International Women's Day

Celebrating the women of Agilio for International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day from myhrtoolkit and the wider Agilio group! The Agilio group employed 74 women as of the end of 2021, with 3 women at the boardroom level out of 7 members total. To celebrate the women of Agilio for International Women’s Day, we asked women from across the group to tell us about what they do and their experiences as women in business:

Fran SorodocFran Sorodoc
Compliance and Consultancy Manager

What do you do in your role at Agilio?
"I am the Compliance and Consultancy Manager in Agilio’s compliance department. I am a bit of a compliance nerd, but if you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life! I’m responsible for the smooth running of our consultancies and a lot of the iComply document updates."

What has been your experience as a woman in business?
"I have had a multitude of experiences, ranging from awful to amazing. However, each experience has helped me grow into the person I am today. I can honestly say that without these experiences, both the good and bad, I wouldn’t have had the motivation to pursue a career in compliance and become a part of the Agilio team."

What can businesses do more of to better support women at work?
"Flexible working should be considered as the norm rather than a company perk. Women shouldn’t have to choose between their family and career."

Tell me about a woman who inspires you
"Malala Yousafzai is an inspiration to all. Her fight for women’s rights proves that nothing is impossible. We should all take a page out of her book and aspire to make the world a better place."

jenifer kirklandJenifer Kirkland
Group Chief Financial Officer

What do you do in your role at Agilio?
"I’m responsible for all the exciting financial responsibilities of a typical CFO – corporate reporting, raising finance, managing cash etc. Working at Agilio, however, allows me to get involved in much more than just the traditional, routine CFO activities like working on the group strategy, acquisitions, our go to market activities, branding – it’s a long list, I could go on all day!"

What has been your experience as a woman in business?
"Like all things in life, you have to be proactive, make opportunities when you can, learn from your mistakes, and don’t be afraid to admit when you get it wrong."

What can businesses do more of to better support women at work?
"I think that’s relatively straightforward. It’s about creating a great place to work for everybody, adopting a fair and consistent environment to allow people to grow and develop."

Tell me about a woman who inspires you
"The Queen. Royalist or not, you have to admire the work ethic and sense of duty of an individual who has lived through so much change."

lindsay-dale-myhrtoolkitLindsay Dale
Accounts Manager

What do you do in your role at Agilio?
"I am the Accounts Manager for myhrtoolkit and I manage payroll for the wider Agilio group."

What has been your experience as a woman in business?
"My experience has been a positive one, I've always been treated the same as every other employee and given equal opportunities to progress."

What can businesses do more of to better support women at work?
"Businesses could possibly give more flexibility for period leave, as I find it more comfortable being at home during that time."

Tell me about a woman who inspires you
"A woman who inspires me is Kate Garraway, as despite what she has gone through over the last two years she is still fighting to support her husband and provide for her family."

taliehTalieh Bonner
Marketing Manager

What do you do in your role at Agilio?
"I am Head of Marketing for our Primary Care division
at Agilio."

What has been your experience as a woman in business?
"This is a bit of a tricky question, simply because I can’t isolate that experience. Overall, my experience has been extremely positive! However, I would say I would say that the older I get, the more switched on I am to my experience as a woman in business, and aware of how tough some women do have it."

"Looking back to when I was in my early 20s I was definitely a little naïve and experienced the type of sexism in the workplace (derogatory remarks, feeling the need to be ‘laddish’ just to fit in), which would more than likely be called out now. Times have changed a lot, even in the last decade. I’m happy that’s the case but also aware we have a long way to go still."

What can businesses do more of to better support women at work?
"To me, supporting women at work means ensuring inclusivity, an environment free of gender stereotypes and bias, where equal opportunity is present, and where women feel valued and respected in equal measures to men. I also think it means supporting and encouraging women to progress in their careers and know that leadership roles are just as attainable for all employees, regardless of gender.

"I think there are some relatively quick wins for businesses to support women at work. Things like flexibility in the working day/week, and a focus on the overall contribution to the organisation, works better for so many women! More and better access to equal parenting leave would also lessen assumptions that women’s careers will be disproportionately disrupted by parenthood.

