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Lisa Entwistle-Gray

Software Application Centre Director

Lisa leads a team of multi-disciplined individuals based in both the UK and India. The team provides dedicated technical, development and consultancy services for our internal financial and management systems.

Why is it important for women to support each other in the workplace?

There has been a lot of focus on ‘toxic masculinity’ but I think that we need to acknowledge that ‘toxic femininity’ is also a thing. Women often find themselves in a situation where either subconsciously or otherwise, they feel compelled to compete with each other. It’s important for women to show empathy and understanding to each other, and break the destructive cycle of unhealthy competition and judgement. How we as women treat each other sets a precedent for what's acceptable – and so the change really has to come from us. Women who empower women is more than just a slogan. It can make the difference to both our professional successes and mental and emotional wellbeing.

How do you think gender equal workplaces can be achieved? 

They can be achieved by building a strong sense of team culture that’s focused on goals and outcomes. Organisations are made up of people – and success within an organisation is when those people work together and support each other – regardless of gender, age, race or ability! If the team achieves a goal – the dividers/labels we put on each other should fall away because we learn to appreciate the value of each other's contribution to the team's success. We all win – or no one wins in my team!

What more can women do to motivate each other in the workplace?

I've noticed over the years that women tend to underestimate themselves which is a real shame. I’ve seen that they’re more likely to shy away from a new role or challenge because they don’t know how to do the job fully or think they might fail, or they don’t try because, ‘What’s the point, someone else will get it as they’re bound to be better!’, and that’s just not the point.

I encourage the women in my team by making sure they know that first comes the passion and the drive, and then comes prowess; ‘We might not know right now how to do all the bits of the new role or next stage of our careers’, but that’s part of the fun of taking on the new challenge’. And, if we’re honest, everyone when going for a new role or reaching for that next step up in their career ladder, has things they'll need to learn!

I also reassure them that it’s okay to know that you have the capability to do something… even if right now you know you can’t actually do it! The passion and drive to try and keep trying is the biggest part of the battle. Then, it’s about not being so hard on yourself for putting yourself out there – even if you do fail, you've still grown and achieved something in some way. 

I love the two Thomas Edison quotes about this: "I haven't failed – I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work,” and “Many of life's failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.”