9 Mar

International Women’s Day – QEII Women in business Q&A

At the QEII Centre we celebrate our female colleagues and all they have achieved. This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is #EachforEqual, enforcing that we are responsible for our own thoughts and that those thoughts and actions should be used in a positive way to create a gender equal world.

On International Women’s Day (IWD) we asked some female colleagues a few questions around their career path and any advice they have.

With thanks to Diane Waldron, Rajeshree Pragji, Julia Snell, Deborah Jones and Lynne for taking part.


What was your dream job when you were growing up?

Diane: I wanted to be a vet. Or David Attenborough.

Raj: I wanted to be a Psychologist. I was fascinated by psychology – how the mind works…..still am…..

Julia: It varied from day to day and year to year. A dancer with Pan’s People on Top of The Pops when I was about 10; librarian, when I was 15; a painter (all my life. I did end up doing a degree in Fine Art and I still paint. Occasionally I even sell something).

Deborah: I wanted to publish books.

Lynne: Archaeologist or Journalist


Who has been the biggest influence in your career and why?

Diane: Various bosses I’ve had along the way for both good and bad reasons – I’ve tried hard to emulate the positive examples and avoid the bad. I’ve never thrown an open bottle of whisky at someone’s head (sadly that was a female boss)!

Raj: My parents, particularly my mother who has given me confidence and supported me at every step throughout my career and told me I could do it when I felt I couldn’t.

Julia: A lecturer called Ros Miles, who was my thesis tutor in my final year at university. One day she looked up from reading my latest submission to her and said, “You write really well; have you ever thought of becoming a journalist?” After I graduated I got a job as an editorial assistant, and so began a 25-year career in journalism and sub-editing.

Deborah: Derek Chalmers.  He has always supported anything I’ve wanted to do; and not wanted to do.

Lynne: Ashley –  helped me a lot!


What motivates you professionally?

Diane: I love to learn new things but also to help others both personally and professionally by helping them to think differently.

Raj: Job fulfilment/satisfaction and delivering initiatives which have a positive impact on both the people and organisation and make a real difference.

Julia: Working as part of a team (and I work with a great team!), solving problems, getting things done.

Deborah: Curiosity – I want an interesting life.

Lynne: High morals and a control freak  –  very methodical and detailed in everything


What advice would you give to women who are starting out in their career?

Diane: Work hard whilst making time for what makes you happy. Grab every opportunity that comes your way. Believe in yourself, ask for help if you need it (generally people love to help) and get out of your own way.

Raj: Be true to yourself, believe in yourself and most importantly be confident – seize opportunities to build your knowledge, skills and experience.

Julia: The career you start out with isn’t necessarily your career for life. Even though the job market seems to put everyone into extremely narrow pigeon holes, your skillsets are transferable and you can move into other areas.

Deborah: Get educated…. You have to be twice as good as any man to stand out.  Education is a good hard benchmark.

Lynne: Travel and see the world before settling down Life is too short!


#IWD2020 #EqualForEach

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