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I'm currently working as the Senior Brand Manager for Felix and I love it! I studied Biology at university and wanted to be a Marine Biologist but after realising it wasn't the career for me, I was lucky enough to join Nestlé through the Marketing Graduate Scheme in 2016. As part of the scheme, I received a huge amount of personal and professional development through the Nestlé Academy. I've never stopped learning because there are so many opportunities at the company.

Tell us about a time you received support from another woman at work. How did it help your professional development?

When I stepped up into my first Senior Brand Manager role, I was line managed by an inspirational woman. Aside from being passionate and insightful, her support made me feel confident and empowered to challenge the status quo, develop my own leadership style, and ultimately enabled me to be my best and whole self at work. Having an example of leadership in other women you can really connect with can be that nudge to push yourself - it's different for everyone, but this particular superwoman was exactly what I needed at that point in my career. 

Why is it important to have balanced teams? 

Teams that are gender, age and ethnically diverse make better decisions 87% of the time. This statistic always stands out to me as an obvious reason why diversity of thought and experience should be critical to businesses. We know that balanced teams make better business decisions, and we know that this translates into business results. From a cultural point of view, we also know balanced teams are linked to individuals feeling valued and create a sense of belonging which is critical to engagement. 

What can we do personally to make a difference, so everyone feels valued and included? 

Little shifts in behaviour can make a big difference. There are three areas that I think it's worth focusing on: 

Recognising big and small contributions and successes from your colleagues on an ongoing basis. Something as small as letting your colleague know how much you valued their input in a meeting or their effort on a project, can make a significant impact on their day. Doing this consistently over time helps everyone feel like their contribution and effort is valued. 

Recognising that different styles and inputs are valued makes a huge impact too. It's easy to only recognise certain behaviours, particularly if they're similar to yours. But there are many ways to achieve the same results. Celebrating these differences in approach help set the example that your unique way of working adds value. I personally like to bring in different people with different backgrounds and experiences to give me feedback on work and projects to make sure I can build their views into what I do.  

Making a conscious effort to get to know each other as people. Shift from mundane everyday conversations and being more purposeful and intentional with conversations - not just asking everyone 'how are you?' without waiting for the answer, but instead asking and answering with meaning. You'd be surprised how being more intentional and honest in these situations can really shift the dial in terms of building rapport and meaningful relationships with those you work with. 

Lastly, celebrating our differences! Be this different cultural events or holidays… be aware of what impact these might have on your colleagues and celebrate these events with them!