Jersey women in leadership

I was pleasantly surprised when I took up my role at TMF Jersey to discover that 50% of their board is female. In fact, an impressive 60.9% of managers and above are women.

I have been very lucky in my lifetime to have grown up in a world full of inspirational women. From J.K. Rowling to Hilary Clinton, I have never been short of role models. However, when it comes to the world of big businesses, equality is still far from being achieved. According to a report by Catalyst.org in March last year, women hold a mere 10.6% of positions on the boards of Fortune 500 companies.

This is why I was pleasantly surprised when I took up my role at TMF Jersey to discover that 50% of their board is female. In fact, an impressive 60.9% of those in manager and above positions are female.

I spoke to three women working for TMF Jersey - all directors - and asked them some questions about their experiences in the workplace.

Fiona Hurley - Director of Client Services

  • Who is a woman that has inspired you?

Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop. I once attended a presentation where she was the keynote speaker in Jersey addressing women in business, and found her fascinating to listen to. More locally, my first boss in trust and company administration, Margaret Alexander. She taught me so much about the business and helped me develop my management and leadership skills.

  • Have you ever been discriminated against in the workplace for being female?

Not knowingly, although on one occasion whilst working for a large bank they did admit to me that they paid me less than my male colleagues and gave bigger bonuses to men - it was a bit of a shock!

  • From what you have seen, would you describe the finance industry in Jersey as a "boys' club" or are women catching up now?

I think it used to be, certainly in some organisations - the one I mentioned above certainly was. Less so these days - take a look at the list of key people on any fiduciary company website and you will see more women there.

Michaela Harrison-Gray - Director of Real Estate

  • How would you describe your management style?

Probably better to ask those who work with me, but I hope I am fair and unbiased. I believe in meritocracy and that people should be recognised and rewarded on their performance and competence and aspire for my style to reflect that. I am an advocator of finding strengths in others and capitalising on that rather than trying to make people fit a set criteria which may not be what they are about. I think there is always room for personal improvement though and I would love to be more cool and aloof but sadly that's just not me!

  • Have you ever been discriminated against in the workplace for being female?

Probably yes, but it can work both ways too. In the property world, it is still quite male dominated so standing out as a competent woman who knows what she is doing helps. I do think that working mothers remain quite undervalued in the workplace, as often the perception by the old-school of the flexibility needed to bring up a family and be a great worker, prohibits certain fabulous women from returning to the workplace and getting the opportunities they deserve.

  • What advice would you give anyone aspiring to be where you are today?

Work hard, try to stay out of the politics and network well, surrounding yourself with great people will help you on your way and make the ride much more fun!

Charlotte Eastwood – Director of Risk and Compliance

  • Who is a woman who has inspired you?

My maternal grandmother. She was incredibly hardworking and ran her own business for 60 years which, considering that she was born in the 1800s, was very unusual. Her motto in life which I have applied myself was “Never ask anyone to do anything that you are not prepared to do yourself”. Her business was very much a people business and she believed that nobody was ever above any jobs.

  • Have you ever been discriminated against in the workplace for being female?

 No, not obviously. I have, however had some amusing questions. When I was being interviewed for my training contract while becoming a solicitor, the man who was interviewing me told me that he wouldn’t bother to ask me the next question because it was whether or not I could play cricket for the firm, which just goes to show how male dominated it really was back then (this was in 1972).

When I told my father that I wanted to become a solicitor he told me that I would be “depriving a man of a job”. I told him that every client was entitled to the best advice regardless of whether it came from a man or a woman.

  • From what you have seen, would you describe the finance industry in Jersey as a "boys' club" or are women catching up now?

Yes it is still a boys’ club. There are still very few women who make it to board level jobs. They do get senior jobs, but they just never seem to make it to the top. This will change slowly, it has already improved a little bit in the eight years I have been in Jersey.

Personally, I am lucky enough never to (knowingly) have been discriminated against for my sex, and although the finance industry in general may still have work to do before equality is achieved, having women leading the TMF Jersey office with such diverse backgrounds and management styles gives me hope that both the women I work with any myself will have many more opportunities than our predecessors and may finally be able to balance out the workplace.

Read - and watch - more from the high-calibre female leaders at TMF Group.

Explore our current opportunities available worldwide.

Jess  Healy
Opinion

Speak to our experts today

Get in touch to find out how our experts can help grow your business. If you need any more information, or simply wish to ask a question, feel free to get in touch.

Make an enquiry

Keeping up to date

You can now receive our insights and regulatory updates direct to your inbox by choosing the topics and jurisdictions that most interest you. 

Subscribe to our e-Alerts.