A previous winner of the Women’s Property Network (WPN) Five Star Award and recently recognised as South Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Property by CEO Magazine, Kim Faclier is a YPO Africa member and managing director at Property: Liquidity Services, the African representative of Liquidity Services.
Kim Faclier, YPO Africa member and managing director at Property: Liquidity Services
Faclier shares her experience as a woman in a male-dominated industry, and why she believes every woman leader needs a strong network.
As the MD of the Property division at Liquidity Services SA, your industry is one that tends to be male-dominated. How would you describe your experience within your industry?
Faclier: It’s really a fascinating perspective to look at the problem differently, which is how I’ve operated throughout my career. I’ve always seen being a woman in this male-dominated landscape as an advantage.
I believe that it is important to portray integrity, trust, confidentiality and authenticity – not only in leadership positions but in all aspects of my life. I believe that as a woman, the greatest strengths borne from our biological makeup are compassion, empathy, active listening, nurturing, warmth, innate intuition and patience.
Can you think of a war started recently by a woman? No. Can you think of a woman prime minister who united a country to a record low 26 Covid deaths? New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern. What about a female teenager mobilising the next generation to unprecedented global climate activism? Greta Thunberg.
Consider the recent Tokyo Olympics. The most keenly anticipated race wasn’t the men’s 100m but the women’s, and the biggest stars of the athletics championships were Elaine Thompson-Herah and Sifan Hassan. And then there was Allyson Felix, who says, “The women showed up. I think we’ve been showing up on the track, off the track, in all of the ways.”
There are also many global reports showing higher financial performance for companies with higher representation of women board directors.
Women tend to be their own best friend and often draw longer inspiration and more enduring strength from one’s parental figures than males do. This is most certainly the case for me.
What are you passionate about?
Faclier: Life for me is all about the three Ps – people, passion and purpose.
I have an unquenchable thirst for expansive networking across a global landscape, with a diverse range of people that have been extraordinary and impactful, all who continue to play a huge role in my life.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Faclier: I subscribe to the view that leadership is “the assembly of resources around an idea”. Ken Blanchard’s book on situational leadership stresses the need to ‘tailor your leadership’ style to the level of your followers. Also, that the key to successful leadership is influence, not authority. I’m very action-oriented, an intuitive strategic thinker with a passion for tactical and detailed execution.
What advice would you give to other women who want to cultivate their own network?
Faclier: Done right, the power of networks and networking allow women to identify role models, find mentors and sponsors and expand their business opportunities. Women tend to be more focused on building long-term personal connections or friendships. Women often make contacts through people they know and tend to form smaller, deeper networks based on trust. They also frequently seek advice for both personal and professional needs. In contrast to men, women generally hesitate to ask for what they want out of a networking interaction. Instead, they think about what they can do for the other person first.
Seek to understand the most difficult person in the room. Always listen and think before speaking – this allows us to demonstrate that we are paying attention to the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of others – seeing the world through their eyes. This is crucial to maintaining productive relationships, and sometimes the only way to establish meaningful communications.
Offer everything and always leave something behind on the table – a helping hand, a pain point you can remove from a member’s life, a connection you don’t yet have that someone needs – make commitments to give time to others as that is your most prized leveraged asset that will build a legacy of respect, trust and integrity over the years of member participation.
Why do you believe a network is so important to women, especially?
Faclier: Women need a solid network more, because they tend to be less competitive in forcing collaboration or manipulating things to their commercial advantage than men. If men require something in business, they are likelier to first try and grab it without seeking approval or assistance. A woman needing something will more likely look around to see who is able to facilitate a smoother path for her to obtain what she needs and is not afraid to ask for and take direction. For women to advance professionally, we generally need to exploit our one true advantage — a strong female support group. The support system and gender-specific career advice that women can provide other women are crucial to career advancement. Female mentorship in the workplace is now more important than ever.
As professional women, we have so much to give to younger women who are just beginning their careers. Networking with them is just as important as networking with those who are in positions similar to our own, or positions we aspire to occupy.
YPO is an organisation that facilitates a powerful network of leaders. What role has it played specifically in your journey?
Faclier: The peer-to-peer learning YPO facilitated with my fellow members – who mostly started out as strangers and very quickly become special friends – remains so special. The global networks also provide an opportunity to constantly learn and grow, which continue to improve and enhance my entire family, personal and professional life.
YPO continues to expand my horizons, further develop my intellect, provide unique experiences, hone my thinking and enrich my life, and this is the valueof having access to a strong and powerful network.
I wake up emotionally and physically energised by the collective brains trust I am linked to in YPO, and go to sleep spiritually fulfilled and intellectually nourished each night.