The women that lead MyKindaFuture #IWD2019
Over two thirds of our Senior Leadership Team is made up of female talent, and on International Women's Day we're celebrating that.
Let's meet the inspirational women leading the way on MyKindaFuture's impact.
Emma Ihsan, Head of Client Partnerships
"I look after relationships with our employer partners. There are two main elements to my role, both relationship-focused. The first is external, managing the commercial aspects of our employer partner relationships. The other is internal, managing a talented and dedicated Partnerships Team, working with our delivery and business development colleagues – all with the goal of growing the impact we have on young people through adding value to our partners and end customers."
Sarah Cook, Head of Delivery
"I lead our team of experts to deliver our amazing campaigns for young people and employers. Last year, I joined the Senior Leadership Team as Head of Delivery, managing all our teams supporting young people from school, to universities, to recruitment and first year in role. At 21 hitchhiked from York to Morocco to raise money for charity. Every time I think about resilience I think about that experience!"
Emma O'Connor, Head of Marketing & Brand
"My team manage MyKindaFuture’s brand identity, look and feel, customer need, and messaging across all of our platforms. I ensure we have a constant brand and increase external perception of MyKindaFuture. I have been here for almost six years, and I am not allowed to make the ‘I’d get longer for’ joke. It seems to be rare, but I am a born and bred Londoner - who talks to people on public transport!"
What empowers you about your role?
"There is never a dull moment in my team and I love that I am surrounded by such talented and dedicated colleagues. I know that what my team and I do for our partners genuinely has a really positive impact on the young people we work with on their behalf." - Emma I
"I manage five teams of very talented, passionate people who care deeply about our clients and for our customers. They always challenge me to do better and represent the needs of all our audiences in every decision. The most empowering thing about my role is the enormous trust I receive from colleagues across the business and the other members of the Senior Leadership Team. I share this same trust in my colleagues." - Sarah
"It is cliché, but we work really hard, but I do laugh out loud every day without fail – whether that be happy laughter and laughter of ‘did that just happen’! I have had Will, MyKindaFuture’s MD, as my line manager for the last five years. He pushes me a lot, but gives me the space to make mistakes and ‘sometimes’ fail. He trusts me, and bizarrely encourages me to bring my full self to work." - Emma O
What is the best thing about being part of the MyKindaFuture Senior Leadership Team?
"The impact we can have on our teams at MyKindaFuture, through the discussions we have and the decisions we make about our company culture and ways of working. I love how much my SLT colleagues care about the wider team, and it really rings true with my 'personal why' – I really want to help the people in my life, personally and professionally, and knowing I’ve had an impact on those around me really drives me." - Emma I
"I think it really helped me see a path for progression: admiring Rachel and Emma be very successful role models gave me the confidence to push myself. We’re a very collaborative SLT who benefit from challenging each other. And while we’re predominately female, each of us has a very different background and bring that diversity of experiences." - Sarah
"Being part of a close-knit team who are all driven by the same mission and all share genuine care for our colleagues. We manage to have sometimes hard and difficult conversations (as we are all so passionate about MKF, but also our business function) but still have respect and genuine friendships. I haven’t worked with people who are so 'on it' all the time and so supportive." - Emma O
Across your working life, have you ever felt disadvantaged because of your gender?
"Assumptions are made about us based on so many different factors and I believe my gender, age and ethnicity have all played a part in the assumptions people have made about me that have both disadvantaged and advantaged me. It’s important to realise that and always think about how other people perceive you, rightly or wrongly. One of my first managers gave me some fantastic advice when promoting me, that although it wasn’t fair, I’d need to work twice as hard to make the same impression as an older, white, male walking into a client meeting. But he also said I was more than capable of it, despite being a 25 year old, Asian, female." - Emma I
"I have experienced day-to-day disadvantage; assumptions about my seniority or role based on gender from clients and customers. I’ve been very lucky to have extremely supportive managers throughout my career, no matter their gender identity. I definitely feel the effects of our cultural biases on my own confidence, but thanks the fantastic women in my life and career I see those challenged every day." - Sarah
"Yes, across my career I have definitely felt being a 5ft female has made me feel disadvantaged in a room. And I am sure assumptions that have been made are not malicious. I have been on ‘Assertive Training', and told ‘how to sit to fill up space’, and build presence in a meeting. But, I am so lucky to work in an industry, a company and within a team where this isn’t an issue (shocker!). At MyKindaFuture we are all equal and encourage each other." - Emma O
What advice would you give to women wanting to excel in their desired career? How do you empower other women you work alongside?
"Advocate for each other and be each other’s allies, as together we are so much stronger than if we try and fight our causes alone. Network and spend time with others (women and men!) to learn from others' experiences and give yourself that vital external perspective we all need from time to time. The internal voices in our heads may tell us we aren’t good enough, that we aren’t suited to a particular career or promotion, but you are capable of so much more that you give yourself credit for, and those around you will help you realise that, so make sure you pay it forward." - Emma
"Be yourself. It’s a cliché but it’s true. If you focus on the skills and interests that inspire you, you’ll be the best person for the role that’s right for you. Don’t compare yourself to other people – to competition, to the mythical you who gets it right 100% of the time. Focus instead on being the 'you' that you’d like to bump into at work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or for guidance: knowing you need help is a strength, not a weakness, and most people love to give it! And then help others on their way behind you." - Sarah
"Build alliship and give people platforms – never feel threatened that someone is taking anything from you – you got your thing, help someone get theirs. Hannah in my team, she is smashing her marketing career, and it drives me so much more seeing her succeed than when I do well myself. I am vocal when people are doing good and use my own experiences to help push others – learn from the many mistakes I have already made." - Emma O
What a team! We are proud to say we harbour some incredible female talent in leading our MyKindaFuture mission. Our MD, Will Akerman, shared his take on the team:
“To grow a successful business, you need a team of amazing people – who those people are doesn’t matter, as long as they are able to bring authenticity and drive to what they do. At MyKindaFuture, we have always encouraged creativity, ownership, and responsibility across our team members at every level and function; these values are carried through our Senior Leadership Team regardless of gender, and this is what makes us so strong and impactful.”