Tags: blog, Hot Topics, Women in the Workplace

Hello, my name is Anna Jakielaszek. I am the founder of See Be Mean. I help organisations and individuals understand and make the most out of diversity and inclusion. For me, inclusion in many ways is about the quality of thinking as well as collaboration and innovation.

What do you choose to challenge in 2021?

What I choose to challenge in 2021 is how we think as women about our place in society, and in the workplace. Women need to move away from seeking validation and proving that we are good enough and we belong. I hope women will be able to do so, and I hope will create an environment that enables that.

What needs to change in the workplace?

Let me bring some insight from my time working in tech. I believe that there is a lack of appreciation for the skills that women can bring to the industry and the need to build an environment that really works for men and women.

40% of females leave tech after 10 years compared with 17% for men. This has nothing to do with family commitments and it has nothing to do with them not liking the work. It has everything to do with the environment and not feeling valued. So, I think we need to look at our data internally first, dig a little bit deeper and think about what kind of environment and culture we need and we're happy to build together.

What three pieces of career advice would you give to women?

Number one, job crafting. Personalise your work and play to your strengths.It did wonders for me and it can work for you too. There is research to back it up.

Number two, be present. We know we can't take things for granted. Let's turn it into our superpower. Be adaptable and make things work for you this way.

Number three network, network, network. Build connections, work with other people. It will benefit you short term and long term.

What are you most proud of?

Personally I'm most proud of my children. They bring a sense of pride that I've never experienced before. Otherwise, I'm very proud of my personal growth. From leaving university and getting to the point I am today. From the variety of experiences that I’ve gained, the people I’ve met and the friends I have gained. This is all precious and priceless.

What are you most proud of professionally?

Professionally I am most proud of growing my career. From being terrified to have my first phone call made in English back in 2008, to being able to do this, to speak to people, use English as my tool and connect with so many people in so many ways, having a real impact on the quality of their work and life. I could not be prouder.

Who inspires you?

There are many people who inspire me. I like to think about role modeling as taking pieces of skills or experiences from many people and making it into my own. But, there's also a person who I’m forever grateful for and that's a previous manager. Many years ago, she gave me a chance, saw something in me and supported me in moving from a customer service role into an HR role and that started everything for me. I think she was a great leader with fantastic skills and I'm forever grateful.

Finally, seeing it is believing it. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with ADHD and I can’t tell you how important it is that I see female leaders who have ADHD and are successful.

Check out our blog for further inspirational stories from the women in our network.

Read and watch Pat Ryan who is inspiring school girls to think about careers in tech.