International Women’s Day: Our inspirations from last week

International Women’s Day celebrates achievements of women to date and challenges us all to do more to achieve gender equality.  This year’s campaign theme was to ‘Be Bold For Change’.  You can see our pledge to forge women’s advancement here.

On Wednesday 8th March, we attended two events:

The Essex Police Women’s Leadership & Development Forum ‘Let’s Celebrate’ Event

We were invited to help celebrate the achievements of women in the Emergency Services with officers and staff from all genders and all ranks in Essex Police, neighbouring police forces as well as staff from the HNS and the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Throughout the day, we heard from exceptional guest speakers who all shared their life journeys, what had inspired them in their careers, how they had managed to progress and how they had overcome challenges.

Some inspirational reminders for us all:

  • Feel the fear, do it anyway – you will learn more by stepping out of your comfort zone
  • Anything can be changed. Push paper walls over, don’t be afraid to challenge
  • Follow your dreams & seek out new opportunities
  • Identify what you stand for, establish and manage your own brand
  • Voice your ambition
  • Don’t judge people by age
  • Challenge inappropriate behaviour
  • Be true to your own values everyday

Cityparents’ Speaker Series with guest speaker Nicola Horlick

Nicola became the youngest director of merchant bank SG Warburg aged just 28.  She turned around the assets of Morgan Grenfell, and set up the Societe Generale fund management business from scratch.  She is now a restauranteur, author, film producer and head of crowdfunding company Money & Co.

Nicola shared her life journey, on balancing a successful multifaceted career, with being a mother of six.  Here are some of her practical tips:

Have a sponsor
Nicola advises that if you want to get ahead in a large organisation, you need to have a sponsor – someone with power and authority who is there fighting your corner in the promotion round.

Be bold, lobby
In her first pregnancy in the 80s she was given six weeks’ maternity leave.  In her second pregnancy, she lobbied and got an unprecedented four months.  Be persistent and bold for change.

Keep a balanced perspective
Nicola made conscious choices to work in areas of banking, and limit work travel to be local, so that she could spend time with her family.

Be a team player
Nicola was persistent in changing the team at Morgan Grenfell, she rewarded talent, and changed the top layer so that there was less hierarchy, and new insight.  She believes that this was central to achieving success.

Actively promote yourself
There has been an increase in female board members, but not female senior executives.  Women can tend to think that if they work hard they will get noticed, but it’s important to have a sponsor, and be aware of office politics.

A very inspiring talk to challenge the status quo, champion the support of colleagues, and be bold for change.

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