Breaking Barriers and Shaping the Future: Celebrating Women in Business Analysis on International Women's Day
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International Women's Day is a celebration of women's achievements, progress, and contributions to society. This year, we are honored to feature IIBA’s own Susan Moore, a female leader who has than 20 years’ experience in the Finance and Insurance industries and in Business Analysis and Project Management roles. You can catch her biweekly, on Business Analysis Live! leading candid practitioner conversations with Scott Bennett, breaking down hot topics in business analysis. As we commemorate this special day, let us learn from her experiences and be inspired to break down barriers and promote gender equality in our own workplaces and communities.
We asked Susan three questions about her career in business analysis and her thoughts on growing in the profession.
As a woman in business analysis, what key learnings have you acquired in your career path?
The most important learning is the importance of communication skills. Written, verbal and non-verbal communication are essential to being a business analysis professional. Moreover, there are a variety of social skills, such as knowing your audience and understanding human behavior, which help you communicate effectively in different situations. And if you want to be a good communicator, you must be an excellent listener. Active and empathetic listening are ways of listening that help us understand and empathize with those with whom we are communicating.
I can’t understate the importance of being adaptable and flexible. The business world is constantly changing, and as a business analyst, we need to be able to quickly adapt to new challenges and shifting priorities. Business analysis professionals need to model agility in the ways that we work. This requires a willingness to learn, to seek out collaboration, and to keep an open mind.
In addition, I have learned the importance of building strong relationships with stakeholders and team members. As I always say, “business analysis is a relationship business.” Collaboration and teamwork are essential for success in any project, and developing trust and respect with those around you can help to foster a positive and productive working environment.
Finally, I have learned the value of continuous improvement. As a business analyst, it's important to constantly seek out opportunities to learn and grow, whether through formal training programs or on-the-job experience. By continually refining my skills and knowledge, I can provide greater value to my organization and help to drive long-term success.
Business analysis skills are an essential asset for women or anyone seeking to advance their career to the highest levels of management. The ability to analyze complex data, identify trends, and develop insights into business processes can help professionals make strategic decisions that drive growth and profitability. We can also apply those same business analysis skills to our personal and career development. They are powerful skills which can foster change in our own lives as well.
Provide your experiences or tips on how business analysis skills can elevate your career?
To leverage these skills for a seat at the “boardroom table”, it's important to focus on developing a comprehensive understanding of the organization's goals and objectives. By aligning your analysis with the broader strategic direction of the company, you can demonstrate your value in contributing to the company's success.
I have personally found that networking and building relationships with senior leaders are another crucial component of advancing your career in the boardroom. Attending industry events, like Building Business Capability, participating in professional organizations, and seeking mentorship from experienced executives can help you gain exposure and build credibility within the organization.
Finally, it's essential to continuously develop your skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices. Make learning a habit! Investing in ongoing education and training, pursuing professional certifications, and seeking out challenging assignments can all help demonstrate your commitment to professional growth and development.
To adopt the right mindset to be a better ally and drive gender parity and equity in business, there are several key steps that you can take:
What’s your advice to others on adopting the right mindset to be a better ally to drive gender equity in the business world?
- Educate yourself: Read books and articles, attend training sessions, and engage in discussions and other allies in your workplace.
- Check your own biases: Make an effort to listen to the perspectives of women and other underrepresented groups and seek out opportunities to learn from them.
- Speak up: Use your position or influence to speak out against gender bias and discrimination when you see it happening.
- Mentor and sponsor women: Take an active role in supporting the careers of women in your workplace by offering mentorship, sponsorship, and other forms of support. Make sure to actively seek out and support women who may be overlooked or excluded from opportunities due to gender bias.
- Be an ally in your personal life: Be an advocate for gender equality in your personal life as well as in the corporate world.
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About The Author:
Susan Moore is the Community Engagement Manager at the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). She is a Product Management professional with more than 20 years’ experience in the Finance and Insurance industries. Before coming to IIBA, Susan worked in Business Analysis and Project Management roles, incorporating business analysis leadership and agile practices into the business analysis teams where she worked. Susan also writes on these topics at TheVirtualBACoach.com. Susan holds several business analysis and Agile certifications including IIBA’s Agile Analysis Certification.