In this week’s episode, we dive into the fascinating journey of two women, who not only spent 30 years working at Boeing but also came together to start their own business. The interview with Susan Ireland, highlights the challenges of working in male-dominated industries and the personal choices that led to their entrepreneurial path.
Susan who comes from Seattle, shares her initial reluctance to work at Boeing due to its established presence in her hometown. Her experience there included focussing on program planning, scheduling, program management, and business operations in the commercial aviation sector.
They both experienced a common path of following procedures and protocols for career progression at Boeing. But after some years, they experienced a turning point although this was entirely separate at the time.
Susan realised it was time to make a change in her career. Her interest in coaching and business development played a pivotal role in her decision to leave. The transition from a secure and fulfilling career to the unknown world of entrepreneurship had to be daunting but her experience meant she had a lot to offer!
What else did we discuss?
Our chat went on to look at the challenges of working in male-dominated industries and how the systems were predominantly set up for men.
The pressure on women to conform to a more masculine way of behaving to achieve success can still be difficult for some. There is also a paradox of receiving guidance from male colleagues who genuinely wanted the women to succeed but were unknowingly guiding them to act like men.
Susan even remembers being told she wouldn’t advance because of her less assertive behaviour. This brought about the realization that excellent business results and performance weren’t enough due to the behavioural expectations from other people. And it can be difficult to feel yourself or authentic under this kind of pressure too.
The moment they stopped worrying about conforming, both Debbie and Susan started gaining confidence. This shift in their perspective empowered them to pursue their own business venture. Now Susan is a coach with her own business and has established www.seasonsleadership.com.
My feeling is this genuinely highlights the importance of staying true to oneself while navigating challenging environments and the power of confidence in pursuing entrepreneurial dreams