With the beautiful Concordville Country Club as the backdrop for the latest HBA West Chester event on 22 May, Nidhi Saxena, HBA West Chester director at large, marketing, greeted and welcomed 51 healthcare professionals, following an hour of networking and enjoying delicious hors d’oeuvres.
HBA West Chester Vice President Melissa Johnston opened the program with a chapter review and introduced the evening’s keynote speaker: Francine Friedman Griesing, founder and managing member of Griesing Law, LLC in Philadelphia.
Fran immediately captivated attendees by providing startling data regarding gender disparity in the workplace. Her presentation was named You’re Worth It: Negotiating Employment Contracts, Asking for Promotions and Quantifying Your Value.
Fran pointed out that gender disparity is, actually, an important piece of the #MeToo discussion. According to her findings, gender-troubled work environments generally have other disparities as well, ranging from pay inequities to stagnation in promotions and titles. Fran shared that for every $1.00 a man earns; a woman earns only $0.79 for the same job. Moreover, this disparity dips even lower if a woman is an entrepreneur and owns her business.
So where does a woman go to work to enjoy equality in the workplace? Iceland. No country has passed stronger laws, she says. Places, including the UK, are grappling with major imbalances and trying to make amends. London’s mayor is now facing the problem head on, creating #BehindEveryGreatCity to advocate and break down barriers for women. If you want to stay in the U.S, the state of New Jersey is the most forward-thinking state and has passed the most progressive law in the country for women and minorities, Fran noted.
As we’ve read, unfair pay practices seep through every industry including Hollywood. Fran took the group through story after distressing story of inequities, including her own personal struggles in the male-dominated legal industry; one of the reasons that led her to begin her own private practice.
According to Fran, you can help yourself combat gender disparity with preparation. Fran shared some tips to help close this gap:
- Be informed: Gather information and make a gameplan
Glassdoor is one resource for salary and company information. Francine also recommends looking at public court records to see if there has been any discrimination or harassment lawsuits filed by employees against the company. This can provide some insight into how a company treats its employees.
- Determine your value: Back up your experience with numbers
Research salaries for the position, location and years of experience. What awards and recognitions have you received?
- Ask for it: Be direct and command what you deserve
Ask for a mid-year review to highlight your accomplishments thus far. This can give your boss time to rally on your behalf for a raise or bonus. Decide what you will not accept. “Ask for what you’re worth. It’s just business. It’s not personal.”
- Say no: Set boundaries and hold others accountable
It’s hard for women to say no but it’s important to keeping their career on track. Set boundaries when taking on projects. Accept projects that are best for you and your career. Say no to tasks such as planning birthday parties, getting coffee, taking notes in meetings unless these are part of your responsibilities.
- Move on: Accept when it is time to let go
Francine also recommends keeping a work journal on paper and maintain it at home, not at work. Write down the important things that happen at work – the good and the bad. Record achievements, awards and kudos. The journal will come in handy for doing self-assessments for performance reviews and help to support your request for a raise or promotion.
While reviewing contracts, Fran recommended that you enlist help of a lawyer to ensure you are reading the fine print. It is imperative to review items such as compensation, responsibilities, bonus schedules, non-compete and confidentiality clauses, career growth and benefits. Question if your verbal conversations vary from the contract. It’s imperative to have everything in writing.
Fran closed the presentation reminding us that the fight for parity began years ago – and it’s a fight, that unfortunately, continues today.
The evening culminated with Spark award acknowledgements. Christina Norris, HBA West Chester programming team leader and Nidhi Saxena, HBA West Chester director at large, marketing, both won Spark awards for their outstanding leadership and commitment.
The event was attended by a journalist from The Philadelphia Inquirer and published an article on Philly.com which included information about the event, tips on effective networking, as well as information about the HBA's mission of gender parity. The article was also printed in the Sunday edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
HBA West Chester thanks Benchworks for sponsoring this event. Melissa Johnston, president, Benchworks, said “As a creative agency, Benchworks is powered by our people. With 70 percent of our team made up of women, the topic of gender parity is important to our leadership. With some estimates projecting that pay equity won’t be reached until 2059 – well past my retirement date – helping our employees, as well as other women in the life science industry, assess their value and advocate for themselves is a crucial topic that deserves more attention. As such, Benchworks was proud to sponsor this event.”
HBA West Chester would like to encourage HBA members to join the open roles of social media manager and event marketing manager. For any information, please reach out to Nidhi Saxena.
Please join HBA West Chester in the next two outstanding events: