March 08, 2021
International Women’s Day is a day not only to celebrate the amazing achievements of women but also reminds us how far we’ve come and how much left there is to do.
I think back with incredulity about some of the things I have experienced because of my gender. From the much older man who harassed me as a teenager on work experience, to the everyday sexisim most women have experienced. These experiences have sometimes knocked my sense of self but equally they have pushed me to prove my worth and to try and change things for the better.
With that in mind, I am proud of being able to have navigated my way to where I am today. A mother, a designer and a leader. I also recognise that I am fortunate to be able to have the choices and opportunities I’ve had when many women do not. During my 20ish year career my profession has allowed me to travel the world, work for a diverse set of organisations and get to know some amazingly talented people along the way. It’s also been a lot of fun.
Being supported to achieve
Since COVID, I have focused on my young boys' wellbeing and less on my career. I am fortunate to know that I’m fully supported in this and that today on March 8th as children are finally allowed back to school I have been welcomed back to my role as Creative Director.
To work for an organisation that supports me to succeed and allows me to balance my needs as a mother is huge. Part time work with flexibility has allowed me to be more present in my children’s young lives – and to continue to pursue a career I love.
Over the years that support has seen me help drive the transformation of Valtech in the UK from a technology biased organisation to one with design at its heart. Starting with our first NHS project in 2014 where we demonstrated the power of collaborative working and insight driven design, all before GDS was formed. I’ve led many pitches, spoken at meet-ups and at conferences including the Festival of Marketing where I was privileged to talk about my award winning design work for easyJet. Last year at the start of our engagement with London North Eastern Railway (LNER) as our first lockdown struck I pivoted our approach from in person workshops to virtual by facilitating our very first fully virtual ideation session, which was so much fun and allowed Valtecher’s from across the globe to contribute. The success of this has helped to pave the way for how we now collaborate virtually.
My passion for creativity has seen me go from Art Director to Creative Director and to become part of the Valtech UK and Valtech Global Design Leadership teams, where along with my fellow creative leaders we continue to push creativity and to build a community that is inspired and loves to work together. It’s exciting to work with so many talented people and I do my best to promote and support the success of others.
Launching 50+50 in the UK
My colleague Roxana Brongo started 50+50 Women in Digital in Montreal. After being inspired by her success, I launched the UK 50+50 group in the UK in 2018. Through our casual conversations it was clear that many of us had experienced some kind of discrimation or bias related to our gender over the years. This space is designed to help give voice to those issues, to provide support and mentorship and to also be a place to get inspired by the many amazing women around us.
Since inception we’ve had many amazing sessions, met amazing women and importantly we’ve helped to champion conversations around women’s experiences and to challenge gender bias and discimitaion.
Like many women today I hold my hand up and pledge to continue to choose to challenge gender bias and inequality. Vive la révolution!