Q&A with Gillian Woodcock: “You create your own opportunities”

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

Gillian Woodcock works within the HR function for Civils and Lintels. Although HR is a role that is predominantly seen as female, Gillian believes this does give women a great opportunity to drive and lead change across the workplace.

In our latest feature, we quizzed Gillian on what’s great about her current role and what we need to do to break down barriers in the workplace...

Tell us a bit about your current role...

I support North Divisional Branch Operations as well as nationally Trade Sales, Partnering & Showrooms businesses. It is a generalist role covering all aspects of HR managing through the Line.

How did you get to the position you are in now?

Hard work, continually challenging myself as I believe you create your own possibilities.

Why did you choose the industry that you are in?

The opportunity to make a real difference, to provide a different viewpoint, new sector brings new challenges.

What barriers have you faced in your career?

Breaking down perceptions, being pigeonholed into specific job roles because I excelled in them, which does not mean you cannot excel in others.

What do you think we need to do to break down barriers in the workplace?

Start by challenging the status quo, I believe some businesses still live by long standing ways of working which create their own barriers “we’ve always done it this way”. It’s not just about meeting targets and increasing the number of females in senior roles. We need to challenge attitudes across all levels, culture, work environment and the stereotypical roles that women are given.

“Start by challenging the status quo”

What’s great about being a female in your role?

I see it as an opportunity to drive change, improve perceptions internally and externally and make a real difference by influencing leaders, culture, training and recruitment.

What are your key motivators?

Always challenging myself, continuous personal development, supporting and developing others.

How do you ensure that you are an inspiring leader?

You earn the right to lead others - great leadership is shown by example, for me actions always speak louder than words. So, do what you say you are going to do, be humble, be brave it has helped shape who I am today.

“We should all have the same opportunities.”

If you could change one thing about the working world what would it be?

Gender inequalities in girl’s education across the world, we should all be given the same opportunities no matter what our backgrounds, religions, gender are.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self now?

Dream big and be a little more adventurous, just believe in yourself you can achieve anything!

Why is #YesSheCan important to you?

It provides a platform for changing attitudes, helps drive the equality message.

What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?

Focus on what you’re good at, know what you want, aim high and just go for it! Speak up, challenge outdated ways of working, put yourself forward. Don’t fall prey to imposter syndrome, failure is just part of the journey to success!

“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who follows her own path is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before”

If you found it interesting reading about Gillian's experience working in an office environment in construction, you should check out Carine Jessamine's blog about her experiences being the Marketing Director of Selco Builder's Warehouse.


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