Many women have historically put their careers on hold when they become mothers. With this trend becoming less common and many women yielding higher salaries than their male counterparts we asked two busy, highly successful women, Lucy Sharp and Laura Walters what advice they would give to women climbing the ladder and their advice and thoughts on returning to the workplace as a mother.
I currently work at Dot - a new global housing brand, using technology to streamline private investment into homes that our residents love. Dot launches in April and I honestly believe it will reinvent the way we buy, sell and rent property.
I left London last year to head back to the bustling northwest and I’m recently back from maternity leave - my little girl Matilda turns one in May. Whilst on paper I’m currently working part-time, the reality is; ambitious tech start-ups are very demanding so I live and breathe the Dot brand when I’m not in our city centre office.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I was runner up for two big European PR awards - ‘PR professional of the year’ and ‘PR of the year’ for my work strategizing for a number of leading tech businesses. I’ve also been listed on the Women in Fintech power list.
What woman do you admire in business?
Aside from Kylie Jenner the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world?! It would have to be Belinda Johnson the COO at Airbnb and one of the most powerful women in tech globally.
What is your key advice to women climbing the ladder?
Don’t be a b**ch! There’s really no need, don’t be a PR stereotype. You don’t have to be Miranda Priestly to succeed in the workplace. You can still excel...and be a good person. I’ve always prided myself in being someone that people respect but more importantly: like. There’s no shame in being nice. However, I’m a big believer that you can’t compromise when it comes to speaking out and not being a wallflower. I don’t take sh*t and I’ll speak my mind even if it isn’t the easiest route to take. No one gets rewarded for free, karma doesn’t exist in the workplace and if you don’t ask you don’t get. If you’re only ever a yes woman, and never push back, you’ll be treated like a mug. Never be afraid to ask for what you’re worth financially - ultimately there are no successful men who felt awkward asking for a pay rise.
You have the gorgeous Matilda at home, any advice to mum’s returning to work as working mothers?
Lucy and Matilda
I was terrified when I was pregnant that I’d be written off by the Fintech world and especially male founders. I was pleasantly surprised when a big global cryptocurrency brand called Luno asked me to consult for them when I was 30 weeks pregnant. I worked with them until I was 38 weeks, and loved every minute of it. My only regret was not working until the day I went into labour! I haven’t found anyone treated me differently when I was pregnant, or when I became a mum and that’s exactly how it should be. In fairness, I was sending out a press release at 5 am with a one-week-old baby asleep on my breast. Women are superheroes and the best multitaskers on the planet. Babies make us work more efficiently - we get more done in less time because we HAVE TO. Advice would be - return when you’re ready; be that 3 months, 6 months or a year! You’re entitled to be a mum. You are as capable if not more than you were before you left. Go in with your head held high and enjoy the chance to be around adults again. Go in with a kick-ass attitude and remind people why things weren’t so good whilst you were away. Don’t be afraid to get your breast pumps out in the office - needs must! Don’t apologise - there’s a reason daddy never does night shifts!!!
Up next we hear from another very successful women in business.
If you know Laura Walters, she is an incredible practitioner who does everything for her candidates and clients and you will soon find out she is a full-time mummy to a beautiful, energetic daughter. We asked Laura, Recruitment Board Director how she does it, who she is inspired by and any advice anyone who is thinking of following in her footsteps!
I could not be prouder of my career progression in the last 5 years, I joined The Candidate as a Recruitment Manager in 2014 and worked my socks off, long days, late nights and lots of partying too. It paid off as now, 5 years on, I am sitting on the board which has been both a refreshing challenge and extremely rewarding.
I think that there are 2 standout moments in my career, being awarded Recruitment Consultant of the Year at our industry awards just a year after joining the energetic world of recruitment. The other being coming back to work as a new Mum and realising that
(a) I could still do it and
(b) I still wanted to do it!
I was anxious that as a new mum my career would suffer but people have been so accommodating that I couldn’t be happier in my job!
Are there any women who you admire in the business world?
My Mum. She is 73 and still works part-time selling new build properties. She is a mother of 3, grandmother of 5 and the best person that I know to party with, what an inspiration!
What advice do you give to women climbing the ladder?
I give this advice to both men and women, listen to those around you and ask questions. Understand that the majority of business takes place because of relationships and so invest time in getting to know people and understanding the long term effects of everything that you do.
Laura and Thalia Walters
What advice do you have for mum’s returning to work as working mothers?
Make sure that you seek advice from other new mums that made their transition back to work easier and explain to those in your team in advance how you’re feeling, support is key.
I have the best employers, they understand that being a mum is my most important job and that by allowing me to do that to the best of my ability, they get loyalty and dedication back in abundance! Having a daughter has inspired me to work that little bit longer, try that little bit harder and get out to that one extra meeting each week.
Thanks to the ladies for the insight into being a successful woman in business and raising the next strong female generation.
If you would like to hear more about women in the workplace read our Women in Digital research.
For all our latest jobs click here.