International Women’s Day Spotlight: Fran, Sales Director

For International Women’s Day this year we’re talking to some of the Wagestream Women about what it means to them and their experiences in their different fields of work.

Hi Fran, what’s your role at Wagestream?

I’m Enterprise Director here at Wagestream and work with a lot of Blue Light services to help them build financial wellbeing for their staff.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

For me it’s a day to shine a light on women’s equality in the workplace; to celebrate the progress but to also recognise how far we still need to go to be considered truly equal.

What does this years theme, ‘#equalforeach’ mean to you?

It means exactly that – equal for each. To all be given the same rights, standards, expectations, pay, and opportunities as each other, regardless of gender, age, race or background.

Why did you choose a career based around sales?

It always felt like a natural fit for me. I absolutely love meeting new people, trying to understand their story and working to provide a solution – this naturally grew to wanting to understand and support companies and their critical priorities.

Sales is a typically male dominated field. How has that impacted you in your career?

I’ve always worked in male dominated industries and I really enjoy being able to bring another perspective to the table. I think there’s a lot of strength in be able to offer something a little bit different to the status quo. Generally I have never really faced any issues around gender but I’m aware that for many in other male dominated industries, it isn’t always so easy.

What can be done to encourage more women into these types of roles?

That’s a really important question and one that’s quite hard to answer. I think it should start during childhood; teach children, no matter the gender, that there are no limitations on what they can do and that if they’re passionate about something then go and get it regardless of perceived obstacles. I think this works both ways, as we need to break down gender norms on either sides.

As a mother, why do you feel it’s important to keep teaching children about equality?

I’m very passionate about teaching my daughter about gender equality and I take every opportunity I can to bring it to life. Any book, advert, social expectation that’s influencing her; I try and provide a balanced and allow her to choose. I think it’s about looking at everyday occurrences and questioning whether you want them to continue for your children.

What has your experience been like as a working mother?

In one word – challenging. You are constantly fighting your own internal battles of motherhood. I think many parents will understand the trials and tribulations of parental guilt. When you work full time in a fast paced environment, it’s tricky to keep a balance – but we make it work. I think there’s very little support for working families and you just need to make sure that you are working for an employer who will support you through it.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a new mother going back to work?

I think my advice would be to brace yourself. I don’t want to be negative but I do want to be realistic. If you agree early on specific terms with your employer around covering sickness leave and picking up and dropping off schedules then you should be in a good position.

Once the more formal bits are in place it’s good to make sure you’re mentally prepared. Most parents tend to think about leaving their child after such exclusive time with them but there are a lot of other things to consider. Parental guilt, lack of sleep and getting back into the swing of things at work can be a heady cocktail. The best way to tackle it is to just be prepared and make sure your employer is fully supportive.