In recognition of International Women’s Day 2022, we sat down with the Women of Micdee to learn about their views on leadership, their professional motivations, and the decisions that have gotten them to where they are today.

Today we shine the spotlight on Anthonia Joseph, our Head of Projects:

In your experience, what do you think makes a great leader?

Great leaders are people of talent. I’m going to get mathematical here; Talent for me is not about having a high IQ or good skills in something. No. Talent here speaks to IQ+EQ; IQ being the technical part, plus EQ the emotional quotient. For me, a great leader is someone that is able to balance the technical part with the emotional part in how they relate with people. In any situation, your reaction is not just informed by your ideal standard of how that situation should be, but also by your emotional part. This allows you to pause and think about the best response - Is it something you want to correct? Is it something you want to reprimand? How do you react? That makes a great leader.

What do you think professional women today will look back on and wish they had known or done differently five years from now?

I feel 5 years from now a lot of things that are reflected on are going to be determined by what’s currently documented.  Media plays a huge role as history will show what has been published. Unfortunately, I think the media currently prefer to portray women’s struggles rather than a more holistic view of struggles and successes. Negative things exist and are valid but I wish I could see more women celebrated for their achievements rather than for what they are suffering through. We need to take over the narrative and amplify our successes so that we can look back on them with pride. When we look back 5 years from now, I hope we can see triumphs and successes.

In line with this year’s IWD campaign theme, how you do intend to #breakthebias in the workplace and in life generally?

I intend to help break the bias by celebrating triumphs more - celebrating and publishing achievements. I feel like once I start talking about what I am doing better, what people are doing better, it takes the focus away from individual gender and can actually allow women to be celebrated as human beings rather than as women.

Over the years, have you encountered any barriers to your success or growth as a woman?

I studied Architecture in school and back then, there was a default expectation on male students of Architecture to be better than their female counterparts.  They expected that they were better designers who put in more effort and hours than the girls. I graduated as one of the top students in my class which didn’t do much to assure of my competence in school. You’d hear things like “Girls are better at school doesn’t mean they are better Architects.”What does that even mean?

Thankfully, I have been very fortunate in my work life.  I am surrounded by the most amazing people that have allowed me the chance to try things, record successes or failures, and continually thrive. Their faith in me has been a great confidence boost that I have not had any cause to doubt myself or feel like I’m treated any way because of my gender. It is very easy to grow when you are surrounded by people that encourage your growth.

Was it always part of your plan to become a leader?

Leadership for me was not something that needed planning, it was not something I needed to think about. I was born into a family of three children and I’m the first of my siblings so from a very young age I had to guide my siblings and hold their hands. Moving on to secondary school and then the University, it was not unusual to find me leading groups on projects. Advancing to the workspace with these in my background, it was easy to champion projects and head teams.

I have to add though, that at the workplace you have to get very intentional at some point, which could mean taking on courses, learning new hard and soft skills, taking on opportunities, and just pushing yourself to take the lead even when you are nervous or scared.

What are some of the traits you admire amongst the women you’ve worked with?

One very admirable trait is that the women I work with don’t wait to be nominated. It’s a very powerful thing when you have a list of tasks and a group of people and you find the women just picking them up and running with them.

What is the greatest risk you’ve undertaken in your career?

The greatest risk I would say is transitioning to management. Management here is not what I discussed earlier about leadership. It’s the big one that goes beyond being a natural leader and puts you in a position where you are responsible and accountable to people, and you can actually take the blame if things go south.

I spent 6 years in school studying Architecture so it was challenging at first because I love design but it’s definitely paying off and I have no regrets.

What has helped you build confidence professionally?

I would say the people around me because as a leader and a manager, there is nothing as stimulating as actually having people listen to you. When people trust you, listen, and actually follow through, it’s a massive confidence booster. I could easily give some generic feedback and say read these books or get mentorships but honestly, nothing is as realistic as actually having team members that trust you.