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International Women’s Day Series: Maxeon’s Rachel Burch
Posted April 17, 2024, 8:11 am

In the lead up to International Women’s Day approaches, we took the opportunity to delve into the experiences and insights of women in Singapore who embody this year’s theme: “Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress.”

Maxeon’s Global Internal Communications Director, Rachel Burch, is a formidable presence in the corporate world. As a seasoned leader with a wealth of experience, Rachel’s insights offer a unique perspective on this year’s IWD focus.

When asked to share her interpretation of this year’s theme, “Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress,” Burch shares, “I’ve been fortunate to take part in some amazing leadership courses which open my eyes to career opportunities.” She recounts her journey through the Chief Executive Women Leaders program, designed by women leaders for aspiring women leaders. Rachel vividly remembers the session on ‘Joining a Board,’ a pivotal moment that equips her with practical tools and insights into navigating the path to leadership roles. “Women supporting women can be so powerful,” Rachel emphasises, highlighting the importance of solidarity and mentorship in professional growth.

Reflecting on the role of investments in her personal and professional development, Rachel highlights the significance of mentorship and guidance from seasoned leaders. “One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is to ‘know your business,’ and I make this my number one priority when I start a new role,” she shares. Rachel’s commitment to continuous learning and self-improvement is evident as she describes her weekly coaching sessions with a senior leader and friend, emphasising the importance of accountability and perspective in achieving both personal and professional goals.

On the broader topic of women’s leadership development, Rachel emphasises the need for genuine commitment from senior leaders to drive change at all levels of the organisation. “It needs to be a business priority with senior leader buy-in,” she says, highlighting the importance of embedding diversity and inclusion into the fabric of the organisation’s culture and practices.

As the conversation turns to challenges and barriers encountered on the journey to gender equality, Rachel shares a personal experience from her time in a predominantly male team during one of her pregnancies.

“During one of my pregnancies, I worked in a predominantly male team – many of whom were Dads. They were super supportive – and brought their experience of how their partners may have struggled with pregnancy or being a new mum. It was often assumed that I would want to work from home or would prefer reduced hours, which was absolutely coming from a place of care – but led to me being excluded from meetings, or suggestions that work should be taken off me. It led to many conversations – mainly about understanding that every individual is different and we all have our own way of doing things!

“I would now say to people, look out to make sure you’re not swapping one stereotype for another – sometimes the negative stereotypes are obvious, but it can be harder to recognise positive stereotypes. We are all individuals and it’s so critical to build a relationship of trust with your team so they can tell you want they need, rather than what you think they need,” she concluded.

In Rachel’s narrative, there is a deep sense of resilience and determination—a testament to the power of investment in women and the collective efforts needed to accelerate progress towards gender equality. Rachel’s words resonate with conviction and hope, leaving us with an enduring impression of strength and possibility.

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