Podcast: Kimberly King on the 'superpowers' women in the sector need

Listen to the fourth episode of our DevProWomen2030 audio series.

BARCELONA — Women in the global development sector face many of the same challenges those in the private sector do, according to Kimberly King, CEO of HumanTec and the One Island Institute. But upskilling can help ensure that all voices and perspectives are at every table.

That means not only considering the skills of use to the development community but asking what the most important skills being universally appreciated are, King said. She cited “superpowers” such as creativity, emotional intelligence, awareness, integrity, collaboration, and communication, rather than professional skills that have a “half-life” of five years — the time it takes for a professional skill to become half as valuable.

Such soft skills are listed by the World Economic Forum as those that will be most needed to thrive in 2020.

Helen Clark on the need for more women in global dev leadership

To kick off our six-part audio series DevProWomen2030, Devex talks to Helen Clark, former head of UNDP, on how the sector is changing and the implications for women in development.

“When I think about the work of development, I think about this work and when I think about the edge and the contribution women have maybe an extra capacity for, I think these skills of the future are exactly in the sweet spot women have to bring, and must bring, in order to change their future and change the world,” King said.

Through its six-part audio series DevProWomen2030, Devex is speaking to prominent female leaders, practitioners, and recruiters in the sector to find out how changes across the development landscape are impacting women and what advice they have for those entering this space or looking to climb the ladder.

In the fourth episode, Devex spoke to King about what she says are the “superpowers” women need to nurture to thrive in the global development sector of tomorrow. Listen here.

Devex, with financial support from our partner 2U, is exploring the skills and education development sector professionals will need for the future. Visit the Focus on: DevPros 2030 page for more.

About the authors

  • Rebecca Root

    Rebecca Root is a Reporter and Editorial Associate at Devex producing news stories, video, and podcasts as well as partnership content. She has a background in finance, travel, and global development journalism and has written for a variety of publications while living and working in New York, London, and Barcelona.
  • Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is a Reporter at Devex. She covers all things related to careers and hiring in the global development community as well as mental health within the sector — from tips on supporting humanitarian staff to designing mental health programs for refugees. Emma has reported from key development hubs in Europe and co-produced Devex’s DevProWomen2030 podcast series. She holds a degree in journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University and a master's in media and international conflict. In addition to writing for regional news publications, she has worked with organizations focused on child and women’s rights.