Growing up in a one-parent household, I have from a young age been aware of the importance of self-reliance. For me working is freedom and power, a key to independence which it’s really important for everyone to have regardless of gender. So I worked hard, got my degree and began my career in a graduate role at a global recruitment company and loved it.
My Manager was a strong, no-nonsense woman in a male dominated industry who was one of the best performers in the business and later became, at the time, one of the few female directors.
She was a great role model and always made me feel it was my results above all else which should determine my success. After a few years working agency I was seeking more. I started a Master’s degree in HR and focused on moving in-house where I could see the people I’d hired work and develop. After completing my masters I joined ViCentra, a medical devices start-up with big ambitions to grow and somewhere I felt I could grow too… I was right.
I started as HR Assistant, quickly becoming HR Advisor and within a year HR Manager. All of which has only been possible because ViCentra’s leadership champions internal promotion wherever possible and encourages diversity. 42% of our managers are female in a technical industry and we have over 20 different nationalities. We truly believe diversity is a strength – bringing a balanced perspective and better quality decisions.
Additionally, we focus hiring and promotion decisions based on merit not on stereotype (hello, I’m a Brit working in Dutch HR!).
Of course, there’s no room for complacency. We need to keep pushing to improve and each situation brings unique challenges – I’m looking at you Covid! It’s up to all of us to overcome our inhibitions and step outside our comfort zone, speak up for what we feel is right, and in doing create an open, supportive, and diverse culture which provides the economic empowerment deserved by all.