1. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
I personally think it is so important to celebrate International Women’s Day as it is a perfect time to reflect and understand how far we have come in terms of equality and that should be celebrated. However, I think as much as we celebrate how far we have come it is also important to highlight what work still needs to be done as there is still many women & girls out there who are still fighting their fight to be equal.
2. Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
I wouldn’t say I have faced any barriers so to speak but the industry I work in is very male dominant and your ability and knowledge as a woman is often questioned. I think there are a lot of assumptions within the industry I work in as to whether you have the same level of knowledge as a man in the position.
I would have to say with my age and the fact I am a woman, I have had to prove myself a million times more than a man would have to in the industry, but by proving myself I have overcome those barriers and earned respect from male colleagues.
‘Be yourself in everything you do’. I work in a role where the relationship & trust is key, I try to stick to the advice that was given to me from a young age. By being yourself in everything you do, it often wins peoples trust and makes it so much easier to build a working relationship.
Something that was said to me when I first started with Pilot Group is ‘Have confidence in yourself and your ability’. For someone who has always struggled with confidence, I took this advice and ran with it. It isn’t something that happens overnight but if you start to believe in yourself, everything else will follow. Over time I have proved to myself that I am good at what I do and the reassurance and praise from others has helped solidify this piece of advice for me.
4. How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship or senior leadership roles in their career?
By highlighting women who are in those roles already. For example; a young boy would look up to a professional footballer. Knowing they have made it, provides enough determination to try succeed to their level.
By having an owner of the business who is female is enough for me to know it is possible to succeed to her level.
5. What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
If you can believe you can do it then you can do it. If you have a drive or passion, don’t let anyone stand in your way. With the right balance of hard work and determination, you will get there, however long it takes. Believe and have confidence in yourself.
6. Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?
Two people come to mind straight away, my mum and Simone Peppi (COO of Pilot Group).
From a young age I’ve always looked up to my mum and her journey in her career, she really did climb her way from the bottom to the top. She started out as a sales executive for a newspaper company and after 30 years of hard work and determination, she finished her career as a Commercial Director for the same business. She was spinning a million plates at once, with being a single parent, managing a team of 30 plus people and overcoming personal issues that reared its head etc. My mum always found the time for me and still managed to make me dinner every night after 14 hour days! I will never forget anything she has done for me and I hope to be in a similar position as her in the future.
Simone Peppi – Is one of the strongest women in business I know, she is at the forefront of a business that is working towards helping the world to a more sustainable future. Also, knowing where she started in business and where is she is now is a massive testament to her hard work & determination. You can tell how much the ongoing development of her staff is important to her and I think for the position she is in, it is incredible. She takes the time out of her day (however busy she may be) to help anyone in the PG business as she wants them to succeed in their career and that to me is inspiring, it makes me want to work 10 x harder for her and the business!
7. Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?
Diversity is so important to me, at the end of the day, not one person is the same regardless of age, gender, race, disability or sexual orientation. Regardless of who you are, everyone is going to have different cultures, views, talents and experiences and I think it is important to use all peoples different walks of life to aid better understanding of each other, which actually helps the workplace be more innovative and creative.
8. If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Meryl Streep – Best Actress of her generation. One of my big passions outside of work is acting and she has always been someone who I have admired because she is so so talented at what she does. She has played some amazing & important roles in terms of Influential women in history and has inspired so many budding actresses. I would love to quiz her on her process in preparing for a role and also ask about the barriers she has to face in life and her career as there was probably many being in the entertainment industry.
Margaret Thatcher – Probably a very controversial choice but regardless of whether she did right or wrong by the country, she was the very first female Prime Minister. She ran an entire cabinet which was extremely male heavy, she will have faced barriers on a daily basis but the most important she did was hold her own and was confident in her own ability. I would love to sit down and ask her how she found a daily motivation to keep knocking down those barriers she would have faced.
Princess Diana – After marrying into the Royal Family, Princess Diana could have sat back and lived a life of luxury. However, she took it upon herself to use her status to help as many lives/people as possible, she was an inspiration to people from all walks of life. Behind the scenes, I imagine there would been a lot of barriers she will have had to overcome and I think it would be great to understand if she was still alive what she would have been doing now to make a difference and also get some gossip on the royal family!!