To celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, we interviewed some of our senior women to discuss their careers. In this interview, we talk to Claire Laing.
Claire joined Gate One in January 2016. Last year she was promoted to Principal, while on Maternity Leave with her first child! She believes that there are many opportunities and benefits for companies if get gender equality right – organisational, performance, individual and cultural. Although it’s not always straightforward and there will inevitably be challenges. Collective accountability should be taken in prioritising it for the greater good.
1. Who or what has influenced your career?
Always the people I’ve worked with. From day 1 of my career I’ve been really lucky to work with great leaders who have; inspired, encouraged, supported me and made me laugh. You can always learn from everyone you work with – clients, team members at every level and leadership. Rightly or wrongly, as soon as I’m not inspired by who I’m working with I find it hard to be motivated and push myself.
2. What would be one piece of advice you’d give someone who is beginning their career journey?
Be true to yourself and do what excites you. Don’t feel like you have to fit in to a mould and follow others ‘up the ladder’. If you’re not happy in your career then try and do something about it, life is too short and we spend too much of our life working for it not to make us happy.
3. Have you noticed a change in the challenges that women face throughout the span of your career?
Challenges vary by where you are in your life and your current priorities alongside work. Previously I would have cited the main challenges as having an equal voice and opportunities for women and overcoming other people’s biases. In hindsight, these were the challenges I felt at that point in time. I’m currently planning my return to work following maternity leave and the challenges feel quite different – balancing a career and home life; being able to be successful in both elements equally and not feeling guilty when you’re unable to fully commit to one element of your life. I warmly welcome anyone’s thoughts on how to overcome these challenges!