International Women’s Day 2022: Our Female Leaders

 

International Women’s Day is a global day “celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women”, and highlighting gender biases and discrimination.

At Work.Life, we’re very proud that half of our leadership team identifies as female. So for International Women’s Day 2022, we thought – what better opportunity to interview our female leaders?!

We sat down with Sarah Mourtada Sich, our Head of Marketing, Laura Morton, Head of People, and Sophie Turnbull, Commercial Director to learn about their roles at Work.Life, their experiences as women in leadership positions, and to get some of their best advice.

 

What’s your role? What does it involve?

Sarah: I’m the Head of Marketing, which means I have the exciting job of managing the Work.Life brand and marketing strategy.

Laura: I’m incredibly lucky to be the Head of People for the brilliant team at Work.Life. My role is about supporting and developing our awesome teams and being the guardian of the amazing culture that has been growing here since 2015. I’m also the ringleader for Team Happiness. My job is to keep us all focused on what we love about why we come to work each day.

Sophie: I’m the Commercial Director here at Work.Life – so I’m responsible for the sales and marketing function of the business and filling up all of our amazing spaces with lovely members!
 

How would you describe your leadership style?

Sarah: I very much believe in leading by example and would say that I have a ‘democratic’ leadership style, which means I prefer to involve team members in decision making to ensure people feel included, engaged and motivated.

Laura: Honestly? I think I lead from the heart. I’m a very intuitive person who cares a lot about people and teams, so authentic leadership for me has become about bringing the ‘real’ me to the teams I lead and support – not playing a role I think people want to see. The times I’ve delivered the best results in my career is when I’ve really channelled this.

Sophie: I am all about empowering my team to make decisions and to learn and develop within their own roles. I feel I always lead by example and enjoy working closely with my team to understand what motivates them and try to ensure that we as a business are able to support those motivations.

 

How do you think women can develop their leadership skills?

Sarah: Ask people around you. Identifying what you’re good at and what you could be better at is the first step! Asking for feedback from others at all levels will help you identify what you need to work on and then you can ask the same people if they think you’ve improved on the same areas after some time.

Laura: This is going to be controversial as this piece is for celebrating International Women’s Day (!) but I think increasingly we are living in a world where there are more lenses to see through than ‘male’ or ‘female’ leadership. However somebody might identify, in my view they can develop amazing leadership through getting clear feedback on, and constantly evaluating the skills they are looking to develop; and then being intentional every day, in every meeting, call and interaction about how they show up.

Sophie: Don’t be afraid to ask for help or get advice. Understand the areas you need to work on, find people who you believe are good at those areas, and seek help, support or mentorship from them. Take time to understand the people around you, who you can learn from and who you can support as well.

 

What advice would you give a young woman starting out in her career?

Sarah: Don’t be afraid to speak up and give your opinion. This doesn’t mean you need to always be the loudest person in the room (in fact, don’t be that person!), but when you have something to say – say it. It might feel uncomfortable at the start, but this will help grow your confidence and communication skills which are both key traits of a great leader.

Laura: Someone once said to me (it may have been from a book but I’ve never found it) and it really stuck, that in any situation in which you are unsure, you should ‘Act As If’. For me this doesn’t mean pretending you know things you don’t, or acting like someone else – to me it means, if you doubt yourself, act as if you have that self belief and speak up – and your confidence will grow. It’s not a flawless method, but on days I’m not sure and I need to think or lead differently, I try to think like this.

Sophie: Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to put your opinions and ideas forward no matter how small or big they are. Always step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself – you will always surprise yourself how capable you are! Finally, follow a career path that you enjoy, you will always achieve your best in a role that you enjoy.

 

What’s one characteristic you think every leader should have?

Sarah: I think every leader should be selfless – by this I mean that they care for others, are able to share successes, and give credit where credit is due. No one accomplishes anything alone.

Laura: Curiosity. Ask the odd or upfront questions of everyone you work with as a human being. Even if it’s not your natural style or strength, everyone is human, we all battle emotions, motivations, passions, hopes and fears. If you can be curious to understand people as humans, as well as understanding business goals and tasks, it often unlocks a lot.

Sophie: Being a good listener and a team player. Good leaders will always be willing to support their team and be able to identify what motivates their team.

 

What advice do you have for women wanting to go into a leadership position?

Sarah: Be yourself! Sometimes women feel like they have to act more like men to become leaders, and I really discourage that approach. Leadership comes in many forms and you’ll be a better leader if you just be you.

Laura: Don’t wait for ‘a’ leadership position – see everything you do as leadership, even if it’s not directly managing people or a big team. Some of the best feedback I’ve had about my leadership style has been when I’ve showed up as myself and been more focused on my thought leadership and leading my peers than any kind of hierarchy.

Sophie: Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your ideas. Have confidence in who you are and your ability to do the role. Feedback from the people around you is the most valuable feedback you will ever receive so seek it out and then improve on the areas to be a better leader.

 

Want to join the Work.Life team? (you do!) Take a look at our current job openings.

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