International Women's Day

International Women's Day

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At Ambition Group, we recognise that diversity and equality starts with our own employees. We are committed to promoting equal opportunities amongst our team. Globally, more than half of our employees are female, with several leading and managing teams.

To mark International Women’s Day this year, we spoke to some of the female leaders in our Ambition offices globally to learn more about their career journey, the things they’ve learnt, and advice that they have for other women looking to progress their careers. Let’s support and highlight the efforts of women so that we can collectively #BreakTheBias.

​Olivia Kelly

Principal Consultant – Legal Finance & Accounting, Ambition UK

How have you progressed your career at Ambition?

I joined Ambition as a Consultant having had a year’s experience previously and have moved up the ranks to become a Divisional Manager and now a Principal Consultant working towards my next promotion. Since I started in 2012 I’ve been able to get promoted every 2 years so there have been steady opportunities for me to climb the ladder. I’ve always been fully supported to do what I’ve wanted to do and to achieve my career goals at Ambition.

What advice would you give to other women looking to progress their careers?

​Surround yourself with strong like-minded people and find yourself a supportive employer. Work hard, be committed, show loyalty, be confident and never take ‘no’ for an answer or let someone tell you that you can’t do something – the sky’s the limit and you can do anything you set your mind to.

Rhoda Rivera

Director, Banking & Financial Services, Ambition Hong Kong

How have you progressed your career at Ambition?

I started with Ambition as the only consultant focusing on Contracting recruitment back in 2006 where I eventually specialised on serving our banking and financial services clients for almost 5 years. I left to pursue a career in an in-house talent acquisition role, and managed sizeable teams in other recruitment firms the following years.

After those years of what we now fondly call my “extended sabbatical”, I “boomeranged” back to Ambition nearly 6 years ago to head up the Banking & Financial Services team and have progressed from Divisional Manager, Associate Director to now a Director.

What helped you achieve that?

I was proactive and transparent in sharing my career goals with my manager from the beginning and I was able to get clarity of my Personal Development Plan as soon as possible. This means both my manager and I know what support I need and development areas to improve on.

It also helps a great deal to have a manager who listens and provides advice, but at the same time, gives me a lot of trust in shaping my team. I’ve also been very fortunate to have colleagues who were good sounding boards when it came to sharing challenges of managing and growing teams, as well a great brand, team, platform and culture to back me up.

What advice would you give to other women looking to progress their careers?

Be transparent to your manager about your career aspirations and make time to take stock of what you’ve achieved in your role on a regular basis. The latter in particular, gives you the confidence to have the conversation with your manager about your progress and your value to the business.

Sometimes, especially with a growing or sizeable business, things do slip from the radar and it’s up to you to make sure the good work you do is noticed.

Another advice, especially for less seasoned recruiters, is to get rid of ego and learn to give yourself a critical eye. If you’re not constantly improving and pushing yourself, then you will never develop. No one is a finished product and the more you recognise that, the faster your progress in becoming successful. Self-awareness goes a long way!

Kylie Blackwell

Director of Melbourne

How has Ambition supported your career?

Since joining Ambition I can honestly say that for the first time as a leader, my voice is heard, and I have ownership of my business.

Having come from a large corporate, it is challenging to influence positive change. I have the ability to run my Melbourne business the way I feel would be the best and also have fantastic support and trust from the Managing Director. I also feel like I work for someone who is 100% on the same page as me regarding putting people first.

How would you describe the workplace culture at Ambition?

Our fantastic culture, I feel that this is something that a lot of people claim to have but we genuinely encourage everyone to bring their authentic self. It is amazing how well everyone gets on and are all so respectful of each other.

What advice would you give to other women looking to progress their careers?

I would encourage every woman who is looking to progress their career to work hard and be themselves, focus on the areas of your job that make you happy.

I am motivated by others’ success, and I identified this early in my life. I knew that I was going to be a strong leader, so I went after leadership opportunities. Go after what you want, don’t be afraid to be yourself and the worst that can happen is you get a “no”, so try and try again.

Joanna Tan

Associate Director, Contracting, Ambition Singapore

How have you progressed your career at Ambition?

Ambition has provided me with a strong and open platform to grow and to perform. I was entrusted with the opportunity to grow the contracting business alongside with my team members when I join. And with everyone’s consistent hard work and effort, the contracting team had a record-breaking year in 2021.

I was fortunate enough to have a competent team, and together with strong support from my manager and the management team, I was promoted to an Associate Director after crossing my 2 year mark in Ambition.

What helped you achieve that?

