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Q&A with Dorothy Dalton

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Dorothy Dalton, Founder @3Plus International Ltd.

How would you describe your career path in a few words?

Coherently, incoherent probably covers it. There is a certain symmetry to my path, but with some detours on the way which contributed to the whole. My early career was in HR in the steel industry (my first project was on gender balance) and then in broadcast media. I was able to get some incredible training in these organisations and I certified as a Coach and Trainer way before it was a “thing.”

I was on a strong upward trajectory but I had a chance to move to Luxembourg and the only job I could get was as a Sales Rep. In those days HR people were required to speak Luxembourgish… which I didn’t. So, I had a feet-on-the-street, 10 calls a day job and even though I had no direct sales experience I loved it and was good at it. I eventually went on to become Sales and Marketing Director. until I moved to Brussels.

Here, I combined my HR and commercial experience to become an entrepreneur providing a range of services starting with sourcing and recruitment, which has expanded over the years. I became involved in combating exclusionary workplace behaviors, such as sexism, -discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying. Over the years they morphed into diversity, equity, inclusion and psychological safety territory and part of me thinks that transition has made these workplace traumas more palatable.

What was your most challenging experience and has it changed your mindset?

There hasn’t been one challenging experience, but a series of more minor ones and some observations which changed my mind set. After several international moves I understood early the need for flexibility, adaptability and continuous learning and I am committed to that as an ongoing career or even life strategy. I was an early adopter of social media, so learned the importance of embracing technology and change.

The other factor was seeing my daughter go through the same sexist and gender biased experiences as I did 30 years down the line. I realized if wanted to see change I had to become pro-active and do something about it, which is why I founded 3Plus International.

Today we focus on support for organisations to build diverse, inclusive and gender balanced workplaces through bias managed recruitment processes, training (online, eLearning and in person), coaching and mentoring programmes. We are also active in helping individuals reach their potential, whatever that means for each one.

When you get surprised by an unusual or uncertain context, what do you think?

You would think that at this point in my career nothing much would surprise me, but it does, almost every day there is something. My older and wiser self is able to pause, breathe and reflect. I make a conscious decision if I am going to investigate, take something on or let it go. I am time poor, so I need to be strategic on what I decide to commit to.

Based on your experience, what's the key success factor for a female leader/manager?

First of all I dream about a day when we are so numerous we are not referred to as “female leaders.” We don’t talk about male leaders. I don’t think there is one single key to success. It will depend on each individual woman, her circumstances, skills, goals and her personal definition of the word. But if pushed I would say courage.

The courage to speak up, stand your ground, and above all the courage to let go and walk away.

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