To celebrate International Women’s Day at Verisk—and to showcase Verisk as a leading data analytics company with diverse leadership—Verisk is highlighting its women leaders through a series of Q&A blog posts focusing on this year’s theme, #BalanceforBetter.
We spoke with Nicole R. Braley, vice president, head of Americas marketing at Wood Mackenzie, a Verisk business. Wood Mackenzie, a global leader in data analytics and commercial intelligence for the energy, chemicals, metals and mining, and power and renewables industries. The company, provides objective analysis and advice on assets, companies, and markets, empowering clients to make better strategic decisions.
What do you believe are the major areas of opportunity for gender parity in the workplace?
Identifying opportunities for gender parity should start by recognizing positive constructs and processes already in place. Businesses often "diagnose" a lack of gender parity by focusing on the symptoms rather than using the strengths of the business as a foundation for leveling the playing field. Creating gender parity isn’t simply about identifying problems—it begins by identifying strengths. Using the business itself as a resource for change is more effective than putting a laser focus on what we’d like to change. Change comes from within the organization.
How will you help forge a more gender-balanced world?
Wood Mackenzie is going through transformative change on its path to exceptional growth—our teams are vibrant, diverse, and ever-evolving. If teams continually build on the strengths of individual team members, they’ll achieve greater success. Every day, at the ground level, I look for ways to reinforce a sense of shared purpose among team members. We use this shared vision and common values to unite and guide us in an environment of mutual respect and support. If all leaders take a purposeful and intentional approach to parity by building on the strengths of their teams, the future of a gender-balanced world certainly is within our reach.
Who has inspired you as a leader? How have they promoted gender parity?
I’m inspired by other leaders who are "all in"—not only invested in business goals but also how those goals are achieved and how they affect the market, community, and environment. These leaders are driven by meritocracy, inclusion, and passion, a natural result of which is gender parity.
If you could give one piece of advice to the next generation of women leaders, what would it be?
Secure a cadre of sponsors and mentors for yourself, and encourage others to do the same. Seek constant advice from this group. Mentors not only help steer your long-term career journey but can also help with day-to-day situations. Just recently, I was struggling with a situation that led to feelings of frustration and doubt. A mentor of mine challenged me to have a plan for potential positive and negative outcomes—not radical advice, but timely and objective. I immediately felt a jolt of confidence and knew exactly what to do.
What are you doing daily to ensure your continued growth and development as a leader?
Growth as a leader is ongoing. I use blended learning—both formal and informal development—to build and hone my leadership skills. What’s key for me is being open with my colleagues, my team, and my family about my work in progress. While it can be hard to be open about my growth and vulnerabilities, sharing my goals with others makes me more accountable and builds trust with colleagues.