An equal world is an enabled world: Fay and Caroline

12 Mar 2020

Celebrating women’s achievement across our business for International Women’s Day (8 March) we are catching up with some of our inspirational women to hear what gender equality means to them. All this week we will be sharing our interviews with them asking them about their career journey, what this year’s theme ‘an equal world is an enabled world’ means to them, and what advice they would give to their 12-year old selves.

Today, meet Fay, Occupational Health Clinical Director based in Nottingham, UK and Caroline who is Divisional Customer Services Director in our London New Bridge Street office.

What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today?
I qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1994 – my initial specialities were orthopaedics and urology. Working as an agency nurse for the next 10 years, I gained valuable experience in many areas across the NHS, private healthcare, medical & surgical nursing, oncology and latterly occupational health (OH). 

My first real role in Occupational Health was for United Biscuits in 2005 – where a fabulous OH manager taught and encouraged me and set me on my occupational health career journey. In 2008 I moved to E-on as an Occupational Health Adviser where I experienced excellent case management and wellbeing service provision, as well as achieving a formal OH Qualification at Warwick University. I joined RPS in 2010 and have just completed 10 years of service here. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every year and each role (Occupational Health Adviser 2010, Senior Occupational Health Adviser 2013, Occupational Health Operational Manager 2016, Occupational Health Clinical Director 2019.

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is ‘an equal world is an enabled world’– what does that mean to you?
I feel that women can have a strong voice and presence, are equal to men and can gain the same experiences and recognition. RPS really embraces this in my view and enables great opportunities for both men and women alike.

What advice would you give your 12-year old self?
Be bold, be fearless, be respectful of others, be approachable, be pragmatic, always work hard and keep your integrity whatever the situation. Don’t be afraid to hold up your hand to get involved and to have a go at anything.

What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today?
I originally wanted to work in marine biology but missed the A-level biology grades after the course omitted vital modules. I didn’t want to stay at school for an additional year and ended up at Hotel School. It wasn’t the career for me: the hours were crazy with low pay. It was hugely male dominated in the late 70’s and progression to management was a lengthy and very tough route.

Through a recruitment agency I got a great job in London selling commercial stationery, which kick started my 40 year career in sales and customer service. I progressed from sales person to area then regional sales manager before I was invited to join a company selling ventilation and ductwork cleaning. I had progressed to sales director selling technical consultancy services as the business transformed into a consultancy when I was approached by, and moved to, a leading dynamic health and safety consultancy competitor.

I started my career with RPS 10 years ago as Customer Services Director, and enjoy my role today just as much as the day I started. I owe my success and progression, in an at-times tough world, to hard work, dogged determination, will to succeed, the support of those around me and some luck. I have always adhered to the principle my late father instilled into me “never walk over anyone on the way up because you will surely meet them again on the way down – your integrity is everything."

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is ‘an equal world is an enabled world’ – what does that mean to you?
I have always viewed my world through the lens of equality in all respects over the last 40 years: never considering myself to be a woman in a man’s world although I worked predominantly in organisations where the number of men in senior roles outweighed the number of women, The way that we view our work and our lives reflects the way in which we are viewed.

What advice would you give your 12-year old self?
Trust your gut instincts, don’t ignore them and ensure that you never take your eye off the ball at school – get yourself some formal qualifications because it will open opportunities for you and make the path to success a far easier road to travel.

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