1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your role and how you got there?

I’m Sally Hewick, Operations Director for Gi Group. I’m also mum to Poppy (13) and wife to Richard – or DJ Tricky, star of Gi Group radio as he’s better known! I have been with Gi Group for over 20 years. I started as a temporary administrator and worked my way up.  I actually studied film production at University and normally assumed the role of Producer, which involved getting things organised and done – which is reflective of my role now.

 

  1. Did you encounter any biases in your career because of your gender?

I don’t think I did. I truly believe that if you work hard, you will succeed. That said, I think by recognising that biases do exist, I put myself under more pressure because of my own perception. I felt that I needed to do more than everyone else to succeed and I put a lot of pressure on myself to return from maternity leave after 3 months, only so I did not miss any opportunities. Unfortunately, I now recognise the impact that this had on other female colleagues – they felt they needed to do the same and I am disappointed that I set this precedent. However, as my career has advanced I have ensured that female team members feel empowered to do what is right for them and not follow what others have done. We are all different and this needs to be acknowledged and respected.

 

  1. How did you motivate yourself to keep going in the face of these challenges?

I think society has an expectation of women that differs from its expectation of men. Things are changing and this motivates me. However, I have always worked hard and I will always continue to do so. Part of this may be because I am female, but it is also who I am as a person.

 

  1. What advice would you give to other female talent looking to succeed in a role/career like yours?

Be ambitious, you can be a mum and career focussed. Work hard and be consistent and true to what you believe.

 

  1. What advice would you give to companies to help them create an environment where women can thrive?

Reward on merit and not on gender. Create a non-biased environment and be flexible with all.

 

  1. How has your organisation helped you to flourish in your career?

Gi Group has always empowered me to operate freely within my remit and to share my opinions. They have also supported my career and my development and encouraged me to progress. I feel they value me and in return, I have always gone above and beyond for them.

 

  1. With news that the number of women in FTSE 100 boardroom roles has jumped to 39.1% from 12.5% 10 years ago, how do you envision the future world of work for women?

While progress has undoubtedly been made, I would like to see even more change. However, for me it has to be based on merit, not quotas, otherwise this undermines the whole premise for doing this. Businesses must recognise and appreciate the value gained from having a board comprised of a diverse range of voices, not just a gender equal board and reward accordingly.

 

  1. What do you think male colleagues can do to help eliminate gender bias and support women in the workplace?

This starts with leadership and has to filter down throughout any organisation. Everyone should be treated as an equal, whatever their gender or background.

 

  1. What advice would you give your younger self, or another woman at the start of her career journey?

Don’t expect things to be handed to you, I worked hard and pushed myself to my limits to prove myself. However, make sure you are doing it for yourself and not for anyone else. Moreover, don’t be afraid to say no to things that don’t benefit you.

 

  1. Do you believe we will reach true gender parity in our lifetime?

I would hope so. Things are changing. I see this in the conversations I have with my daughter who is more aware of biases than I was at her age. I also want to be a positive role model for her and (and other female colleagues) and believe that anything is possible if you are willing to work for it.

 

  1. What three words would you use to describe female leaders in your organisation or industry?

Confident, inspirational, resilient.