I don’t limit myself to a professional bubble
I was raised in an environment where I had the freedom to scale trees, engage in activities with boys and wear jeans. This upbringing may be why I currently possess the fortitude and valor to confront risks and embrace demanding challenges. I operate within the realm of transformation, a domain that demands forward-thinking and boundary-pushing. I actively seek inspiration from my surroundings, whether it be in athletic settings, artistic pursuits, or within the dynamic sphere of the Wyspiański Foundation, where I encounter young, gifted individuals unafraid to reshape the world - Ilona Dzierżanowska, Chief Transformation Officer at ING Hubs, talks about her journey of forging a leadership path, harnessing the power of diversity, and extols the virtues of taking a break from… work.
In the interview for Kornblit Talks Ilona Dzierżanowska raises important issues regarding personal and professional development, among others:
The role of a supportive organizational culture:
“I personally haven’t experienced gender-related limitations. The question is to what extent it’s about my personality and how much the supportive organizational culture influenced it.
While implementing structural solutions is crucial and requires deliberate effort, we should exercise caution not to overshadow the fundamental criterion for selection, which should always be competence.
One of the structural initiatives that ING undertakes to achieve lasting gender diversity in leadership positions is changing the way talented women are hired or promoted. In 2022, we formulated an extensive action plan that includes initiatives such as mandating recruitment agencies to ensure diversity in their candidate pools, including gender diversity.
A noteworthy illustration of our commitment to gender diversity is exemplified by our operations in Romania. Typically, at ING, we aim to have a minimum of 30% female representation in senior positions throughout the organization. However, in Romania, we have achieved an impressive 50% representation of women at all organizational levels. This accomplishment is particularly remarkable given our status as a technology-oriented company, where one might anticipate a more pronounced male dominance within the organizational structure.”
Harmful narratives about gender and roles:
“From childhood upbringing within the family to the educational system, we undergo continuous conditioning into predefined roles. Consequently, it can be difficult for girls to imagine alternative futures for themselves beyond the roles of mother, wife, or caregiver. Likewise, men are often pressured into the breadwinner role, which can also be detrimental.”
The power of reset:
“A sabbatical isn’t merely a time for idleness or relaxation. It can bring about feelings of restlessness and disrupted sleep patterns, as your body responds to the shift away from an extended period of intense work. Prolonged tenure within an organization or in a demanding work environment can lead to a loss of perspective and a stagnation in creativity. I found it necessary to take a sabbatical to regain balance and renew my vitality. As a result, I embarked on my new role with a rejuvenated mind and a revitalized spirit.”
If you want to live a life and develop professionally in harmony with your values, be sure to read this interview: full version available in Polish.