International Women's Day - Interview with Claire Cronin, Virgin Holidays

Carter Murray is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2017. We have interviewed a series of our female clients asking them how they have been bold for change #BeBoldForChange.

Carter Murray interviews Claire Cronin, Customer & Marketing Director at Virgin Holidays.

Claire Cronin

Do you have any secrets to having a successful career?

Being optimistic and positive during periods of transformation and change. Change is the only certainty in any career and whilst others become paralysed with fear or anxiety, it is easy to stand out as being top talent, simply by reacting positively to change and playing a lead role in helping the broader organisation adapt at pace to the new vision/agenda. Every new re-structure brings opportunity for advancement, for people willing to stretch themselves and take on lateral challenges.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

Unconscious bias which deters senior managers from hiring women to do big roles for fear they’ll get pregnant and need to take maternity leave. There is a perception that women want to be the primary care-giver and lots of companies overlook women for roles in case they need to take time out for maternity leave. Virgin takes a very progressive stance on this and is proud to be family friendly. At Virgin Holidays, we recently appointed Joe Thompson as our new Managing Director, whilst he was taking 6 months off for parental leave (from his role as SVP of Sales for Virgin Atlantic). I think it’s great to see a man being promoted who has taken advantage of parental leave and would like to see this happen to more women.

What would your advice be to women who are trying to achieve their career ambitions?

Be clear what your ambitions are, what you uniquely have to offer and what your market value is. Too many women work hard, in the blind hope their efforts will be recognised and promotion will be offered. However, in reality, promotions typically have to be crafted and fought for – and if you can’t achieve your ambitions in your current company, you need to take accountability for achieving them elsewhere.