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  • Writer's pictureLynna Tan

Celebrating International Women's Day 2024: Empowering Women Leaders

Introduction:


At Rebuild Relief, we believe in celebrating the achievements of women not just on International Women's Day, but every day. As a company dedicated to providing top-notch hail damage insurance claims management, we recognise the invaluable contributions of women in our industry. In honour of International Women's Day 2024, we're excited to spotlight three remarkable women from our senior leadership team, each contributing to our company's success in their unique ways.



Meet Our Inspiring Leaders:


From left to right: Megan Jack (Head of People and Culture), Melissa Fernandez (Customer Administrator) and Lucy Gavin (General Manager)





Now, let's delve into their insights and experiences as leaders in our organisation:


Q. What key experiences or individuals have influenced your career path, and how have they shaped your leadership style?

Lucy:

Interestingly enough I think I have been more inspired by friends and coworkers and bosses that didn't do the right thing by people, and I made it my goal to never treat people the way that they did. 

I want people to know they are allowed to SHINE BRIGHT LIKE THE STARS THAT THEY ARE! I love being the kind of leader that gets to celebrate everyone's wins.


Megan:

I never thought of myself as a leader until early on in my career when the person I was working for pointed out that I had leadership potential. I didn't realise that what I was doing or saying was being emulated by others, I was just focussed on doing a really good job. 


This one conversation unlocked many doors for me as I started to explore what a career in leadership might look like, My early days as a young leader were filled with difficult challenges but I knew I was supported by someone who believed in me. I feel really lucky to have had a leader who encouraged, guided and supported me through my early days and I often reflect on what would have been if that conversation never took place.


Melissa: 

Sara Blakely's journey from selling fax machines door-to-door to becoming the founder of Spanx and the youngest self-made female billionaire has been an inspiration and influence on my career path in sales and leadership. Her story embodies the essence of Strategic Thinker, Problem Solver and Growth Mindset, all of which have shaped my approach to sales and my development as a leader in Rebuild Relief as these are some of our core values.


Sarah Blakey has also taught me to openly share challenges, failure and lessons learned. As this can provide valuable insights and encouragement to others. Leaders go first and by sharing our lessons openly others can learn from it.


Q. In your opinion, what are the most significant challenges that individuals face in the workplace today, and how can we collectively address and overcome them?

Lucy:

I think one of the most recent changes that have come across workplaces is that employees are looking for more flexibility from their workplaces, and work/life balance is a priority to a lot of people. As much as we want to be a flexible workplace, and we offer flexible start times and we are rolling out a work from home program, I think it can often be underestimated how much work has to go on in the background in order to make the roles suit flexible arrangements. Especially in a workplace like ours where we really value our office culture and our connections we have with all the teams, it will be a challenge to keep that comradery and mateship if everyone is operating on different schedules.


Megan:

I think many workplaces expect their employees to leave parts of themselves at the door. I think we all know that unless we bring our whole selves to work with us, we aren't being authentic and it can be difficult to be the best versions of us. I am proud to work for a business that embraces the full person and not just part of them. We are lucky that our business understands personal challenges and how they impact our people and takes steps to create flexibility for our people to accommodate any personal circumstances or challenges that come up. 


Melissa:

We are blessed to be part of Rebuild Relief, an organisation that genuinely cares for its staff. It's disheartening to hear from many friends about the toxic environments at their workplaces, primarily due to a lack of concern for staff well-being. Fortunately, we don't face that issue here at Rebuild Relief. However, like any workplace, we do encounter our own set of challenges.

In my view, one of the most significant challenges we face at Rebuild Relief is identifying and prioritising tasks, with an emphasis on tackling the more challenging ones first. Given our fast-paced environment, there's a tendency to focus on urgent but less critical tasks, sidestepping the more complex ones due to their intimidating nature. This approach can lead to inefficiency and opportunities for growth.


Key Strategies to Overcome This Challenge:

  • Use of Calendar/Time Blocking: Leveraging work calendars to schedule specific times of the day for the more challenging tasks is crucial. If a task isn't in the calendar, there's a high chance it won't get done. Prioritise these times when your energy and focus are at their peak.

  • Set Deadlines: By establishing clear deadlines for each task, we can create a sense of urgency that aids in effective prioritisation. Reflect and Adjust: It's important to regularly review our prioritisation strategy. This allows us to identify what's working, what isn't, and make the necessary adjustments.

Addressing the challenge of prioritisation and adopting a strategy to confront the more demanding tasks first can significantly enhance our productivity and contribute to our professional development. At Rebuild Relief, overcoming these challenges together not only strengthens our team but also aligns with our organisational values of growth and efficiency.


Q. As a leader, what role do you believe mentorship and sponsorship play in fostering the professional development of individuals in the workplace?

Lucy:

Having a mentor or coach who you can look up to has been a total game changer in my career. Often by discussing challenges or situations you need to handle, with someone more experienced, you can see that most of the time these are not new issues, they are things other people have gone through and overcome. By taking the opportunity to learn from other people it will save you having to reinvent the wheel every time something new happens to you


Megan:

I am really lucky to have had strong mentors throughout my career. I have also had the privilege of mentoring many young leaders and helping them to grow and develop their skills. My biggest passion as a leader is supporting and growing new leaders and knowing that they have a support, guide and coach makes the leadership journey so much easier. 


New leaders face significant challenges as they navigate their way through their early days of people management and having a mentor or sponsor is a safety net and support for those more difficult challenges.


Melissa:

The advice from my mentor, "you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with," really hits home because it shows just how much the people around us shape who we are. This idea highlights why having great mentors in the workplace is so crucial. Mentorship is all about learning from someone who's been there and done that. They give you the inside knowledge on how to tackle work problems, upgrade skills, and make smart moves in our career.


Mentors are also there to give us a pat on the back and push us to challenge ourselves, boosting our confidence every step of the way. Essentially, having a mentor is like having a guide and a cheerleader all rolled into one, making the journey a lot less daunting and a lot more rewarding.


Q. What advice would you give to professionals, regardless of gender, who aspire to reach leadership positions in their careers?

Lucy:

Take opportunities that are offered to you, even if you aren't quite sure how you will handle it, because 99% of the time you will figure it out when you get there. Just say yes first, then figure out how later. 


Megan:

Do not wait for the leadership title to start being a leader! A leader is so much more than a title and some of the best leaders I have had the pleasure of witnessing do not have a leadership title at all. Throughout my career, I never waited for opportunities to present themselves but rather always behaved and delivered results based on the next role I wanted. If you think and act in the mindset of the position you want to have in the future, you are very likely to be the person who is chosen when that position becomes available. 


Melissa:

For professionals who aspire leadership roles, my tip is straightforward: Dress for the position you aim for. Strive to be punctual, or even better, arrive early, ready to dive in and go first. Achieve your KPIs. Show a keen willingness to learn and be open to feedback, making adjustments as needed. Encourage your peers and carry yourself as a leader. Ensure your actions are in harmony with the role you're targeting. Ask meaningful questions, show appreciation/gratitude and crucially embody your company's core values


Conclusion

At Rebuild Relief, we recognise and celebrate the invaluable contributions of women in leadership positions. Megan, Lucy, and Melissa exemplify the spirit of empowerment and resilience, driving our company forward with their dedication and expertise. As we honour International Women's Day 2024, let's continue championing gender equality and creating opportunities for women to thrive in all aspects of life.


Join us in celebrating the achievements of women worldwide, today and every day.


Happy International Women's Day!


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