06 March 2020
by Lewis Pitcher
On the 8th of March, more than 100 countries celebrate International Women’s Day, a day set aside to recognize the achievements of women around the world. Let’s take a look at some of the most successful women from inside GO and get their thoughts on everything about being a modern woman in the workplace.
STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF
Charmaine Farrugia, Chief Corporate Strategy and Business Planning Officer
It can be tempting, especially for a woman entering a male-dominated area like the boardroom, to try and shift how you do things and what priorities you have just to try and fit in. In reality, your unique approaches and perspectives can be what makes you stand out and be heard in the first place. This is something that Charmaine wants to pick out as some key advice:
“Always be your true self, never change to fit in and believe in your capabilities. At times I had to work harder to prove myself but I have learnt that a woman in an executive board room changes the dynamics of male dominated environment and provides a different insight and decision-making process which has proved useful to the company.”
Sarah Camilleri, Head of Human Resources
Sarah believes that there are some steps anyone can follow to succeed. Taking care of one’s well-being is one of them. We underestimate the importance of self-care and why it is absolutely critical for one to perform at their best. Having a strong work ethic such as being reliable and trustworthy, working hard and collaborating well with others are key attributes too.
Her advice is to be comfortable with the idea of compromising with others and as much as possible and being solution–driven. Lastly, creating an impact beyond one’s role is extremely vital in the road to success. Being able to contribute in different areas of the business makes you unique and adds value which is rare to come across.
GO OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Alison Mercieca, Marketing Senior Manager
Of course, success can’t just come from others and there’s no consensus on what the right route to the success will be. For Alison, being prepared to go outside of your comfort zone and challenging yourself is essential.
“We must all go to work with an open mind-set ready to learn new things and willing to move out of our comfort zones. I think that working experience should always be a learning experience. We should not be afraid of challenges or of being challenged. One should never give up on their plans, as we all experience success and failures. The most important thing is that we learn and move on.”
DON’T BE TOO HARSH ON YOURSELF
Philippa Gingell Littlejohn, Legal Senior Manager
It’s common for most of us to judge ourselves a bit more severely than the rest of the world really is, regardless of our successes and achievements. It’s something that we share whether we’re interns or executives, but for Philippa, women are uniquely able to help each other whenever there is a lapse in confidence:
“Perhaps the most common challenge women face everywhere, especially in the workplace, is themselves. We can be our own harshest critics and this can often dent our confidence unnecessarily. Thankfully, women are usually also good at building and nurturing a support network of close family, friends and colleagues who they can share both their problems and a good laugh with. I think that I was, and still am, lucky enough to have people around me who know and understand me almost better than I do myself.”
BE OPEN TO FEEDBACK
Leona Cassar, Organisational Development Senior Manager
As much as we can be our own harshest critic, there can also be a tendency to deflect criticism and feedback, especially if you’re out to prove that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Other people around us often can see us better than we see ourselves though, and being open to feedback is critical to achieving any real success as Leona says:
“As an individual I always tend to self-reflect to analyse what went well and what could be improved. More importantly though, as a team we try to foster an open feedback culture which enables me to receive honest feedback that continues to help me evolve and grow as an individual and as a professional. Growth only happens when you’re learning.”
WORK IN UNISON
Ingrid Azzopardi, Group Internal Auditor
In most cases in life in general, different rarely means simply ‘bad’ but has to be seen as various perspectives, approaches and mindsets, and for Ingrid this is just as true for the roles of the two genders in the workplace.
“It is important to understand that both genders complement each other and they can bring a lot of value to the workplace, in the same way that, if in a partnership or marriage, both partners need to support each other.”
DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE CHOICES
Elaine Fenech, GO Business Senior Manager
One of the biggest things hanging over many women in any workplace is the number of hard choices they’ll have to make about their life, often very early on. The fact is, whether it’s deciding to have a family or not, or to throw yourself entirely into a career, there is no one correct decision; each person is different and specific situations are unique to each. For Elaine, who mentions making the conscious choice not to have children, these choices are unavoidable:
“No matter what the job is, you will have to make some sacrifices along the way, but don’t be afraid to make choices if you want a career. Keep in mind that it will all be worthwhile in the end.”
NEVER STOP IMPROVING
Ingrid Camilleri, Business Product Delivery Senior Manager
Self-improvement is the turnkey tip that helps us achieve our career goals. Learning new skills helps to boost our confidence and self-satisfaction. Ingrid admits that “improvement is constant and this is what motivates me the most – the constant yearning to learn and find new challenges. Having a growth mindset to me means constantly finding ways of improving. I try to learn from each situation and understand what could have been done better and improve iteratively. I’m always seeking to learn new things, and I start feeling restless if I’m not learning”.
Mandy Calleja, Executive Assistant to the CEO and Chairman
Even when you get to the top, it doesn’t mean you can start taking it easy, there are always new challenges to overcome and new goals to reach. For Mandy, success is a road that doesn’t really have an end point, but instead a path to follow ever upwards:
“Aim high, don’t ever become complacent, strive for excellence in whatever you are doing, nothing is too small or too big, as long as it’s the right thing to do and always remember that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In the end though, it’s not really about the success, but more about the journey and your personal fulfillment. There is always room for improvement, in anything you do. As long as whatever you do continues to ‘light that fire’, then success will follow.”
KEEP THE BALANCE
Helen Cassar, Customer Services Senior Manager
Creating a harmonious work-life balance is extremely impactful on our careers, yet sometimes not easy to achieve. Loving coming to work is essential, but sometimes we should be also able to slow down the pace, take a break and just relax. Helen believes that it is important for us to spend our free time doing things we love.
As she says: “My passion for customer service and customer interaction has so far defined my career path and I love what I do even though it comes with the pressure normally associated with this field of work. Therefore, achieving a work-life balance is key to my well–being and working for GO has given me the flexibility and support I need to juggle both my professional life and enjoy my personal life. Being surrounded by a great team to work with gives me the motivation I need to strive and achieve whilst the simple things in life like a walk with my partner and our two mischievous dogs gives me the relaxation I need to push myself further to benefit the Company I love working for”.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH UPLIFTING PEOPLE
Whether it’s a winding road through the departments or a straight climb up the corporate ladder, there is one thing that all our interviewees agreed upon – they wouldn’t be where they are today if not for the support of the right people along their journeys. Succeeding is a result of constant support, whether that’s from the people above you, colleagues on your level or even family outside.
All in all though, if there’s one thing to take away from all of this, it’s that no matter what challenges you face, your own attitude and the way you deal with each situation will be the key to your success.