This year's International Women's Day theme is #BreakTheBias. What does this slogan mean to you in your work life?
I've experienced bias at times during the last 10 years of my career. Individuals who didn’t give me the same respect or didn’t give weight to my approach or opinions for no other reason than they just 'didn't like me', which I later learned had to do with the fact that I was younger or a woman (or both!). Thankfully, I don't work with individuals like this anymore! However, I know how it can feel when you're on the negative end of this. It can lead to you questioning yourself a lot. Sometimes it's not until you're in a positive environment without bias that you realize how much easier it is to be collaborative and productive in your role.
What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?
I've seen so much progress in the last decade. Not just at Spencer Ogden but also with every client I've had the opportunity to work with. There's been a real shift around the importance of diverse thinking and the importance of perspective in leadership. For example, when I joined our New York office it was a leadership team made only of white British men. I'm now so proud to say our leadership team here is made up of 4 leaders originally born in New York/New Jersey, with an equal split between male and female members and a mix of Latino, Indian, Fijian, British & Irish backgrounds! I feel proud to be a part of a leadership team that represents true gender equality and promotes mutual respect.
Which women have supported or inspired you in your career path?
I feel like everyone says their mothers here, and that is true for me also. My mum has worked 7 days a week since she turned 18 and is entirely self-taught. My fiancé's mother also, was told she couldn't go to college because the men in the family got priority. She worked her way up from a telephone operator in a hotel to being in wealth management and still works at 76! She sends me leadership books all the time and I love her hunger for learning. Outside of this Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris and of course Queen Elizabeth.
How do we encourage more women to join recruitment?
Sales is such an empowering career when you really give it the time and dedication. I've also had the pleasure of assisting global organisations with appointing female leaders into their business. It's a great way to 'be the change' if you're passionate about gender diversity. We are making a difference with every diverse placement we make!
Why do we need more women in leadership?
In order to be the best leaders we can be, we need to master empathy and understanding for all our people regardless of their background or gender. We need more women in leadership to perfect that balance, so we can continue to develop and inspire people to be better.
How important is it to have male allies who may support women's progression?
It's arguably the most important part of this. It shouldn't fall on women's shoulders to carve out a path for others and fight for equality. I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by male leaders I report to, or that report to me, who champion female leadership in the workplace. My fiancé also champions it with me when I get home after a hard day at work. Only when you're surrounded by those who want you to do well will you truly reach new heights of success.
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