International Women’s Day: Q&A with Katherine Chance

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 Katherine Chance, Director, Business Transformation & Change, Sia Partners

How do you define confidence, particularly in the workplace?

Knowing you are capable of what you are seeking, or are being asked, to do and owning that fact.

How do you think the confidence gap affects women?

As someone who went to an all girls’ school and then did engineering as a degree, I entered the workforce with a view that I was as completely as capable as a man for any role.  As I got older, and felt like I hit the glass ceiling, that’s when my confidence took a knock.  I think it affects women as we have to work so much harder to overcome any confidence knocks due to all the inherent sexism in the work place.

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

I think they’ve been extremely important. 

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?

Yes. However, I don’t think this is unique to women.  Over the years managing this has come through understanding everyone feels like this at some point and it’s just an internal story in my head and it’s not true. 

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

I moved to Canada on my own, knowing no one, transferring internally with Deloitte.  It was a massive step forward in my career.  I left Deloitte with no job to go to as I wanted to move cities and couldn’t make it work within the company.  I left another organisation when I wanted to spend time working out what I wanted in my career.  I moved back to the UK to what felt like a new market after 8yrs away.  They’ve all been significant risks – I’ve had to take salary/responsibility steps back to move forward but I’ve developed and learnt something from each bold move.

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 depends on the individual.  I would say in recent years all the mentoring and coaching I’ve received has been less overt than all the programmes you her about.  However, I need less support for developing confidence and more support in generating motivation.  It’s about what’s right for the individual.

What can be done to ensure a woman being assertive in the workplace doesn’t negatively impact on colleagues’ perceptions of her?

Own it, and not care what other people think as it says more about them than you.  And have a set of bad-ass responses when someone calls you bossy or dominant.