Defining your own success

October 3, 2018

Sally Hart, who was recently appointed George F. White’s first female equity partner, reflects on her career journey at the land, business and property group

The gender pay gap continues to be a hot topic in business. According to the ONS, nationally, latest statistics show that there’s a 9.1 per cent difference between male and female pay while Government figures show that in the North East, three-quarters of men are being paid more than women.

It is clear, therefore, that there is progress to be made in closing the gender pay gap in some sectors, but we cannot disregard the fantastic and proactive business support network that exists in the North East.

Historically, in the land and property sector, the senior employment landscape has largely been dominated by men, and sadly this is still the case in many businesses. As a leading consultancy in the North East, George F. White provides opportunities across all of our business and service roles based on a transparent and fair career matrix, this is testament to how far we have come as a business and the significance of change; showcasing the value and respect we give each and every one of our employees.

In 2017, we welcomed Julie Hunter as the first female partner, while supporting graduates and those taking the first steps into their career. More recently, I became our first female equity partner.

I joined George F. White in 2014 as head of communications and, within six months, was invited to join the board. Over the past four years, I have successfully rebranded George F. White, played an instrumental role in the first change of managing partner in 25 years, and instructed a full strategic review of the business.

I personally have never felt that I have been disadvantaged in business for being a woman, however, I have experienced perceptions towards me, whether that be age or gender. The biggest perception, for me, is that as soon as you start a family, your career is over – this is simply not true. I started my own family within my first year as operations director and have since been invited to become an equity partner.

I truly believe that you define your own success; if you have a strong skill set and ambition then it is all about finding the opportunity or business that will support your development and growth. We should be very proud of the support network that exists for both business women and men in the region; it is right that we actively encourage and champion one another.

At George F. White, we concentrate on engaging with young talent, ensuring that we develop the next generation of our team, both male and female, to be the best they can be. I must stress how important it is to nurture young talent in the region; if there are no opportunities, inevitably young people are going to leave the North East to pursue their careers elsewhere.

We all know that being successful in business is not easy and there will be stumbling blocks along the way, however, your success is largely dependent on the lessons that you take from the mistakes you make. This is some of the best advice I’ve been given; it is critically important that we share our knowledge with our young talent, we have made a huge amount of progress in developing the North East as a business hub, and I see equality, engagement and mentorship as the next step for the region.

The business landscape is forever changing, becoming increasingly competitive and chaotic both at the same time. This presents a great opportunity to push forward the mutual business desire, cross-sector, to create level playing field and equality for all to succeed, irrespective of age, class or gender.

George F. White

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