International Women’s Day 2024: An interview with Candace Miller

As part of our celebration of International Women’s Day we spoke to our Managing Director, Candace Miller, about her views on inspiring women within the workforce.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? And why do you feel it is important that we celebrate it?

Across the globe, far too many women are still being marginalised and disadvantaged.  International Women’s day is an opportunity to continue to raise this issue and I celebrate it because I believe it is incumbent on all of us, whether we have first-hand experience of marginalisation or not, to raise our voice and challenge inequity.

This year’s theme is ‘inspire inclusion’. In your role, tell us a bit about how you support this aim.

I hope I inspire inclusion through my actions and words.  I try to make it plain that I want to involve and hear from people with a wide range of experiences and perspectives, and that I will always encourage their participation and challenge any barriers that prevent them engaging.

Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?

If everyone has had the same experiences in life and the same outlook, all you get is group think.  That just stifles innovation and it prevents a fully rounded perspective being created on the opportunities, limitations and potential pitfalls of processes, products and services.  Healthy, constructive disagreement which is properly heard is essential for improvements and creativity to flourish in the workplace. And the best way to get that is to encourage a range of diverse views to be shared.

What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

Be confident, be open to taking risks with your career to find out what really ticks all your boxes and above all keep learning and developing.  You will be in work for a long time, so absolutely choose something that you can take some pride in, but don’t be afraid to head off in another direction if some roles just aren’t working out for you.  Most of us will change direction at least once, if not several times in our working lives, and each change is an opportunity for further growth, so embrace that.

If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Too many to choose from! One person I truly admired though was the indomitable Mo Mowlam MP.  She spoke truth to power, knew her areas of expertise and her limitations and made a real difference in helping build bridges between communities in northern Ireland.  She was a woman of principle, and I would love to hear her take on the world today.  Boadicea would be another interesting dinner party companion – what a warrior, she fought for justice and independence against an overwhelming foe, which should be an inspiration to us all.  And finally, can I have my own mother to dinner?  She died many years ago but it was her commitment to education and her determination to provide children in deprived areas with high quality schooling that ultimately led to my own career path, so I’d like to bring her up to date on how the education world is faring now.

If you want to read about another inspirational female leader, check out our interview with Samantha Samuels, Group Manager at West Midlands Fire Service.

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