- Date: 05/03/2021
This International Women's Day we're sharing the fantastic career journey and achievements of two Honeycomb Group women.
Here's Head of Finance Sharon's story...
Share your career journey with us, from your first “proper” job to now…
My journey doesn’t have many twists and turns unlike some, after university I applied for three jobs and got my pick of them. I chose Kerrygold in Leek and started there as Assistant Financial Accountant in June 1992. Bit different to housing, stock takes there needed fork lift trucks (you’d be surprised how cheese can go missing) and I’ll never forget the men in wellies standing in large vats of cream cheese stirring it around. Oh and the blue hair nets and shoe coverings I had to wear every time I went on the factory were so fetching! As I found my feet I got handed the sister company’s accounts to look after in my own right; they manufactured and sold milk powder, so again very different to what we do here. In 1998 when I returned from maternity leave I applied for a role of Finance Officer at Honeycomb Group (or Staffordshire Housing Association as it was then). After that I was promoted to Finance Manager in 2001 and then to Head of Finance in 2014. Who knows what’s next…
What is your favourite career achievement so far?
This may sound really silly but a few years ago when we were talking about using assessment centres here to recruit for new staff, I applied for a job where they interviewed this way purely because I had never experienced it and I decided that I shouldn’t be expecting someone else to do something that I never had. Anyway the result totally surprised me, to cut a long story short, I spent a long day at the assessment centre and didn’t think any more about the job, I’d done my bit, got the experience, move on. Low and behold the next morning they rang to offer me the job, and while it was a very good and tempting offer I obviously didn’t take it because I’m still here today. I can still feel the emotion, and the feel good factor of knowing that I was marketable and could spread my wings if I wanted to was quite liberating. So I celebrated with champagne a job I never accepted.
What is your favourite achievement outside of your career?
I know every mum probably says the same but it has to be my son. I am so proud of how he has turned out and can’t believe that in a couple of months he’ll be a qualified doctor…and it gets better, he starts getting paid then too so life will seem richer for both of us! He always asks why he’s an only child and I reply that I hit the jackpot first time so stuck with perfection!
What would you tell young women who are just starting to work?
Believe in yourself and whatever you want to do go for it. A career or a family? You can choose either but it doesn’t have to be a choice, you can have both and still be very happy. Never feel guilty about packing the children off to nursery; I realised this when one half term I managed to get a day off at last minute to spend with Josh so he didn’t have to go to nursery and he asked to go rather than stay at home with me!
What is one thing you wish more people knew about women in the workplace?
That we can do whatever we set our minds to and while we all have different approaches we need that variety to make a balanced and happy workplace.