As part of International Women’s Day 2021, event organisers are encouraging people of all gender identities to call out gender bias and inequality and choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements using the hashtag #choosetochallenge.
Here we speak to and celebrate some of the key achievements of Stacey Wightman, who is Head of People and Engagement at Centurion Safety Products.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is #choosetochallenge – what is the biggest challenge you have overcome in your career?
I have worked in Manufacturing for most of my career and Manufacturing has historically been very male dominated. This is starting to change significantly now, which is great but in the early days being a Senior Leader in HR in a very male dominated team and environment meant you had to make your presence felt and heard, sometimes it took a lot more effort. I found the best way was making sure that I showed my worth every day. I took on the challenges, lived up to my promises, proved myself, built trust and relationships with all my colleagues and made sure that I was part of the team every day. I am so pleased to see so many women now in all types of roles and levels in manufacturing. Long may it continue.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I started my life off wanting to help people and began doing this with volunteer and charity work. When my life choices took me to live in Germany for 7 years, I did this by working with children and started childcare and child psychology. This continued when I returned to the UK but evolved into running a business and volunteer work, which then evolved into HR, Wellbeing, and mental Health. My goal was always to have a role that would help people.
What piece of career advice would you give to your younger self?
Go with your gut and not be afraid to try new things.
When you are young it is always quite scary to put yourself out there and take a chance, but as I tell my boys now, when you are young you have the perfect opportunity to try new things and give it a go with minimal risk. Life passes you by quickly and the older you get the more responsibilities you have. If you do not give things a go, you may regret it later. Live your life with no regrets and make memories through experiences, people you meet, great things you see and do, and ensure you have plenty of stories to tell.
Why should women consider a career in the PPE Industry?
There are so many career choices in PPE and especially Manufacturing PPE. Engineering, Manufacturing, Innovation, Supply Chain, Design, Finance, IT, HR, I could go on. The world of Health and Safety and PPE is constantly changing and becoming quite exciting. There are lots of opportunities and ultimately you could be working in a role that helps safeguard someone at work and potentially saves their life. How fulfilling is that!!
A common complaint from women in industry is that they cannot find PPE that fits because many of the products on offer have been designed for men. What is Centurion doing to address this?
I know from listening to our Marketing and Sales teams that this is becoming increasingly more important. At Centurion we understand this and are looking at it. I believe the way we look at design language and how are products can and will need to evolve is healthy and necessary.
International Women’s Day 2021 takes place on March 8th: www.internationalwomensday.com/