International Women’s Day: Q&A with Jenny Fairhurst

March 23, 2019

Frazer Jones is proud to be supporting International Women’s Day 2019. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Whilst we all know that gender parity within the workplace has improved over the past decades, we all also know that there is still a long way to go.

We would like to join the discussion and be part of International Women’s Day 2019 #BalanceforBetter campaign on the 8th March by interviewing inspiring women we work with and, in particular, understanding the role confidence has played in their career.

Frazer Jones interviewed Jenny Fairhurst, HR Manager, Roper Rhodes

How do you define confidence, particularly in the workplace?

Having the ability to hold your own with senior people within the business and being strong enough to take the lead and get results. For me, I lack the confidence to get what I want or need sometimes and because of that am sometimes treated less favourably than other people within the business.

How do you think the confidence gap affects women?

I think that sometimes women feel like they are not respected or taken as seriously as a male counterpart might be, especially in HR. I have found that female HR professionals are often looked at like they are too nice and don’t understand commercial restraints, which of course is most definitely not true!

Do you think women’s workplace confidence has improved over the past few decades? Please explain why.

In some industries yes but only if the business leaders or owners respect their female workforce and don’t see them as a burden, which unfortunately isn’t always the case.

How important have confidence and self-belief been in achieving your career goals? Please explain why.

Very, after being made redundant some years ago it took a long time for me to get back into HR, having to take jobs within travel or customer service instead. I found that prospective employers had no respect for anyone who had worked within hospitality and found that many people thought being a HR Manager in a hotel was less important or valuable than in other industries. It took 2 years and having a baby before I was finally given the opportunity to get back into HR.

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome (where you doubt your achievements and have an internalised fear of being exposed as a “fraud”)? If so, how did you overcome it?

No, never experienced this.

How much has risk-taking contributed to your career development?

A small part I guess, taking the plunge to leave TLH, where I’d been for 6 years as a Training Officer to take up a role as HR Manager was a big risk but one that was needed to develop my careers.

Can you give an example of a risk you’ve taken that has paid dividend?

See above.

How important is mentoring, coaching and sponsorship in helping women to grow their confidence at work?

I think it’s more about educating others within the business that women are perfectly capable of doing the same job as a man and that just because a woman may have child commitments that doesn’t mean she works any less, in fact in means we work harder!