"I love that we’re seeing a noticeable shift in female representation in senior leadership positions, but the concern is we inadvertently create a system that adds an even more unequal burden on women. A system whereby women feel and are under pressure to continually achieve at work, as well as being primary caregivers, and still taking on the unequal burden of unpaid work at home. Essentially, taking on the ‘double shift’ - we need to move beyond that! Ultimately, I think for women to feel well and truly supported at work in a sustainable way, change needs to happen not just in organisations, but right across policy-making, education and at home."

Tell me about a woman who inspires you
"I’d usually honour close friends and family in a question like this. But instead, my thoughts are with all the Ukrainian women suffering on a scale that’s incomprehensible to me. From those on the front line, to those fleeing with children, to those who have stayed behind to look after those who cannot escape… these brave women are helping determine not just the future of Ukraine, but what our world will look like tomorrow."

Alice-HardmanAlice Hardman
Laboratory Deputy Manager

What do you do in your role at Agilio?
"I work in the laboratory as a Deputy Manager, overseeing the testing and reporting of samples. I also have a role in the Quality Management System to help maintain our UKAS Accreditation."

What has been your experience as a woman in business?
"In the past, I have worked in male dominated workplaces and felt as though I had to adapt my personality and mannerisms to be accepted, taken seriously, and progress. It was very much a man’s world and women had to find their own way to get to where they wanted to be. Since joining Isopharm and since the company merger, I feel things have improved, not just for women but also for men too."

What can businesses do more of to better support women at work?
"Businesses should offer more equal opportunities and should enrol employees in senior roles onto empathy/management coaching, whether they are male or female. Even though things are getting better, some people in male dominated businesses still treat their employees (not just women) as if they are irrelevant and that their opinions or feelings don't matter. I have experienced this in the past.

"Now in Agilio/Isopharm, we have HR who in my experience have been very supportive. I returned from Maternity in January and since then they have taken the time to listen and help me manage both work life and home life. This was only possible due to the people who have been hired to do those roles; they could relate to me and share similar experiences, making them more sympathetic and understanding. Without that, I don't think I would have had such a pleasant experience returning to work."

Tell me about a woman who inspires you
"Since having a child, I have two women who inspire me. Firstly, my daughter; she is the reason I get up every morning. Everything I do, I do for her. She inspires me to do better and to be better in every aspect of my life. My partner and I found out the sex of our daughter on International Women's Day last year, so being a good role model and nurturing her seems even more important because of this. The second woman is my mother; she inspires me in my role as a mum. I can only wish and hope that I can do as good of a job as her."

1613468971920Camille Brouard
Senior Marketing Executive

What do you do in your role at Agilio?
"I am part of the marketing team for myhrtoolkit and have been with the business since early 2019. I mainly manage our content creation, email marketing, and SEO strategies."

What has been your experience as a woman in business?
"My personal experience over several roles has been a bit of a mixed bag, particularly as a disabled person who is also in the LGBTQ community. Structural inequality can crop up in various ways and I appreciate organisations who take the time to acknowledge and address that, instead of sweeping it under the rug."

What can businesses do more of to better support women at work?
"Businesses need to have and enforce zero tolerance policies for misogyny, sexual harassment and any other issues that may intersect with these – such as homophobia and racism. It’s so important to make sure everyone is genuinely safe and included in their place of work."

Tell me about a woman who inspires you
"I’m a bit of a music nerd and quite recently learned about Wendy Carlos, an experimental and ambient musician who helped develop the Moog synthesizer in the 1960s and went on to create soundtracks for iconic films like A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. She was a well-known figure who came out as transgender in the 70s, which was really inspiring to read about as someone who is also LGBTQ."

ChristineChristine Smethurst
Head of Sales

What do you do in your role at Agilio?
"I work in sales, in the dental part of the business, working with SMEs, corporates, and groups."

What has been your experience as a woman in business?
"I have had issues in pervious roles where I have felt I have had to hide the fact I pick my child up from school. It was an awful feeling, like caring for my child was something to hide... I’m sure I am not alone on this one."

