Women making a difference at your Society
It’s all about girl power. No, we haven’t just time-travelled back to 1998 and the Spice Girl era.
This is 2021 where we are proud to be equal and modern organisation.
We’re proud to have women in roles of seniority on our Board and Executive team.
For us, equality and inclusion are not just business ‘buzz words’ but are part of our vision. We abide by our strong ethics and values, those of which include providing every individual a voice, and every colleague an opportunity to reach their potential, regardless of age, gender, sex, impairment or ability.
March 8 is recognised as International Women’s Day. To celebrate this, we decided to showcase one of our own leading ladies at our Society, and spoke to Louise, our Chief financial officer and member of our executive leadership team.
Making a difference where it counts
Louise Read joined our executive leadership team in 2020 when she was promoted to the role of Chief financial officer.
For her, inspiration comes from strong female role models in her life. She also believes that all too often, the pressure women experience in the workplace originates from themselves rather than from others.
What woman (or women) inspired you?
My grandmothers have had a huge influence on me.
My maternal grandmother was a ‘Wren’ and served as a code breaker during World War two. Later in life, she did a lot of voluntary work through her local church and through community groups like Girlguiding, Mother’s Union and Women’s Institute. I wear her ‘Mother’s Union’ pearl necklace to give me an additional boost of confidence when I’ve got a difficult day in front of me.
My paternal grandmother was told that she had a life-limiting illness in her thirties and shouldn’t have children. She ignored the advice, had two children, fostered a third, and lived into her nineties.
The encouragement both gave me throughout their lives is all the inspiration I’ve needed.
Do you believe there is a strong acceptance of equality at our Society?
Yes. As far as the Society is concerned, it is the ideas and skills that a person brings which is important, not their gender, ethnicity, nationality, or anything else for that matter.
Looking back, until working for the Society, all the businesses I have worked for have been very male dominated, but I’ve never let that put me off or found it to be an issue.
Is there more pressure for women when they are in an executive or management role compared to men?
I can only speak for myself, but I feel that there is a lot of pressure but that is pressure that I put on myself.
I want to be the best I can be. Yet in these modern times, it is a balancing act to get the work/life split just right.
However, I am lucky that I have an incredibly supportive husband and family for the times where the balance has gone a bit awry.
Do you think it’s important to recognise events like Women’s day?
I’d love to say that there was no longer a need for a Women’s day - or any other ‘day’ for that matter- but until we reach that point, events such as Women’s day serve a great reminder of how far women have come.
What advice would you give to young women setting their sights on executive and senior positions in business?
I would say: Don’t be afraid to contact people in executive or senior positions. Most people I’ve come across have been only to pleased to share their experiences. Ask to shadow them, ask for their advice and guidance. For young women, having strong female role models is incredibly important in showing just what can be achieved.
Know where you want to end up and go for it!