This International Women’s Day we asked inspirational women from across our team about gender equality in the workplace and their experiences as empowered female leaders.  

With thanks to Rachel, Rosie, Erica, and Milissa for taking part. 

Rachel Stockell

Rachel is Head of Permanent Solutions at Davies Resourcing.  

Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top?

A gender mix is a must to ensure you have a balanced view in your business from all genders and backgrounds, Diversity is key to ensure your business has an inclusive viewpoint in terms of problem-solving and executing strategy. A business with a gender mix is an attractive proposition and employer of choice who is seen to promote equality and best practice, women in senior roles bring balance and softer skills and high levels of emotional intelligence. 

What do you think is the most significant barrier to achieving gender equality in the boardroom?

Gender pay gap, there will only be equality when pay is equal. Women who have senior positions often find it hard after maternity breaks. Companies need to further support returning mums balancing pay versus part-time options (male and female) – part-time workers are often overlooked for board-level roles. Also, old-fashioned viewpoints on who is best suited to leadership remain a barrier to equality in the boardroom. 

How can women best develop their leadership skills?

This should be open to everyone, so the same way men do. Men should be bought into the conversation to understand the challenges so development within a business from a leadership standpoint is gender-neutral. 

What advice would you give to young women just starting out in their careers?  

Shape your own career, self-motivation is key to succeed, know what your role is and ensure you have clear expectations from your employer and yourself.  You have choices, don’t compromise, be confident in your choices, don’t be afraid to ask for support, make sure your voice Is heard – be brave.

What’s the best piece of career advice you have ever received?  

Don’t sweat the small stuff! Think bigger picture and always look after the people you work alongside. Consistency is key to success. 

Have you been inspired in your career by another woman?

I have had the pleasure of working with many senior female inspirational leaders from my industry and the diverse sectors we recruit into.  I have seen women setting up and scaling their own business from scratch, women who have worked their way through adversity into board-level positions, and women who juggle full-time work with family life single-handed.  All have led by example with high standards and are inspirational women. 

Rosie Raouf

Rosie is Head of Compliance at Davies Resourcing 

What unique perspectives and skills do women bring to the compliance field?

I have found the meticulous and thoughtful nature of women to be extremely beneficial in compliance. In a field where attention to detail is an absolute must, putting time and energy into thinking about the decisions made is essential in managing risk. While either gender can present with these traits, I’ve found that women tend to utilise them in all situations and no matter how many plates they may be spinning.  

Do you have any advice for someone faced with the decision to leave an unethical workplace?

This is a very difficult situation to find yourself in but, one that could present an opportunity for change. If your instinct is telling you to jump ship, then those feelings can’t (and shouldn’t) be ignored. The decision to leave may be the right one for you for a myriad of reasons, but it also may serve you well to consider what changes you could put into motion by expressing your concerns. Speaking up is important as, irrespective of your intent, by staying quiet or simply moving on without addressing the issues, you could become part of the problem. Leaving would personally be my last resort; after working so hard, why allow yourself to be forced out?  

Is your leadership style and approach to compliance different from that of your male colleagues?

I would say that my leadership style evolves based on the needs of the individual, team, or overall working environment. I certainly don’t take a ‘one size fits all’ approach. From personal experience, I’ve found that most female leaders tend to be more flexible in their approach than their male counterparts- perhaps because women tend to be excellent communicators (and that includes a focus on listening). I also think that empathy and mindfulness go a long way in effective leadership- something that women often bring to the table.  

What advice would you give to young women just starting out in their careers?

It’s largely the same advice I would give to young men; be yourself, try your best and treat people as you would wish to be treated. As an aside for young women specifically, I would add a reminder that your voice and opinion matter, knowing your worth is vital (both in terms of salary expectations and in terms of valuing your skill sets) and allow yourself to be pushed aside in the name of good manners is something you will resent yourself for in the long run.  

What challenges have you personally overcome as a woman in your industry?

I have a young family and, as a woman, there is an unspoken pressure to make sure that you don’t lose your pre-baby presence. There is a palpable fear among employers that being a mother can “interfere” with your working responsibilities. Being a working mum is, of course, notoriously challenging but, if I’m faced with a tough day, I remind myself that mothers do an amazing job at a lot of things that are considered routine for them, but that any non-parent would find hugely challenging.
I harness the multi-tasking, organisational and negotiation skills I’ve developed as a Mum, along with the determination I feel to succeed. More importantly, I remind myself that I am still the person I was pre-baby, just modified or even upgraded! My motto is ‘if I can keep tiny people alive on zero sleep, I can do anything!”  

Have you been inspired in your career by another woman? Tell us about your inspiration.

Absolutely. A friend of mine is a completely self-made woman working in construction, working with some of the biggest engineering companies in the UK. It’s a male-dominated environment and, whilst she has faced major sexual discrimination in the workplace, she hasn’t let that stop her from getting to where she wants to be. Her drive, love for her job, and her commitment to keep going is a daily inspiration. 

Erica Booth

Erica is Head of Sales Development and consultant at Payzone 

What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?

Having absolute faith and belief in yourself is crucial. Keeping the goal in the forefront of your mind will help you make decisions and choices that take you down your chosen path. Sometimes as women we can doubt or second guess ourselves.  Reflection is great feedback, keep it curious, uplifting, and positive.  

How did you get started in sales development?

Too many years ago to mention, I was a sales consultant in the beauty industry selling a particular brand into salons and it came to my attention that many of the employees were amazing at treatments however missing out on opportunities to upsell, increase their earning potential and mine. I created a simple sales training course – this I delivered as part of the package to my client’s staff. I loved how much value this brought to my clients, and me.  

