First West Women’s Network members gathered for a group photo at the First West building in Langley. Troy Landreville Langley Times

First West employee pilots network of women helping women

‘I just think we’re more successful together, when we can help and support each other’

When it comes to empowering fellow female employees, Pam Taugher has seized the reins at First West Credit Union.

The 48-year-old Walnut Grove resident is manager of member intelligence and research with the credit union.

That’s her day job.

But within the company, she started the First West Women’s Network which has grown to 250 employees.

It’s a grassroots group of women inspiring women through insight, knowledge, and skills to view and promote themselves as leaders.

The network was born from a project Taugher participated in with the Minerva Foundation, a Vancouver-based group that provides leadership development programs for women and girls, and partners with organizations to advance gender parity in B.C.

“They have a program called Women Leading the Way,” Taugher said. “It’s leadership training specifically for women. And part of that program is you had to do a work project, and explain how you used the principles that you learned throughout the program, and how you apply it to this project.”

But Taugher didn’t want to do an ordinary work project. She was looking for something much more impactful.

Enter the First West Women’s Network, geared towards helping women within the First West organization view themselves as leaders.

“I think women tend to hold back a bit more,” she explained. “I wanted to show that you could be a leader even when you didn’t hold the (leadership) position. I wanted to have an inspirational group where we network and support each other.

“We’ve done a workshop on building your personal brand, how to write a bio on yourself; we’ve done workshops on authentic leadership; we’ve done panel discussions on how to define leadership.”

This is not an exclusive network, however, Taugher pointed out. Men joining the group do so in a supportive role.

“Every woman will have different experiences in her life as to what the barriers are,” Taugher said. “So just to have those conversations. What are the barriers? Why don’t we feel like we can apply for that position?”

Taugher said “impostor syndrome” will often keep women mired on the lower rungs of the workplace ladder.

“It affects men and women, but it tends to impact women in different ways,” Taugher said of impostor syndrome.

“It’s when you believe that you’re basically an impostor, so that people in some way will figure out that you’re not as smart, or as good, or as talented as they say you are.”

Taugher said men will apply for a position if they meet 60 per cent of the criteria necessary, whereas women, according to research, won’t apply unless they can meet 100 per cent of the criteria.

“That impostor syndrome tends to push (women) back a little bit, more so than with men,” Taugher said.

“So how can we learn from that? How can we understand how that impact is different on women, to remove the barriers within ourselves and within the organization.”

The network, which started with 25 personal invites and now includes employees in the Okanagan and Vancouver Island, is marching towards its first anniversary and has expanded to a committee of leaders in different divisions of First West.

“We put together roles and responsibility documents so now we’re working on what our next event will be,” Taugher said.

In her travels, Taugher has come to understand the unconscious bias against not just women, but any non-dominant group. That’s what drove her to start the network.

“I wanted people to have a voice — and not just me, but everybody,” Taugher said.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Kids team up with Langley realtor to build holiday “homes”

Realtor Matthew Rufh hosted a gingerbread house-building party for the Langley Boys and Girls Club.

Langley hockey player heads to NHL prospects camp

The young player is following in the footsteps of former Giant Ty Ronning.

Metro Vancouver mayors vote to ‘develop’ $1.65B in Fraser Highway SkyTrain plans

Surrey will have to ‘compensate’ for the $56 million already spent on light rail

Langley Rams receiver inks with BC Lions

Jevon Cottoy joined the Rams this season and now has a multi-year contract with the Lions.

UPDATE: Heavy rainfall, strong winds in forecast for Lower Mainland

Heavy rains, snow expected till Friday morning

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Police across Canada probe bomb threats as U.S. authorities dismiss ‘hoax’

A police spokesman said the emails were the same as those received elsewhere in North America

France shooter killed Thursday during police operation

7 more being held by police in shooting investigation

Shootout loss for Canada West against Czech Republic

Team Canada West now looking forward to semifinal game

Ex-Trump lawyer: Hush money paid over election concerns

Michael Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in federal prison

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

Christmas fun at Aldergrove Library: VIDEO & PHOTOS

Youngsters enjoyed decorating a Christmas tree with their homemade craft decorations

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Most Read