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"Be bold", that’s one of the key messages Shiksha Gill took away from this week’s Women In Recruitment event. On Monday afternoon Shiksha and Josephine, from our London office, attended the ‘Speed Mentoring’ session where they met 5 inspirational leaders in the recruitment industry: Ann Swain, Sarah Church, Natasha Clarke, Tara Ricks and Sid Barnes.
Split into 5 groups, depending on experience (which ranged from just a few months to many years), the attendees were given the opportunity to speak to each mentor and ask them any questions about recruitment.
Women in Recruitment is all about empowering women in the industry which is the reason Meet is a committed member. ‘Speed Mentoring’ in particular gives ambitious recruiters exposure to successful individuals who have forged long term careers in recruitment and made it to the top. We caught up with Shiksha to hear what she thought about the event, “I came in to work the following day feeling really confident. All of these brilliant women were telling me that I can do it, which gave me a sense of determination because they’ve done it; they’re proof of what you can achieve!”
One of the topics under discussion was diversity, the mentors shared the same fundamental message, “Being different is a good thing, use it to your advantage.” But what Shiksha wanted to know is 'how do you find the confidence to do that?’.
Each of the mentors brought something different to the table, having had different experiences of the industry and therefore had different advice.
For Shiksha, Natasha Clarke was particularly relatable, “Like me she’s really tiny, but she can command a room and was an incredibly inspirational speaker. She talked a lot about finding confidence, telling the group ‘You’ve just got to own it’. Once you’re comfortable with being different and what that brings to your business you will be able to command yourself better on the phone, people will listen to you and they’ll take you more seriously. By playing to her strengths Natasha managed to create a different kind of flexibility with her clients, I thought she was brilliant.”
Shiksha also found Tara Ricks’ story really inspiring, Tara set up her own business, worked through her pregnancy and returned to work shortly after giving birth, her advice: people will judge you regardless of the decisions you make, what is important is whether they are right for you. Her key message was 'break the mould' which Shiksha could really identify with, “Being a young woman in an industry that is male dominated can be daunting, you really do have to embrace the unique qualities that you bring to the table.”
Tara also touched on industry progression, she commented that as an industry recruitment is often slow on the uptake. However, Shiksha felt Meet was different in that way, “From my experience they do a lot to support their staff. Cultivating diversity is about creating a space where an individual feels like they have the potential to succeed. That’s something my manager Ollie has done for me, he’s said ‘I can see that for you and I want that for you’.” Shiksha has the ambition to become a future leader at Meet and she recognises that having a supportive network is essential in achieving her career goals.
She’s also a real advocate for women supporting women, “We’re lucky to have Hannah as an inspiration, she’s proof of where hard work, dedication and being bold can get you. I hope in the future I’ll also be a role model to the next generation of women at Meet and support them in their careers.”
Going forward Shiksha wants to put everything discussed at the session into practice, “We were lucky to be surrounded by a group of like-minded, feminists with similar values at this event. But what’s more crucial is sharing those values with people who haven’t experienced being a minority in the workplace. Josephine and I, both being women of colour, have that experience. I think we have a responsibility to be at the forefront of educating people about diversity so that the business grows in the best way. We want to be championing diversity at Meet.”