As part of our series of interviews to mark International Women’s Day, we hear from Louise Sevilla, Major & Complex Claims Manager, who talks about the importance of honesty, self-confidence and staying positive.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
This is a day where women all over the world can feel proud of their achievements and encouraged and recognised for their success.
How do your female colleagues across Polygon inspire you?
It is lovely to see women working in Polygon in so many varied roles and at such great levels of responsibility. It demonstrates to me their great sense of self-worth, and it keeps me motivated, especially in times when my role can be testing. It reminds me that my opinion is important, and it can have a positive effect on people around me if shared.
Are there barriers women are likely to face in an industry such as this, and, if so, how can they be overcome/what measures can be put in place to remove them?
Generally speaking, there are always people that will pre-judge and assume a lack of strength and confidence or a poor understanding in a certain area, particularly when you are new. It can be difficult to change an assumption, but being open and honest about how it makes you feel, and having the confidence to put ideas forward and show an interest in areas of the business other than your own helps to grow trust and respect with others. This does change people's opinions over time.
What advice would you give to women just starting out in the industry?
Have confidence in yourself. Build working relationships with your colleagues and don't be frightened to demonstrate what you know. It's important to have an opinion, and if you genuinely believe your idea is going to help people to do their job better, you should voice it. If you hear something you don't think is right, then challenge it, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Try to stay positive - your energy is infectious.
This year’s IWD theme is #ChooseToChallenge, because “challenge leads to change”. What change do you hope a day such as IWD might achieve in the future?
I hope in the future there is equal respect in the world, and for more women to have the confidence to do what they want to do and not what they think they should do. It would be nice for women and men to be rewarded equally for the same behaviour, and to be judged on their achievements and character, not their gender or looks.
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