What advantage do you feel women bring to the table that make them successful at leading a sales team?

Women bring a unique talent for leadership. Women tend to emphasize building connections, collaboration, shaping solutions and listening. It is these skills where women can really influence ad guide a sales team. 

What advice would you give to young women just starting out in their career?

When starting a new journey of any kind, every step initially is a first step.  Just as a baby may tumble or wobble when making its first steps, remember that’s normal.  Every experience is of value, you may not know it at the time, however somewhere down the line it will be useful. So have many experiences and know that the future is yours. 

What’s the best piece of career advice you have ever received?

If you are fearful, do it anyway. 

Have you been inspired in your career by another woman? Tell us about your inspiration.

I am surrounded by powerful inspirational women. As I write this my heart aches as I think about the close bonds created.  And my absolute delight watching my daughters’ careers flourish. My daughters inspire me every day – the choices they make the wonderful situations manifested to them are wonderful.  It’s only when we look back at how that journey began maybe several years ago can we see the pathway light up. They truly are an inspiration to me. They help reinforce my belief in myself and remind me to enjoy my journey – be in the moment.
My female colleagues are fearless, yet kind. They have a genuine love and desire to see me succeed in all aspects of my life and career, as I do them. 

Milissa Bell

Milissa is a Senior Consultant at Davies Consulting 

What influenced you to pursue a career as an analytics consultant?

My career initially started in customer experience role within a telecommunications company, after about five years in the contact centre I moved to the analytics team and helped the business deploy their speech analytics platform and create the speech content helped the business generate actionable insight from the tech. I was then presented with an opportunity to move into an analytics consulting role and have been here ever since. I just love helping people see the benefit from speech analytics and the impact it can have on the customer experience. It’s really interesting and working as a consultant means I get to work with clients from different sectors and immerse myself in their processes and play a part in making things better for their organisation.  

Do you feel there is a gender imbalance in consultancy roles? If so, what do you consider the biggest barriers for women looking to pursue a career as a consultant?

I do think historically there was a gender imbalance in the consultancy roles, however over the years I have seen the gender imbalance in these roles narrow more and more but there is still a lot that can be done to encourage women into these roles – particularly more senior management roles. I will say that I have seen a real effort in Davies recruiting and promoting women which is great to see, and we have a good ratio of women to men across the team. It doesn’t mean that we can be complacent, it should still very much be at the forefront of organisations agenda when recruiting and promoting, ensuring diversity and inclusion for women of all nationalities and ethnicities.
For me the big barriers that women face pursuing any career is balancing their career with their personal lives, apprehension of pursuing a career in a traditionally male-dominated industry and finally the biggest barrier I tend to come across when talking to women about their own careers is lack of belief and confidence in themselves. Whilst organisations are taking steps to remove these barriers, they are still considerations women have when considering what career path, they would like to follow.
Its why I can’t recommend the women in leadership course enough! It helps build confidence in women and enables them with the skills to be more confident to progress their career where previously they may not have considered a promotion or career journey as a possibility. The course also has enabled me to have confidence in my skills that means regardless of the genders I work with I feel empowered to do my job and take the step up.  

What advantage do you feel women bring to the table that make them successful consultants?

For their team, I think women are brilliant at providing emotional support and take time and care to ensure people’s wellbeing is considered specifically making sure workload was manageable and to encourage a good work-life balance to prevent burnout.
For their clients, we are resilient, creative, and innovative. Women provide a different perspective and approach to how things are done and can easily build relationships with clients in a short period of time, relationships that will lead to ongoing work. 

What advice would you give to young women just starting out in their career?

Don’t leave your career to chance, take control, and clearly define your aspirations and look for opportunities whenever you can. Be brave, don’t be afraid to have different opinions and don’t be afraid to say them out loud. Remember that failure isn’t a bad thing and it’s how we learn, and you should always be ready to stand back up and try again. Be yourself, be open to feedback and if you have a question ask it! Even when things don’t go well that there is always a chance to learn from it and improve.  

What challenges have you personally overcome as a woman in your industry?

A lot of the challenges I have had in my career have stemmed from my own self-doubt and lack of confidence in myself. It has taken some time to try and silence the voice in my mind that tells me I can’t do something! Whilst the voice is still there, I have found that being confident in myself and my abilities has changed how people I work with view me and I’m sure our clients notice it too. 

What’s the best piece of career advice you have ever received?

Know what your values are and stick to them – create your own mission statement and live and breathe by it every day, it’ll be your guiding light when things get tough. Don’t take no for an answer, there has yet to be a problem that I haven’t been able to resolve, some just take longer or a different approach to fix, but I always look at situations assuming there is something we can do to resolve it. 

Have you been inspired in your career by another woman? Tell us about your inspiration.

I’m inspired by women every day – from the women I work with, manage, and interact with. It’s inspiring and motivating to work with women who share the same challenges and work in the same industry, we get to build each other up and support each other when times get tough.  
My other inspiration is a woman called Brené Brown, she is a research professor and has written many books, hosted podcasts and TV shows on vulnerability and leadership. My favourite quote of hers “having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome” she has been a massive motivation for me particularly in my approach as a leader. If you haven’t listened to her pod casts or read her books, I highly recommend that you do!  

Powering your career with Davies Resourcing

At Davies Resourcing, we strive to build an inclusive and creative team that powers innovation for our clients and enhances the career of everyone who works with us. If you’d like to explore joining our team, we’d love to hear from you! 

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