Women’s History Month: Shalom Joseph on the women who inspire her
To celebrate Women’s History Month, we chat to Shalom Joseph, Head of Research at The Hopper, about the women who inspire her, the importance of psychological safety at work and how leadership can take many forms.
Women’s History Month is a chance to reflect on the trailblazing women who lead the way for change. International Women’s Day also falls in this month, with this year’s theme urging us to #ChooseToChallenge gender inequality. These events mean a great deal to us at The Hopper, and so we decided to sit down with one of our own female trailblazers to find out more about her personal challenges and inspirations.
1. Tell us about the biggest challenge that you have personally overcome?
Unlearning some of the unspoken lessons I absorbed in my first years out of school, where I worked on energy and interest rate trading floors. The biggest hurdle was realising how much those experiences had shaped me. Doing the work meant distinguishing between which lessons had built me up and which ones were not serving me.
2. What is the most important lesson a manager has taught you? It is critical for psychological safety to be built into a workplace culture by design. This will enable folk to bring their full selves to work, or as much as they feel comfortable sharing.
3. What would you #ChooseToChallenge to make the world more inclusive?
I’d challenge preconceived notions of what leadership looks like. It would be unfair to not recognise the progress that has been made already, but there is still work to do. The world would be more inclusive if we could recognise that leadership has a broader set of traits than the ones we are told. We need to normalise a world where leading with care and compassion is expected, rather than considered at odds with competence.
4. Who is the woman that most inspires you and why?
There are so many inspiring women, but top of mind at the moment is Kamala Harris. She is a wonderful example of challenging the status quo, which in her case is the expected shape and form of a Vice President in the US. She also displays her capabilities and brilliance without sacrificing some of her quirkier personal traits.
I love how she disproves that leadership should look a certain way. Watching Kamala’s swearing-in ceremony was moving. Like many, I had been waiting to see a woman elected for as long as I remember. But it was also jarring and looked odd even to me, simply because it’s something I had never seen. It’s a huge reminder that representation matters – and we need to see more of it!
5. If you could give your 16-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Don’t reduce or change who you are to fit in or to help others make sense of you.
We’re The Hopper - a new tech incubator helping startups at the seed and pre-seed stage, across ideation, incubation, and acceleration. We’re especially keen to close the funding gap for female-founded and female-led startups, but equally open to hearing from anyone with a great idea.