On International Women’s Day, we share stories of women who made a difference to our working lives

On International Women’s Day, we want to recognise and celebrate the role women have played in our careers. These are the trailblazers that have led the way for others and provided inspiration for those around them.

We will share how they have made a difference to us and how we continue to use the lessons they taught us in our working lives.

r10 members share their personal stories with us below.

Beth Cooper, Senior Advisor

“My inspirational woman that I wish to recognise is my HR and Operations Director when I worked in recruitment, Sarah.

Based in Australia, she set up a team of regional HR leads for which I was the one for EMEA.

Under Sarah’s leadership, HR and the business worked hand in hand, providing leadership and direction and identifying the culture of the organisation. She was an equal at the top table. It made the business more effective.

She introduced me to the concept of asking for forgiveness not permission. A simple phrase that encourages adult thinking, ownership, empowerment and innovation. I felt like my eyes were opened.

It’s not always easy to break out of the shackles of ‘parental control’ and embrace ‘adult freedom’ but I hold true to the value of trust in others however uncomfortable it will sometimes make me feel when the control freak in me wants to take over!”

Shaun Howarth, Director – Portfolio Delivery

“The woman I would like to recognise for International Women’s Day is an external mentor during my first Senior Management role. I was managing my first large team, and I needed to improve engagement.

She helped me understand the importance of emotional intelligence and how it can help build effective teams, improve engagement and enhance team performance. She made a difference to me because I understood that the best leaders use a balance of emotional intelligence, as well as IQ. They have a deep understanding of their team’s needs and what motivates them, they then tailor their management style accordingly.

A leader should be a ‘gardener’ to create an environment where the team can grow, they should not be a ‘chess master’ and know all the moves.”

Hasib Dewan, Senior Advisor

“The person I’d like to recognise for International Women’s Day is Uzma Arif, a colleague from King’s College London Students’ Union.

Uzma managed the Student Participation teams – getting more students involved in support services, activities and sport across the university. I looked after all student reception services across the university’s 4 campuses.

Uzma taught me that you can be successful by being both tenacious and caring. While she was a real powerhouse in the office, she was always my go-to person who I trusted to speak to regardless of subject. She always made time for me, which looking back on made me a feel valued in a busy university environment. It sounds simple but is a real skill to get right.

I pledged to carry tenacity forward. No challenge is insurmountable, and you can achieve great results through passion, energy and a well thought through approach.”

Lauren O’Donoghue, Talent and Resourcing Manager

“This International Women’s Day I would like to recognise and celebrate one of my former colleagues in recruitment, Katy.

She brought a wealth of experience, knowledge and advisory skills to our team and business.

Although I never worked directly under Katy in my previous position, she played a key role in my career development and was always an active and supportive mentor and coach. She always took the time to answer questions and give guidance and advise on best practices.

Katy taught me the art of patience and perseverance in the workplace, and how the correct approach in putting your ideas forward can result in great success. I pledge to carry this forward in the work that I do now, breaking ‘glass ceilings’ and helping those around me do the same!”

Jo Flint, Director – People and Business Operations

“This International Women’s Day I would like to recognise and celebrate one of my former colleagues.

Despite being part of an HR team, which is typically female, I have often worked in male-dominated industries. Industries that have very ‘old school’ or traditional behaviours embedded.

My colleague I worked with, decided she wanted to provide an opportunity for men and women to come together and discuss in a facilitated environment how to improve equality within the organisation, through the start up of a gender network.

Even though I have always supported IWD and gender equality as a successful woman, her perspective of inviting and championing men to the table is something that I now use in my career daily.

I always ensure men are part of the equality journey, encouraging and supporting our male champions. Equality is equality for all.”

Who’s your inspiration?