QHow to deal with the old boys’ club Bay Street work environment?

answered September 28th, 2011 by Dr.Nancy McInerney-Lacombe

“In a typical “old [white] boys’ club” Bay St. work environment, what advice do you have for young, visible-minority women who want to be upwardly-mobile but who are always excluded from informally socializing with these men?


If I read this question correctly, I believe it is all young women, not just visible-minority women, who would be excluded from informally socializing with this group. In my experience, those young women who get noticed by the “old boys’ club boys” are the “outliers” – the young woman that pulls an all-nighter at the office to complete that special project against all odds. The young woman who has to be called in by her boss because “she is working too hard”. Those young women build a brand within the organization- they are smart, driven and 100% committed – they can’t help but get noticed. Frankly, they deserve to get noticed. They put in the time and effort that makes them extraordinary and people start talking about them – senior managers want them on their team and directly ask for them. Their brand gets stronger and stronger within the organization and they are the ones selected to attend certain events where they can socialize with the “old boys”. A word of caution – don’t count on the “old boys” to push your career ahead – sure, you may get lucky that the CEO intervenes on your behalf but it’s unlikely. Being the absolute best at what you do and being a great team player will continually strengthen your brand and get you to where you want to go. The question you have to ask yourself is “is it worth it?”


I would like to add a note about the visible-minority component of this question. In my experience, I would say the young visible-minority female superstar had just a slight advantage over the young “white” female superstar in the corporate world. Let’s be pragmatic – corporations tend to manage their EEO (equal employment opportunity) numbers and a visible-minority female superstar gets double points – one for being female and the other for being a visible-minority. That’s the reality.


Hope this helps!



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