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StrongHer has enriched my life

About a year ago, I wrote a blog about the grassroots movement StrongHer and why it was so important to me personally. And a year later, I can still say “StrongHer has enriched my life”. Not just mine, but that of over 950 men and women in 51 countries across Alcatel-Lucent.

Why is this? First of all, it has helped me do my job better. I have learned about so many things by creating, growing and participating to StrongHer: about our company and its business, social media and community management, and of course gender dynamics. I also learned a lot about being an “intrapreneur”. How to create an idea and how to make it grow across the company with an astonishing success rate. It is really an enriching experience to learn how to bring people together, to share a vision and to develop a global network of influence around that vision. I also increased my network with amazing people inside and outside Alcatel-Lucent, and in particular the other co-founders and board members of StrongHer, the leaders of StrongHer antennas around the world, who developed and made StrongHer the great network it is today. There is a place for everyone in StrongHer, around core values of respect, empowerment of self and others, impacting business and society and challenging status quo, enjoying & shining to one’s full potential, as well as true collaboration between members of the network.

The video above shows the reality of the StrongHer network filmed over a 3 week period in Paris but also virtually around the world. Most importantly, it shows that StrongHer is not another company women network; it is special for 3 reasons:

- StrongHer is an employee network, independent of any institution or organization, open to all in Alcatel-Lucent and today counts 18% men in its members, who contribute to the debates and engage in the local events

- StrongHer is a truly global network, spanning over many countries & cultures. Thanks to our company social platform Engage, StrongHer has become an amazing international and collaborative network, respectful of differences, spreading awareness on gender issues, brainstorming on solutions, exchanging and supporting each other. StrongHer even won the Engage Award earlier this year, as a recognition of the most dynamic online community, with impact in real life.

- StrongHer actively partners with other stakeholders inside and outside the company (HR, management team, other employee groups, networks in other companies, diversity influencers…) who act with the same goal of improving gender diversity.

In only 2 years, StrongHer has achieved a lot. It has brought the topic of gender diversity and the importance of women to the front. It is a vivid proof of employee expectations and interests for this topic. It has become a key partner of Alcatel-Lucent corporate diversity program, increasing its impact with employees. It has been a stage to give visibility to dozens of women, in panels and through the StrongHer award (an initiative to demonstrate a new vision of leadership, where women have received recognition from their peers for being inspiring role models). And one of the unexpected success: StrongHer has become a great contributor to motivation and engagement for its members, creating a space of true support and respect.

I know StrongHer will continue to build on this strong network to create bridges across organizations and employees (e.g. with mentoring), contribute to the visibility of amazing women and men in Alcatel-Lucent, and enrich their lives. It is a successful part of Alcatel-Lucent’s business and a new model of employee co-development for other organizations too.

Follow StrongHer on Twitter: @Strong_Her

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