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#IWD2019 : 5 women at CIEL share their navigating paths to gender equality

In: CIEL Group | March 2019

POONAM KEENOO-SEEGOOLAM

Head of Operations - MITCO, CIEL Finance


“THE KEY TO ACHIEVE THE RIGHT BALANCE IS TO HAVE SHARED RESPONSIBILITIES AT HOME”

I am a firm believer that regardless of gender, one must demonstrate that he or she possesses the right skills and attitude to climb the corporate ladder. However, due to family responsibilities, women find it more difficult to reconcile their professional and domestic lives, leading to limited professional development prospects or having to make a choice between their careers and family life. I have observed that women, including top performers, often scale down their professional ambitions after starting a family. So far, I have managed to overcome such difficulties through planning and determination. Also, I have always embraced change and strongly believe in continuous self-development. But most important of all, I have the full support of my family, the trust of my subordinates and the endorsement of my superiors. At MITCO, we believe in giving everyone the opportunity to grow and progress in their career regardless of gender. I strongly believe that the key to achieve the right balance is to have shared responsibilities at home so that there isn’t a disproportionate weight on women, when it comes to achieving their career aspirations. Other factors like access to flexitime or working from home could also play a part inclosing the gap. Not surprisingly, until these become part of our culture, we will continue to see more men holding senior positions and board gender diversity will remain a contentious issue.


ANNALINE BAX

Restaurant & Events Manager - La Vallée de Ferney, CIEL Agro & Property


“IRRESPECTIVE OF GENDER, PEOPLE NEED TO BE ASSESSED ON THEIR POTENTIAL"

Men and women are different, but both have their own strengths and weaknesses. However, saying that some jobs are only for men and others, only for women, is complete nonsense. One’s gender doesn’t determine whether they will excel in a given job. In my case, I don’t think that being a woman has impacted my professional career in any way whatsoever. It has only been a matter of will, determination and hard work. I never felt either superior or inferior to anybody, be it a man or a woman. Nothing is easy in life. Passion is the main ingredient of success. My work ethic, commitment to doing a good job, integrity and the sacrifices I made, as well as the support from my family, have brought me this far. This new position at La Vallée de Ferney is a milestone in my career, and I’m so delighted to have joined this family. Gender equality remains a touchy topic and an ever-ending debate. Often, gender issues come into play when deciding a salary, a job position and even a promotion. But irrespective of gender, people need to be assessed on their potential and what they can bring to the table.


TINA SHARMA

Head Business unit - Laboratory for MSCL, CIEL Healthcare


“IT’S THE QUALITY OF WORKYOU DELIVER THAT ALLOWS YOU TO MOVE UP THE LADDER”

Women have always been involved, in various capacities, in the healthcare sector. They are increasingly present in management positions, both locally and globally. In my experience, it is the quality of work you deliver that makes you move up the ladder. If you are dedicated and willing to put in the hard work, it will speak for itself. I started as part-time lab administrator, and as the role grew, I began to enjoy the day-to-day challenges at work and took the decision to work full time. New challenges were added to my portfolio every year and I now head a business unit. I have been lucky to have exceptional bosses who fully supported me. The people and work culture keep me inspired in doing good work. Going forward, it’s the mindset that needs to be changed since the society we live in still sets social norms and expectations for women that do not apply for men. Women are more limited as to the hours they can devote to their work because of their family commitments. Supporting women with flexible hour options and providing childcare services could encourage more women to enter this field, in which they can make valuable contributions.


JANE YEE SAK CHAN

Chief Financial Officer - Tropic Knits Group, CIEL Textile

" I WAS GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO GROW MY SKILLS AND SHOW WHAT ADDED VALUE I CAN BRING TO THE COMPANY "

Ten years ago, I decided to explore a new career field. Even though I had studied accountancy, I had never worked in that field before applying for a post as Financial Accountant at Tropic Knits. However, the company believed in my capabilities since they hired me, thus providing me with the opportunity to learn on the job. Throughout the past decade, I was given the opportunity to grow my skills and show what added value I can bring to the company. At some levels, the textile industry is a man’s world, more specifically in regards to senior management positions. But in my case, it hasn’t been really difficult since Tropic Knits provides a conducive environment where one can show his or her capabilities, regardless of any gender barriers. To be where I am today has required much hard work, personal dedication and motivation. I think that one should know the path he or she wants to follow and find the right work-life balance. This is maybe more important when you are a woman. But surely, there is still much to do to change behaviours in order to achieve more equality between men and women in any professional sphere.


SANDY SCIOLI

Corporate Pastry Chef - Sun Centralised Services Ltd


" THE DESIRE FOR SELF-ACCOMPLISHMENT IN PARALLEL WITH THE GROUP'S GROWTH IS ESSENTIAL" 

Being an entrepreneur within a group implies the ability to spot and seize opportunities with the goal to introduce new services and products, new processes and organisational structures. The desire for self-accomplishment in parallel with the group’s growth is also essential. On a daily basis, it also means observing our workflow, spotting our flaws and improving through innovation and creativity. An entrepreneur also needs to trust him/herself and his colleagues, be tolerant to stressful situations, introspect constantly and challenge the status quo.

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