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International Women's Day: Q&A with Claire Gosnell

International Women's Day: Q&A with Claire Gosnell

Hannah Taylor International Women's Day, Career Advice

Carter Murray is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2019. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Whilst we all know that gender parity within the workplace has improved over the past decades, we all also know that there is still a long way to go.

We would like to join the discussion and be part of International Women's Day 2019 #BalanceforBetter campaign on the 8th March by interviewing inspiring women we work with and, in particular, understanding the role confidence has played in their career.

Carter Murray interviewed Claire Gosnell, Global Head of Brand, Communications and Marketing, Clifford Chance LLP.

How do you define confidence, particularly in the workplace?

The willingness to speak up; to stand apart from the herd; to be yourself.  I don't think that confidence is something you have, or don't have. For me, it is something to work on constantly.

Do you think women’s workplace confidence has improved over the past few decades? Please explain why.

Organisations that are more open to and which welcome diversity, create spaces for different ideas and perspectives, different ways of working, different leadership and management models.  There are a lot more of these than there used to be.  That has been hugely beneficial not just for women but for everyone in the workplace.  A lot of progress has been made but there is a huge amount left to do.

How important have confidence and self-belief been in achieving your career goals? Please explain why.

Absolutely critical.  My background is in communications: a role based on advising others but where there is often no 'right' or 'wrong' answer.  To give effective guidance, and for your advice to be trusted and followed, you need to believe in your knowledge, your capabilities and your analysis of the situation; you need to be confident in how you express yourself and confident enough to engage in discussion and debate.  It has been an invaluable training ground for my career.

How much has risk-taking contributed to your career development?

Twice, in the early stages of my career, I learnt that male colleagues were being paid more than me.  On both occasions, I challenged the decision as I felt that my contribution and performance were equal to, if not greater than, theirs.  It was scary, and it did not make me popular, but in each case, the point was acknowledged by the organisation's leadership. For me, it wasn't the money that mattered, it was about believing in myself. The fact that I spoke up was hugely empowering and gave me the confidence to put myself forward for opportunities that I might otherwise have declined.  In a sense, these were tipping points for me that have defined much of my thinking about my professional life subsequently.