Setting clear small goals every month, be resilient and encouraging open communication and trust in the team and the organization, where everyone works towards common goals and direction together.

As it usually takes time to see results for the contracting business, Persistency, Endurance and Speed are the essential keys to seeing success in the long run. We preserved through even when things are tough.

What advice would you give to other women looking to progress their careers?

Always trust your own capabilities. Be genuine and adaptable, yet humble enough to always continue learning and asking questions when in doubt. Trust that hard work will definitely produce results eventually as long as we do not give up.

​Sophie Hirst

Operations Manager, Australia

How have you progressed your career at Ambition?

I first started in 2019 as an Employee Experience Manager primarily looking after the contractor care space. After a year and half in that position I was keen to take on more responsibilities and I am very grateful that I have a very supportive Manager who jumped right in and supported me in becoming the Operations Manager. Both Ambition and my manager have been really supportive in both my career and personal development.

What’s one thing you enjoy about working at Ambition?

One day is never the same. I have a wide scope of responsibilities so I’m always keeping busy with different tasks and learning something new pretty much every day. Since coming into the operations role I have worked on multiple projects and processes which is allowing me to grow within my role and have continuous learning curves.

How would you describe the workplace culture at Ambition?

We have a very collaborative and supportive culture. Over the last couple of years, since having to go digital, I have felt that there was a shift where our offices worked quite separately to now working as one. We are all tight knit and it has created a lovely, fun work environment.

Marguerite Clooney

Principal Consultant – BD & Marketing, Ambition UK

How has Ambition supported your career?

I joined as a Principal Consultant and initially wanted to grow my own team and become a Divisional Manager. I achieved that, and it worked really well for a couple of years but following my maternity leave I decided I wanted to move away from management and stick to a billing role. Ambition were very flexible and allowed me to do that. I moved back into a Principal Consultant role and that works really well for me now that I have a family.

What advice would you give to other women looking to progress their careers?

Circumstances can change throughout your life so my best advice would be to be open and honest with your employer about your situation and what working patterns are going to work best for you. It’s important to find an employer that can be flexible and supportive as this is what is ultimately going to make you happiest in both your work and home life.

Gemma Burke

Marketing Executive, Australia

How have you progressed your career at Ambition?

I have been lucky to work across the business in various roles and locations. I started in the London office as a Consultant, then relocated to the Sydney office where I progressed to Senior Consultant. In 2018, I made a career change and moved from the sales team into a back-office role supporting the Consultants across Australia with marketing.

I’ve been supported no-end by Ambition over the years. Firstly my relocation from the UK to Australia and then again when I decided to make the career change from and front-office sales role into marketing.

What advice would you give to other women looking to progress their careers?

I think, especially in the earlier days of my career, I suffered from imposter syndrome a lot. If I could give other women advice on progressing their careers it would be don’t doubt yourself so much because if you want something, you can do it. If you are prepared to put the effort in and you are open to learn, then there is no reason why you can’t achieve it.

Nadiah Mahad

Marketing Manager, Ambition Asia

How have you progressed your career at Ambition?

4 years ago, I joined Ambition as a Marketing Executive for Asia. After almost 2 years, I was promoted to Senior Marketing Executive before I was offered the opportunity to lead the Marketing team for Asia and then promoted to Marketing Manager. Throughout my time in Ambition, I've had access to plenty of opportunities to develop myself professionally and personally, and to work towards my career aspirations.

What helped you achieve that?

During these 4 years, I've been supported by incredible managers who have given me the space to work on different projects and marketing campaigns. They've provided me with advice and feedback that has allowed me to push myself, and improve my skills and knowledge.

I'm also grateful to have a strong and capable team who are committed to achieve success and build a stronger brand for Ambition. Together, we've been able to pursue new ideas (with the backing of our Asia leadership team) without fear of failure, and worked on improving our marketing strategies for the region.

What advice would you give to other women looking to progress their careers?

Be confident in yourself, and fearlessly ask for and pursue opportunities that will allow you to take the next step in your career. Everyone starts somewhere and do not wait for opportunities to be given to you; you have to seize them!

Julia Green

HR Manager, UK

How have you progressed your career at Ambition?

I joined Ambition 10 years ago as a Recruitment Consultant, then had the opportunity to move into a Client Services role. I later transitioned into a HR position which was what I had always wanted to do. Ambition paid for me to take my level 5 CIPD qualification and have been very supportive in enabling me to achieve my career aspirations. ​

What advice would you give to other women looking to progress their careers?

If you have a plan that you want to do, stick with it and let your employer know what it is you want to do. There may be some days where you think you’re not going to get there, but keep going and you will get there eventually!

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