded? It’s ok; we’ve all been there! Salary secrecy means organisations can pay employees what they’ll accept, not necessarily what they deserve. While organisations are still (knowingly or unknowingly) paying different amounts for the same job, it’s up to you to ensure you receive a fair market rate for your contribution.

Because you’re worth it

Researchers have found that women underestimate their value across every industry and level. In a famous university study, students were given the same work and asked to pay themselves what they thought was fair. Men paid themselves 63% more than women. In another experiment, both genders were paid a fixed amount and asked to work as much as they thought was equitable. Guess who worked longer, harder, and did more accurate work? 💃🏻

Data from tech job search platform Otta recently revealed that women candidates suggest between 7-10% lower salary requirements than men – no matter the role or level of experience. Researchers explain that pay expectations come from a different sense of entitlement and self-worth. Thankfully there’s a solution.

Flash your cash

When women know what others are being paid, pay gaps have shown to disappear. In the same university study, another group of women were given fake data on payments to past study participants. Unsurprisingly, after viewing the data, women expected the same as what the male participants had received. Simply by knowing what others make, women are in a stronger position to peg the worth of their work and demand equal pay.

Organisations like Mind the Gap in NZ are celebrating companies committed to pay gap reporting. Also doing great work on salary transparency for our Kiwi Powrsuitors are our friends over at The Curve

In structural attempts to right pay wrongs, legal moves are bringing income into the open. Many US states are passing laws requiring employers to disclose salary ranges in job postings or after the first interview. And some Aussie banks are reinvesting some of their super-profits in removing pay secrecy clauses. Are our eyes watering from those earnings or pride in their attempt to create a ‘more inclusive Australia‘? 😉 Sadly, many organisations are struggling to act in good faith with new regulatory requirements, proving that women can’t rely on structural changes to solve the problem. 

By December, all women are effectively working for free. Global pay gaps between 10-23% mean that the average woman is only paid between 281-332 days out of a total of 365 days. With hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, this week’s action could be more valuable than winning the lottery.

30 second action

Knowing the fair market value of your work is as easy as it is important!

If you work in an organisation with transparent pay policies, just ask to see where you sit. If you don’t, you can still search your local job market for your salary benchmark with Hays (Australia and NZ), Robert Walters (Global) and Glassdoor (Global), or if you are job seeking, try this hack.

You can, of course, always ask people in similar roles what they’re paid (gasp).

Learn how to negotiate your salary

In episode 1 of the PowrUp podcast, Nat and Kristen share their top tips for negotiating your salary. Learn how to be confident, prepared and calm and get what you deserve:

Fear of failure is failing women

At thirteen, Julia Boorstin’s mum told her that women would have equal footing in the workplace by the time she grew up. Now a senior business journalist in her forties, she could be forgiven for wondering when exactly adulthood kicks in. 

Instead, two decades and one book later, Boorstin has turned her mum’s failed prophecy into a study of the women who defy the leadership odds. This tiny group (8% of CEOs and 2% of VC-funded founders) displays surprisingly diverse skill sets; however, she found that their commonalities are far more striking. “Across the board, they all have a growth mindset, combining humility and competence. And that seemed essential”. 

Standford professor Carole Dweck is the brains behind the now ubiquitous theory of growth mindset – the belief that ability isn’t fixed but can be improved. She found that young girls were often told they were smart, embedding the belief that capability is innate. In contrast, teachers and parents usually told boys to try harder, setting an expectation that they could develop new skills. The unsurprising result is that, while no one loves to fail, women take it particularly hard – and this fear of failure can cause women to fumble on their way to the top. 

The frenemy you need to ditch

Attempts to avoid the shame associated with failure lead many women to limit their choices and take fewer risks than their male counterparts. It’s why women are less likely to take demanding courses, negotiate for what they deserve, and don’t apply for jobs unless they believe they’re 100% qualified. Extrapolate it out, and it’s easy to connect the missing dots all the way to the top. Speaking of the top, Boorstin found that the women who make it are almost unanimously united in the rare belief that setbacks are simply steps towards success. 

Here’s how these extraordinary women turn failure into upwards force:

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

Leaders with a growth mindset see failure as a learning opportunity (F.A.I.L = First Attempt In Learning). They accept that trying new things invariably leads to mistakes and develop resilience by pushing through the tough times and bouncing back.

Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd encourages women not to be scared of ‘what ifs’ because she believes the only failure is not trying at all. According to Wolfe Herd, how a person handles fear can determine whether they are successful or not. “I think fear of the unknown and perceived failure is what holds people back,” she says. “I am more scared of complacency than having something not work out. I’d rather take a leap of faith and fall than stand on the edge forever.”

Like everything, practice makes perfect. Take Mrika Nikҫi, a 16-year-old who has climbed the seven highest peaks on seven continents. She’s made a habit of pushing herself to her limit and, as a result, has increased her tolerance for discomfort. We aren’t all Mrika, but we can follow her strategy – embrace difficult situations, see them through and learn from mistakes – even if your first few mountains look more like a molehill.  

