To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked some of the women in senior positions at Zopa for their top career advice, the achievements they’re proudest of and who they look to for their inspiration.
Here’s what they said:
On their best career achievements so far:
Amy Miller, CMO: There isn’t a single achievement that I’m most proud of. Rather, I’m proud that I have worked across industries and functions and been part of teams that have built technology-enabled products that have changed customer behaviour in a positive way, from car sharing to audio books to personal finance.
Sarah Constant, who leads the team responsible for Zopa’s investment products: I’m proud of finding a role and a company that I hugely enjoy and find satisfying. I’ve moved around a number of roles and companies, and you have to be brave to admit that something isn’t making you happy and you want to try something or somewhere else.
Yemi Akinnayajo, Customer Services Manager: As a people manager, giving people the support they need to unlock their potential is the biggest and most rewarding achievement. It’s fantastic to watch people come into the team on day one, grow in confidence and really kick start their career development. I’m proud to be part of people’s journey, There’s nothing like it.
And your best career advice
Marie Steinthaler, Head of New Products: I read a lot. Read read read. Then of course, speaking to people in similar businesses to share war stories helps. And finally, always bring yourself back to the problem you’re solving.
Emily Dickens, HR Manager: It’s really important to work out what you’re passionate about and where your strengths lie. All my roles have had a very strong people focus, demanded excellent listening skills and composure – thankfully these are all skills that we really value at Zopa
Amy: I would say never rule yourself out of anything and that the culture of an organisation should be the most important factor when you decide to take a role.
Sarah: Read Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg – it’s filled with so much good advice! One of my favourite nuggets is about taking on stretch assignments and new challenges, even if you don’t have experience yet.
Yemi: Be open, be approachable and be who you are all the time. Always be passionate about what you do.
Colleagues, parents and campaigners: the women who inspire Zopians:
Marie: I admire Natalie Portman, who is not only an amazing actress, but moreover very intelligent, involved in ethical causes, and just inspiring all round.
A friend told me about Octavia Hill, and blew my mind in the process, as I’d never heard about her before. She was a 19th century social reform campaigner, founder of the National Trust, and incredible woman. Look her up!
Sarah: Eileen Burbage – from Passion Capital. She has a successful career and family, and yet talks candidly about the compromises she’s had to make in both worlds to get where she is today.
Yemi: I have come across many hardworking, kind, driven and supportive female managers in my career and that is where I draw my inspiration from.
Amy: My mum. She instilled in me a belief that being curious and independent were essential ingredients in enjoying the world.
Emily: There are lots of great female role models at Zopa but for me Caroline Mills, our Head of Service Operations, is a strong advocate for treating others as you’d like to be treated. I’ve learnt a lot from Caroline, particularly people management skills and the importance of caring about your staff beyond the office door.