International Women’s Day at Together: #BreakTheBias.
“There’s a misconception that being feminine equates to a lack of resilience, when the reality is quite the opposite. I experienced this first hand at the start of my career and I’ve worked hard to disprove it. It’s great to see so many successful women across many sectors busting this myth too!” – Sam Evans, Head of Colleague Experience at Together.
Across the world, International Women’s Day is a moment we dedicate each year to celebrating the progression of levelling up the gender balance and shining a light on the achievements of the women around us.
As a recent signatory of the Women in Finance Charter, International Women’s Day is a key milestone on the gender balance journey for everyone at Together.
This year we’ve taken the opportunity to discuss the career defining moments and challenges that some of our female colleagues have faced.
Joanna Vernon Cole, a Risk Manager at Together, reflects upon the positive impact allyship has made on her career. She said: “A wise line manager who was a strong male ally, once told me that women will look at a job advert and only think they’re good enough if she can do 8 out 10 of the requirements. On the other hand, a man will apply if he can do 4. And there are many similar stats that can be found online.
"The moral of this? Believe in yourself and remind yourself to act and speak with confidence even if you don’t feel it inside. Surround yourself with people, regardless of their gender, who have your back and will uplift and encourage you in times when your confidence wavers.”
Catherine O’Brien, Head of Commercial Change at Together, has valued the importance of role models when building her career.
“There are so many role models and people to support you! We’re here to build one another up and help each other get to where we want to be whether we’re a man or a woman,” she said.
Catherine admits, though, that believing in herself and her own talent was something she struggled with when starting out.
“As a young women starting out as a Graduate, I would often compare myself to other people within our business and the industry, and I’ve learnt over the years to just be myself!
“It’s our individuality which makes us unique and we should use this to our advantage when building our careers, regardless of our gender,” she said.
Sam Evans, Head of Colleague Experience, thinks it’s important to take a leap of faith and trust in yourself. She says: “Step outside of your comfort zone as regularly as you can and you will be amazed what you can do and what you can achieve.
“Have a plan and set yourself milestones of what YOU want to achieve and when, and remember success is a combination of integrity and ability rather than the person who just shouts the loudest.”
This point on personal growth is reinforced by Chloe Cotgrave, Head of Customer Transformation.
She said: “Do things that make you feel a bit scared, when you do, you‘ll most likely learn something new.
“When I think about the biggest successes I’ve had in work, I could have easily talked myself out of trying them in the first place if I’d stopped and thought about it too much.”
Pete Ball, Together CEO for Personal Finance and Exec Sponsor for Diversity and Inclusion, knows how critical a diverse workforce is to the future success of all businesses.
He said: “As a signatory to the Women in Finance Charter, we are committed to levelling up the gender balance in our industry, and creating a culture where being a strong ally is just as important as achieving our business goals. In fact, we cannot accomplish the latter without being a diverse and inclusive organisation.
“We continually need new and innovative ideas to continue serving our diverse range of customers in the very best way. The brilliant women we have at Together are instrumental to that.”
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