Back yourself to learn by doing

You’re probably aware that men are confident with 60% of the required ability, but women feel they need to check every box before applying for that shiny promotion or project. Even if you don’t have all the specific experience required, you’ll probably find reframing your relevant strengths and expertise may be enough to land you the job. So instead of giving up before you start (the only real failure!), back yourself to fill any skill gaps through on the job learning.

Aristotle wrote, “for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In and Option B, encourages women to stop thinking, “I’m not ready,” and start thinking, “I want to do that – and I’ll learn by doing it.” Nat and Kristen? We devoted a whole PowrUp podcast episode to how we built self-belief by saying ‘yes’.


The first step in seeking out failure is recognising your instinct when presented with a growth opportunity.

Think about a time recently when you’ve had the chance to do something different. Was there an opportunity to learn a new skill? Take on a new challenge at work? Run a workshop?

It doesn’t matter whether or not you said ‘yes’ and followed through (although we’d love to hear if you did!). What’s more valuable is recognising how you felt and if the fear of failure kicked in. How might you approach a similar opportunity next time?.

5 communication lessons from Queen of Pop, Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi, an Indian-born American businesswoman and one of the world’s most popular leaders, took PepsiCo’s top spot in 2006. The architect of Performance with Purpose, Nooyi transformed the company over 12 years – delivering 80% growth alongside pioneering strategies to improve the company’s impact on people and the planet.

Now retired, Nooyi is committed to helping other women reach their full leadership potential. She’s penned several books, released a MasterClass and shared countless lessons on climbing the corporate ladder. She attributes her immense success to a single ‘hip pocket’ skill: her ability to communicate complex problems succinctly and clearly. Supporting the theory that failure is a prerequisite for success, this superpower came out of a super flunk – Nooyi didn’t pass Yale’s communication course the first time. It was only during her second attempt that Nooyi learned the value of excellent communication and started honing the skills that became her biggest professional asset. We’ve bottled her lessons from numerous interviews to give you the cheat sheet:

1. Be ultra-prepared

It sounds counterintuitive, but Nooyi believes it’s nearly impossible to simplify information unless you deeply understand the topic. By being the best informed, Nooyi cleared her path to the top – making outsized contributions and gaining a reputation for being indispensable.

Before Nooyi made the tough decision to overhaul PepsiCo’s IT systems, she read 10 textbooks that spanned enterprise systems, process mapping, data warehousing, and data management (#yawn). While many leaders rely on advisors, she credits her often mind-numbing legwork with winning over sceptics and making better decisions. But preparation isn’t always boring – before a keynote speech to the Bowling Proprietors Association, newbie Nooyi boosted her credibility by knocking pins for a week.

2. Tailor messages to how people speak

Nooyi invests the effort required to craft simple, repeatable messages. Because human brains have trouble remembering lists of more than three or four items (we’re pushing it with 5!), she often condenses messages into succinct phrases.

When PepsiCo leaders wanted to coin their purpose-led strategy the “4 Ps: performance, product, planet, and people”, Nooyi disagreed. She wanted an impactful commitment, not fluffy PR jargon. “Performance with Purpose (PwP)” signalled the intent to take deliberate action to tackle rising health concerns and environmental issues. It was also memorable and repeatable – creating the intended movement.

3. Make it personal

Getting buy-in for change takes work, especially when things are going well. What is the best way to do it? Nooyi believes in making it personal.

After identifying industry-changing megatrends, such as a shift toward healthier eating and drinking, Nooyi knew PepsiCo needed to respond – but there was internal resistance to changing successful product lines. To get buy-in, “every part of the transformation had to be framed in a story or experience they were facing”. She talked to her team about executives’ eating and drinking habits and told the story of her daughter’s birthday party guest who wasn’t allowed to drink Pepsi!

4. Thank people (and their parents!)

A genuine and thoughtful thank you goes a long way to strengthening connections and building trust.

When Nooyi became CEO, friends and family showered her mother with praise. Realising parents’ sacrifices to support their children, Nooyi embarked on an epic ‘thank you’ note writing campaign to the 400-odd parents of her direct reports. Anyone who has unexpectedly received a letter will be unsurprised by the overwhelming and far-reaching positive response.

5. Start with the conclusion.

Nooyi learned that simplifying communication starts with the conclusion (or recommendation). A big, surprise finale may sound exciting, but in an attention economy, your audience wants you to get to the point… Something to think about when crafting your next email reply!

Want more?

For more insights from this inspirational leader, follow Indra Nooyi on LinkedIn (we loved her Women’s Day article!)


Next time you hear an acronym, jargon or a concept that you don’t understand, Google it. Bonus points if you email us what it means.

Why an action? Big change comes from tiny habits that stack up over time. Yesterday, you may have ignored a term you didn’t know, but today, you learned what it means. Tomorrow? You could take the lead and replace jargon with plain english.

Amplify your impact as a leader

Get powerful insights and actionable tips straight to your inbox