'You never get promoted for just doing your job’

Panel discussion at C&IT's Corporate Forum covers career progression and returning to work after maternity leave.

At C&IT’s Corporate Forum, delegates took the stage for a lively impromptu panel discussion on career progression and work-life balance in the events industry

Taking part in the debate were Rachel Kenny, events lead at Investors in People, Laura Brighton, senior events manager at Groupe Renault, Tina Moynihan, events producer at Guardian News & Media and Kate Scully, global travel manager at G4S.

“You never ever get promoted for just doing your job,” said Scully. “You have to go above and beyond […] it’s beyond skills and education, it’s about attitude commitment and passion.”

Moynihan added that women have to advocate more for themselves in the workplace. She said that women can often work very hard and not shout about it for fear of coming across as too “boisterous”.

“We should all really talk about our accomplishments, talk about our achievements and let our managers know,” she said. “If you work silently, no-one is going to know.”

Kenny advocates mentorship schemes and setting goals as to where you want to be and what you want to do, which she says has helped her progress her own career quite quickly. “When you tick off the tasks your confidence grows,” she said.

The panel also talked about maternity leave, and how far it can affect women’s career progression.

As someone who has is phasing her return back to work from maternity leave, Brighton said: “As women, we’re very conscious and self-aware that we may be seen as not being able to perform in the same way as men especially when we’ve got children.”

She said that returning mothers have to find their voice to express what workload they are able to manage in the hours they are able to work.

“There is no-one more efficient at planning their day than a working mother. They are the absolute masters of multitasking, planning and not time-wasting. They use every minute efficiently.”

Scully added that businesses must accept more flexible working for parents, and asked individuals to call people out if they criticise parents for not being seen around the office all the time.

“Work-life balance is not just for parents,” added Brighton. She said there is a danger that non-parents can be overlooked for flexible working, adding that corporates are well behind agencies in terms of work-life balance.

“Our industry has a huge issue with it, […] everyone needs to prioritise their mental health and ensure that they don’t burn out.”

Watch the video above to see the whole discussion.

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