International Women’s Day: Q&A with Nicola Sharp-Jeffs

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 Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Director, Surviving Economic Abuse

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

As someone who works in the charity sector, I think risk-taking is synonymous with career development. For each progression, I have had to move to another charity, usually on a short, fixed term contract. My past three roles (despite becoming increasingly senior) have also resulted in me taking pay cuts! Working in this context requires you to become comfortable with risk-taking. I’m not driven by titles and pay scales, but passion for what I do and my ability to make a difference.

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

The biggest risk of my career to date was handing in my notice and founding a charity without full-funding for my role. I’ve had to learn how to do everything, including fundraising! I can honestly say it was the best decision I ever made. It’s almost a year ago now and the team is five strong. It’s not easy and the risk does not go away – I’m always acutely aware of the need to keep the funding coming in and providing stability for the team. However, the momentum of what we are achieving makes it all worthwhile.

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

All of the above has helped me enormously. I’m my own worst critic so having the space to reflect, share and receive feedback has really helped grow my confidence. I was fortunate enough to be sponsored on a leadership course and was truly inspired by the leaders we got to meet through this. It created a ‘safe space’ to voice concerns and identify solutions. My ‘syndicate’ group continues to meet so this support is ongoing.