Celebrating International Women's Day is so important to us here at Virgin Media. As we stated in our Gender Pay Gap report, we believe in gender equality and are proud to say that our long-term goal is to achieve 50/50 gender parity by 2025.
Today, we caught up with Emily Sowden to talk about her career within Virgin Media Business, gender equality and what #PressforProgress means to her.
Here's what she had to say:
How long have you been with the business?
Almost 2 and half years! I joined in October 2015.
What is your current role?
I’m a Senior Customer Relationship Management Manager in MLE (Medium Large Enterprise), so I focus on two things: Increasing the revenue we get from our existing MLE customers through cross-sell and up-sell activities, and reducing the number of customers who leave us.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It’s one of those days where I feel particularly proud to be a woman! It’s awesome to have a day dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements around the world and throughout history – it reminds you just how amazing we really are!
Do you have any female role models in your life?
My amazing female friends are my role models! Each of them is unique and each of them inspires me in a different way. Especially my best friend – she is awesome. She is totally focused on making the life she leads a happy one – she works really hard at her job, with the specific intention of funding travel to new places to satisfy her wanderlust! She is a cheerleader for me and my life, and I channel how she sees me making me want to be the best version of myself.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
Being a woman is a powerful thing, especially in Business! So be yourself. You don’t have to change who you are to ‘fit in’ – find a company that will let you be you. My favourite quote is “be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons” and I think they are words to live by.
What qualities do you respect most in the female leaders you admire?
Firstly, the female leaders I admire impact the business they join, right from day one. They prove their value immediately. Secondly, I love how they challenge thinking and ideas in such a way that makes you reconsider and improve your own approach. And finally, they go out of their way to provide mentoring and coaching – they realise that many young women want to be where they are one day and so they spend time nurturing them, sharing their insight and their knowledge.
Have you faced any challenges in your career that you have felt has been a direct result of being female?
Unfortunately, I have had a few situations where inappropriate comments have been made to me because I am female. The best thing you can do in those instances is to challenge that behaviour. It takes courage, but if we don’t challenge this type of behaviour it will never change.