What can businesses do more of to better support women at work?
"Be flexible. We work hard, we just need the flexibility to also support our children. This goes for men as well; they also need that flexibility. My husband helps with the school run too!"

Tell me about a woman who inspires you
"Anna Sutton from the Data shed... she is a friend, but I love how she just gets herself out there!"

Mari-ScottMari Scott
HR Manager

What do you do in your role at Agilio?
"I’m the HR manager for the Primary Care team, supporting the business and staff to achieve a positive work culture and assisting in employee performance and growth."

What has been your experience as a woman in business?
"I have been fortunate to have had training and support throughout my career in HR and have not felt I have been held back due to my gender."

What can businesses do more of to better support women at work?
"Equal pay and including women in making decisions."

Tell me about a woman who inspires you
"Michelle Obama - for speaking out on poverty awareness and education."

Hannah-Wheater-myhrtoolkitHannah Wheater
Digital Marketing Executive

What do you do in your role at Agilio?
"I manage myhrtoolkit's social media platforms and develop the business's digital marketing opportunities."

What has been your experience as a woman in business?
"There have been obstacles whilst I've worked in business. Whilst working in a business consultancy firm after I finished university, I was astounded at how male dominated the team was and how it negatively affected the company culture. Working in a hyper masculine environment isn't inclusive, leads to segregation, and employees leaving if it's not addressed. Since moving to myhrtoolkit, it's reassuring that you're credited and treated equally no matter your age or gender."

What can businesses do more of to better support women at work?
"Businesses need to make a conscious effort to understand their existing team dynamics and take actions to make it an inclusive environment for women and men. If businesses are genuine about providing equal opportunities to all their employees, they need to adopt a zero tolerance approach to misogyny and sexism within the workplace."

Tell me about a woman who inspires you
"Many women inspire me! A woman who has recently inspired me is London based artist, Sophie Tea. She is a businesswoman and artist who focuses on painting the female form in all shapes and sizes. Her work stands for inclusiveness and promotes female empowerment, whilst opposing the regular narrative of the objectification of women. She's done many community-based projects to help women embrace their identities and has recently been featured in the Channel 4 documentary Boobs – well worth a watch."

Dor-WilsonDor Wilson
Information Specialist

What do you do in your role at Agilio?
"My role involves carrying out targeted medical literature searching on a broad range of medical and healthcare management topics presenting in primary care practice. Using commercial medical bibliographic databases, I search out and synthesise best evidence in support of our Clinical Authors who then produce guidance - Clinical Knowledge Summaries for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence."

What has been your experience as a woman in business?
"After working out that my very first job training as an Architectural Assistant wasn’t for me, I became a bit of a serial career changer. I was lucky enough to be in at the beginning of ‘evidence based medicine’ and in the right place at the right time working as an Academic Librarian. I joined Prodigy (the forerunner to NHSCKS and still produced today), who encouraged me to study for an MSc in Health Science Research and the rest is history.

"I am back working where I started after a life in research and global pharma and pleased to do so. The Medical Information Specialist role is one that’s still quite buoyant in the information world, and I’ve met people from all around the world working in that profession who still keep in contact, as we all share the same interests and experiences. The most memorable moment was meeting the Governor of Queensland, Australia at her residency after being awarded a bursary to attend an international medical librarianship conference in Brisbane. From my personal experience, I’ve always felt what I’ve given (in work) I’ve received back in support."

What can businesses do more of to better support women at work?
"I think children have the most influence on whether women can work and complete their goals in life. Work-family balance is important and there needs to be an understanding in business of their lived experience that may not be familiar to all. Maybe it’s not all about compressing hours, or a shorter working day to fit in. Maybe it could be around scheduling better and the ability (and recognition it’s okay from Managers) to ask to make a change."

Tell me about a woman who inspires you
"Harriet Harman MP (though she stood down last year) comes to mind as a bit of a feminist icon with a commitment to women’s rights and campaigner for working parents and the low paid. And then there’s Tina Turner!"

Read more from the myhrtoolkit blog

Managing diversity in the workplace

Menopause in the workplace: how to support your staff

Key pregnancy and maternity rights at work

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