IWD – Karen Kennedy, Internal Sales Administrator

Celebrating International Women's Day

Karen Kennedy, Internal Sales Administrator

1. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

I think it is important for society to remember and appreciate the role that all women have played in both past and present. From trailblazers like Emmaline Pankhurst and Marie Curie to people like my mum who stayed at home to raise 4 children (3 girls) but was always encouraging and allowed us to fulfil our ambitions and potential sometimes at the expense of her own.

International Women's Day - Karen

2. Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

I don’t think I have ever knowingly faced barriers. I have managed teams of solely women and teams consisting of solely men but have found that both have respected my position, whilst I have respected them in return there has been no issues.

The approach to the teams may have been different but if the organisation has clear core values that everyone adheres to then there should be no barriers in any career be it male or female.

3. What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?

There are two.

There is no “I” in team. Corny I know but so true

Assume makes an Ass of U and me – always check

4. What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

Get your priorities right.

Work/life balance is key.

You can do great things later in life it and the experience you bring can be invaluable. Not everyone wants to be a senior manager but the contribution you can make in any role can be significant and personally fulfilling.

5. Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?

I think Michelle Obama. She was such a support to the President but still retained her individual personality and has proven that she is an intelligent, independent woman. I think she will go on to do great things.

6. Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?

It allows the organisation the opportunity to see things from many perspectives and the greater the perspective the greater the clarity.

7. How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship or senior leadership roles in their career?

I think much of that is innate and does depend on the character of the individual, however, as a working mother the key things for me have been; flexibility in working hours, help with child care costs, recognition of a job well done and encouragement to put forward ideas and opinions whilst feeling that they will be listened to.

8. If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Jane Austen – Not only is she my favourite author but she was a woman way ahead of her time. Witty, intelligent, unconventional, and non-conformative.

Claudia Winkleman – She is so funny, so quick. I love watching her on TV.

My Nan – I lost her when I was only 18. She had 5 boys but controlled them with a rod of iron and raised my dad to be a real gentleman. Would love her to see the woman I have become.