At TC Harrison, we're proud to say we have supported equal opportunities for women for quite some time. In an industry that's historically seen as very male dominated, we're happy to report that our workforce has a healthy split of women in both managerial and non-managerial positions.
We caught up with some of our other female managers to discuss their experiences and challenges with gender discrimination and their thoughts on how TC Harrison approaches equality for women. Involved in the discussion was: Jennifer Jones - Systems and Compliance Manager, Bozena Kowalyszyn - Divisional Accountant and Roxanne Stones – Corporate Account Manager.
First of all I'd like to personally thank you all for attending, it is eye-opening to see so many female leaders in one room. I'd like to start by asking you all to tell each other how you got to being here today?
Jennifer Jones: I originally began my TCH life over the road at TCH JCB, where I took a part time role in Accounts. Having moved around within JCB, I finished my time there as a Service Invoice Clerk and then moved to a full-time role in Accounts at Leasing in 2013. I moved into an administrative role shortly after, which was also around the time that we implemented a new computer system, and I was heavily involved with the process, progressing to the role of Systems Project Coordinator. I have further developed my role through various systems and have been Systems and Compliance Manager since 2019. More recently, I have taken over management of the Maintenance and Outsourcing teams as I further develop my knowledge of the operational side of the business.
Bozena Kowalyszyn: I joined TCH Leasing as a placement student in the accounts department in 1999, then I went back to university to complete my BA Hons Accounting and Management degree. I have re-joined TCH Leasing in 2001 as an Accounts Assistant. A couple of years later I became the supervisor of the accounts team, then later Assistant Accountant, before finally making the step up to Regional Accountant around 2010, where I continue to work to this day.
Roxanne Stones: I’ll be entertaining my 15th year of working at TC Harrison, so similar to Bozena I’ve spent the majority of my working life at one company. I know the industry is rife with people moving between companies and roles, but this is certainly something I’ve not witnessed in my time at TCH.
That’s certainly an eclectic mix of routes into managerial positions and shows that even with similar roles there's no 'one-size-fits-all' career path. I'd like to move the focus now onto how you feel about working within an industry that's predominantly seen as one dominated by males?
Roxanne: I love it! I strongly believe that if you are capable and work hard, it really doesn’t matter what your gender. I don’t really have time to think about it and I don’t really have the inclination to either.
Jennifer: In the past, I often found external events to be a little intimidating as they were male dominated, but this is improving as more women move into the industry.
Bozena: I don't feel any additional stress or challenges than in any other industry. I don't feel that our industry is as male dominant as people perceive.
Thanks Ladies, I think that certainly gives a much more balanced opinion of perception versus reality in our industry. This brings me nicely onto whether or not you've ever faced any gender challenges in your career?
Jennifer: I have never really had an issue with this, recently though, a supplier made the assumption that I was my male colleague’s assistant, without any knowledge of my senior standing within the business, which I found frustrating. But I'm happy to say incidents like this are few and far between.
So speaking of equality, what are your opinions on how TC Harrison Group handles equality within the workplace?
Jennifer: I think this has improved throughout my time with the Group. We now have a female director within JCB, (Wendy) and 50% of the senior management team at Leasing are female, so times are certainly changing. I believe in equity, and the same opportunities for all, so roles should be awarded based on the ability to do the job, not because of gender.
Roxanne: I strongly believe TC Harrison Group is an equal opportunity employer, and my own position, coupled with the number of ladies both in the room and within our wider team, proves that.
To wrap things up, if you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Bozena: Sprint towards the things you are passionate about. Considering the feelings of others. Love work but also make time to have and enjoy life.
Roxanne: Believe in my own ability sooner.
Jennifer: My advice would be to always believe in myself and have confidence in my abilities and the decisions I make.