I had the priviledge today of being asked to speak to some sixth form girls about the work I do. It was a bit daunting to have to get up on stage and try to explain how public relations and corporate communications work within policing.
They were interested in the qualities I need to undertake the work and how I manage working in that environment. I hope I gave them some useful advice about the importance of resilience within the workplace but also recognising when you need support at work.
It made me wonder who were the women that I could look to when I was in my school years? When I look back one of the biggest influences has been, and remains, my mum who is a very strong and determined women. She brought both me and my sister up with the view that we could do anything we wanted to and our gender was no issue.
Then there was one of my primary school teachers who was hugely encouraging. Mrs Pickon (not quite sure how to spell it) made me believe I could achieve my dream of becoming a journalist. She pushed me to continue writing even at such a young age.
I remember one of my philosophy lecturers at university. Unfortunately, I can’t remember her name but I do recall that she was French and understood ancient Greek. Her positive attitude and expertise made her a huge inspiration to me. Imagine being able to read ancient Greek!
When I joined the world of work I had one woman boss that I would say had a big influence. I still keep in contact with her and Sue Fox has remained a friend almost 20 years later. The reason she had a positive influence was how she was able to network and influence among her peers in the workplace. She was a total professional but did the job with a smile and an attitude that meant she was able to get support and get things done
Finally, as I have moved into policing I have been lucky enough to work with a huge number of strong, professional women. Many people may view policing as a male dominated environment but I have found so many capable and inspirational women.
It occurs to me that I have been surrounded by powerful, strong and determined women all my life and I am hugely grateful for the influence they have had on me. I hope that I may left a positive impression from my talk with the young women in Manchester today.