Name: Justyna Michajluk
Role: Management Team Assistant
1. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
I think it is very important to celebrate this day to recognise and appreciate all women who have contributed to society over the years and shaped how our lives look today and also to remind the world that there are still millions of women out there who are not as fortunate as some of us, whether it comes to education, career or the struggles they face at home every day.
2. Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
I have been lucky enough to work with great people over the years, men and women, so no, I haven’t faced any barriers myself. However, I have heard stories and I know It still happens a lot in business these days.
3. What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
‘Enjoy what you do’. No matter what your job title is if you enjoy what you do, you are halfway there already to be great at it. Working hard, investing in personal development, being respectful to people you work with and a bit of luck every so often probably makes up the other 50% of the recipe for being successful.
4. How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship or senior leadership roles in their career?
I think a lot depends on the environment and culture in the company you work for. How open and supportive it is of women in leadership positions. We know there are times when women need to spin many plates when for example becoming working mothers, so it would be great if they could feel like they have the support needed to still perform their jobs. In the end, it is all about the quality of your work, not the quantity of hours you put in. Many studies show that managing styles differ between men and women and diversity is definitely advantageous here.
5. What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. If you know what your dream career is, don’t let anyone limit or stop you whether you want to be a lorry driver, surgeon or a ballerina. Be ambitious. Have a voice and don’t be afraid to use it!
6. Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?
There are a few strong women in leadership positions I have met and had the pleasure of working with over the years and I think they are my biggest inspiration as they are in my working environment. Fortunately I know some of them quite well and can ask for advice if I need it. They are great at what they do, very successful and often started from the bottom before getting to the top.
7. Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?
The workplace exposes you to people with different talents, world views, work ethics, cultures, experiences. I think it makes people more respectful of others. It makes the workplace more creative and innovative. Employees from different backgrounds bring different solutions to the table which makes problem solving faster and helps make better, more knowledgeable decisions.
8. If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Marie Sklodowska Curie – first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first woman to win two Nobel Prizes – I mean what a brain!!! She achieved so much and overcame so many barriers to do so, in times when women were allowed so little.
Madonna – yes, she is controversial, but she has been the Queen of pop music for so many years and never let anyone take the crown off her. She has broken many social barriers over the years and has always been an advocate for diversity, surrounding herself with people from different cultures and of different sexualities.
Martyna Wojciechowska – she is a Polish TV presenter, mountaineer, traveller, journalist, sportswoman and writer. She started her career as a model and TV broadcaster then went on to do a series of amazing documentaries called ‘Woman at the edge of the world’ where she travels around the world showing life stories of women she meets and the social issues of their countries. She even climbed seven of the tallest mountains on Earth and is a licenced racing driver. A great example of a woman being able to do anything she desires.