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Meet some of the Women at HF celebrating IWD 2023

Career Stories, Our Latest News

We have sat down with a selection of the women at HF to ask them some questions about what International Women’s Day means to them.

Angela King – Senior Project Coordinator, HF Comms

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

I find it quite empowering and a great example of how far we have come both in business and in day to day life. Having a day to celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness is fantastic.

Why did you choose a career in Telecommunications?

It is a great industry to work in and is something completely different. I wanted to have a career that was rewarding, demanding and fast paced and with telecommunications I was lucky enough to find that. There is always so much happening in the sector and with the upgrade to 5G, it presents new challenges that keeps things fresh. I can clearly see the work that I do here and how that translates into the final solution we deliver for our clients – and that is very rewarding.

Why is it important for more women to take up career in Telecommunication in the future?

There should be more women working in the telecommunications sector and there is no reason why there shouldn’t be more. Anyone can do it, just like in so many professions, you just need to have the smarts to work in this field. If you want to have a real career with real progression opportunities, working on things that have real benefits then this is a great career choice.

Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you in your career?

To be honest I don’t have any ‘famous’ role models in my life. I much prefer to gain strength from those around me both at work and in my personal life. At HF Comms, there are some great women role model right here in my office. Women who are very driven and determined and have climbed the ladder very quickly. As I said before, if you have the smarts, telecommunications is a great career choice and seeing other women in the company demonstrate that day in day out is very inspiring.

What advice would you give to a woman thinking of starting a career in Telecommunications?

Simply that they should give it a try. There is lots to learn obviously and it is a fast moving industry but as long as you can apply yourself, it is a fascinating sector to be involved in. There are are great career opportunities here so if you have the determination, don’t let anyone put you off – give it a go.

Claire Mitchell – Accountant, HF Group

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Celebrating women, our achievements and how far we have come in driving gender equality and equal opportunities across the world.

What barriers have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

I didn’t actually study for my accountancy qualification until I was in my mid 30’s.  I was struggling to move forward in my career as I had experience but not a full accountancy qualification and that closed many doors.  So I decided to invest in myself and study for my ACCA qualification which created more opportunities for me and gave me the confidence to go after them.

Why did you choose a career in accountancy?

My mum was a secondary school teacher who taught Accounts and Economics and she always wanted me to follow in her footsteps an be a teacher. But it just wasn’t something I wanted to do.  However I did inherit her interest in accounts and it was something that I enjoyed and did best at in school.  I initially took a slightly different path, but ended up working in accountancy after a few years and have been doing so for 25 year now.

Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you in your career?

I don’t really have one role model who inspired me.  I’ve always been surrounding by strong independent women, whether it be my Mum, Aunts or friends who shown that if you work hard you can achieve anything you want in life and fulfil your potential.  Only you can hold yourself back.

What advice would you give to a woman thinking of a career in accountancy?

I would advise them to work hard and be open to any opportunities that come your way and try to create opportunities for yourself.  Having a qualification isn’t essential but will give you more opportunities.  Sometimes you go down a path you don’t expect.  I’ve worked in Legal, Insolvency and now at HF and it is very different to what I have done before.  It keeps life interesting!

Dale McGeachy – Estimator, HF Comms

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It means recognising equality for women in working life as well as in personal life. It means celebrating equality, achievements and the boundaries broken by women every day. I feel it is important to remember the journey that women have fought through in the past so that I can be here now sitting at the table with men.

What barriers have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

I don’t believe I have faced many due to my gender. Luckily things have changed in the UK during the years before I was entering the workplace and we were already on the way to equal opportunities etc. There is clearly lots of improvements that still need to be made but I am fortunate that I have not come across any of the more common barriers that a lot of women in business come across.

Why did you choose this career path?

I’ve always pushed myself and taken opportunities I’ve been offered to develop my skills and knowledge. I wanted to work in an industry which is fast paced and there is lots to learn. And that is exactly what I get right now.

Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you in your career?

Many of my friends and family who have worked hard for their career and have pushed boundaries and achieved so much success – most of them have interesting and important jobs and it is inspiring watching them succeed and make great changes in their industries.

Why is it important for more women to take up a career in Telecommunications?

It is a growing industry which is exciting and has so many different varied roles. Woman are welcome and can thrive in this industry. You can see quite a few examples of it in this very company. If you have the talent and the drive then the sky is the limit in comms.

Eva Szobel – Mechanical Service Team, HF Mechanical & Electrical

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It is the celebration of equality. Not against men or anyone else but together with others.

What barriers have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

In the past, I have come across a lot of Micromanagement.  I feel you can fight this by providing a constant quality of work and that usually solves it. If that doesn’t work, talking to the person micromanaging you helps.  It allows you to see if there’s a specific reason for them doing this. There are a lot of unconscious bias traits that people are unaware of and sometimes simply highlighting this to them is the answer.  Once they realise it, they can address the problem.

Why did you choose this career path?

Really simple answer – because I felt I’d enjoy it and I’d be good at it. There are challenges, deadlines and a lot of people depending on you but that gives the role a unique aspect which I like.

Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you in your career?

There was a previous manager I got to work with who was more like a mentor to a lot of us in the company. They always had time for everyone, always happy to teach you, and as much as she was a successful businesswoman she always remained human. She prioritized and valued her employees over everything else. Somehow she managed to remain a part of the team while leading it and because of Covid I never had the opportunity to learn this from her…

Why is it important for more women to take up a career in Mechanical, Electrical & Fire & Security in the future?

I don’t think the emphasis should be on more women making a career in this specific industry (or more men in industries traditionally viewed as ‘feminine’). I think what’s more important is that we stop seeing a man or a woman and start seeing accomplishments and opportunities. If we manage to do this the playing field will level itself out.

 


 

“Working for a company with such a long history, today allows us to look back and celebrate how far women have come in business; but also what we still need to improve upon. Electrical, Mechanical and Fire & Security have always been industries with a gender imbalance and lot of stereotypical views associated to it but I am proud we are improving on this every year as we take on more female employees and apprentices in what are historically male led sectors. At HF, we are an ambitious and diverse family of companies offering superior quality and exceptional customer service.   Attracting and retaining the best talent creates positive returns and ensures we continue to make a significant contribution for our customers, staff, suppliers and communities. International Women’s Day is a clear reminder that regardless of what industry you work in and no matter your gender, if you have the drive, determination and ability then you can achieve what you want to achieve.”

Jill Nicolson
Financial Director, HF Group

International Women's Day 2023
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