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International Women’s Day 2018: Career advice from the women of Green Park

Green Park

For over a decade, Green Park has been helping our clients improve their employee diversity because we believe in the power of competitive advantage through collective differences.

This commitment doesn’t stop in our services. Inside Green Park, our DNA-deep obligation to equality, diversity and inclusion manifests in our great and varied team and the fact that we have maintained gender parity since we began our journey in 2006.

This International Women’s Day, we are delighted to celebrate our continued commitment to the women of Green Park by showcasing a few of the many who help keep us a leading force in the market. We asked six of our leading ladies what career advice they would share with themselves if they had the chance? See their responses below:

Jo Sweetland, managing partner at Green Park:

“Having travelled with Green Park from the beginning of their journey as a challenger brand, to one of Europe’s fastest growing executive recruiters, I’ve learnt that is that there is no substitute for hard work. Hard work is the stepping stone to success and is fundamentally necessary if you want to get anywhere in life.

“One of my favourite quotes is, ‘Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall(Confucius). When you get knocked down, stand back up, re-evaluate, adapt and keep going. Sometimes it is the only way to learn the techniques necessary to succeed. 

“Through my own mistakes and self-retrospection, I have learnt to be assertive. This means expressing views even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone to do so. It is extremely important to voice your opinions, including concerns… but try to always do so constructively.

“Outside factors will try to influence the way you think and feel, so it is important that you believe in yourself and your abilities. You have to be strong, bold and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. Engender a positive spirit and meet challenges with courage. Most importantly, always trust your gut instinct. It is usually right!”

Kirstin Macleod, associate partner at Green Park:

“When I look back to my younger life, having just started my recruitment career, I think about how chaotic it was. I distinctly remember the long and endless working hours with very little ‘me time’, the successful ventures that followed and loving every minute of it. I lived day by day, enjoying the lifestyle I had created without much thought for where I wanted it to lead me.

“As that energy-filled young woman, I had some great role models and exciting opportunities, but I didn’t have a plan and wasn’t sure how or if I wanted to move beyond the immediate space I was enjoying. If I were able to go back, I’d tell myself to find some time to understand what life might look like a few years ahead. You don’t have to do everything now. Create more time for contemplation.

“You never know who you will meet as your career develops. It’s an old adage but you never know when and why your paths may cross again and with that, so always treat people well.

Sunita Mann, delivery consultant at Green Park:

“I can still remember the day I took the plunge to pursue my dreams. I was an overly ambitious qualified student of economics determined to move to the Big Smoke. That’s twenty years ago now that I left Scotland, my home and my family to work in recruitment, both as an employee and as a business owner.

“My biggest learnings by far were to involve myself in work that energised my spirit and soul and to embrace every opportunity that came my way. In hindsight, I would tell myself to identify where I want to be in 10 years’ time and think about the tools you need to get there. Specifically, the sort of people who will support me and help me get there.

“I’d tell myself to find a mentor; someone who will travel with you on your journey when you make mistakes and when you are successful. I’d tell myself to surround myself with positive people. Befriend those who support your plan, be it colleagues at work or friends outside of work, who will cheer for you and advise you.”

Chalene Hanson, executive assistant at Green Park:

“One of the most valuable lessons I have learnt along my career journey was to set milestones. This allowed me to focus on the smaller, more achievable goals rather than the big ‘mountain’.  It helped grow my self-confidence and banished that feeling of quitting.

“Perseverance steered me past obstacles (time and time again) and has been key to every great accomplishment I have achieved. The ability to keep on going even when your efforts are met with disappointment or failure, is the power key to success.

“I would also advise that whilst carving out your path in life, take time to get to know yourself and your true passion. Make sure that you are the sculptor, not the subject. Uncover your strengths, embrace your diversity and most importantly, enjoy the journey as you will always be successful at doing what you enjoy.”

Holly Sayers, associate partner at Green Park:

“In my early days, I trained as a beauty therapist and, although I enjoyed my job, I never really felt truly content nor fulfilled. This encouraged me to take a nerve-racking career leap into executive recruitment. The most valuable advice I could have been given then was that it’s normal to have doubts and hesitations, especially when uncertainty lies ahead. But take that leap of faith and pursue your passion.“As a working parent, currently pregnant with my fourth child, I often ask myself what nuggets of wisdom I could pass on to future generations. At the very top of my list is always ‘be true to yourself.’

“Similarly, my advice for anyone, regardless of what stage they are at in the career, would be take risks. You may make mistakes and experience failure but if you don’t you will never know what amazing opportunities lie ahead of you.

“Lastly, believe in yourself and your abilities. Repeat as your daily mantra ‘You are good at what you do and you deserve to be where you are in your career.’ Providing you believe in yourself and work hard and it will pay off – it always does!”

Joanna Moriarty, associate partner at Green Park:

“Having a daughter nearing the end of university studies, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what lessons I would share with her as she enters a new phase in her life and evolution. I often find myself feeling contemplative and asking, what helped me establish my career?

“For me, meeting and interacting with inspiring people was the single biggest factor that allowed me to find and do work I love. It enabled me to find someone who inspired my career and cared about my success.

“I believe strong mentorship is an essential component of career development as well as actively pursuing your own growth and development. A mentor is able to push you, to stretch your limits and make you step outside of your comfort zone. In the middle of change, it is this generosity of spirit and action that will sustain you and keep you afloat.

“It encourages you to take ownership of your own career path and eventually leads you to new opportunities; opportunities that don't come about until you grow into the person who is ready for them.”

Green Park is one of Europe’s most trusted suppliers of executive search, senior interim management and diversity and leadership development consultancy across the private, public and third sectors. For more information about Green Park, visit

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