Interviewed for the Guardian Professional’s “Women in Leadership” site, Friday 7 Feb, Capgemini UK Executive Chairman Christine Hodgson offers some valuable advice based on her own career and experience. “Women in Leadership” is a community-focused site that brings together advice, best practice and insight from sector leaders.
The interview offers a brief summary of Christine’s pre-Capgemini career and offers an insight into some of the special aspects of Capgemini and of our corporate culture. Appropriately, the interview places particular emphasis on how we are working to both attract female employees and to retain them once they are onboard. Our apprenticeship programme is well-established and we are increasingly involved in a range of women’s networking events.
"Last time we had a women's event, we invited (Decoded founder) Kathryn Parsons and the school children loved it," explains Christine. "She's young and passionate about tech and enthusiastic. She created such a buzz; everyone at every age was excited by her success. Afterwards I had to say to everyone, please don't leave us and go and set up your own company just because she's inspired you!"
The article suggests that an especially effective way of retaining female talent is to keep work interesting. Christine spent 16 years with us before taking on her current role, She points out that "to retain people over a long time you have to give them different opportunities". Loyalty – from the company and to the company – is also very important, so that work and life events can be balanced and made flexible, if necessary.
Christine also suggests that young women need to take more risks. "Trust your gut instinct, take risks," she says. "What's the worst thing that could happen? If this doesn't work, can you go backwards, can you undo it, what could you do instead? So long as you're reasonably comfortable you're not going down a cul-de-sac then be brave, expand your horizons so that you go forward. If you can do it standing on your head, it's probably not a good opportunity. If you feel a bit uncomfortable with it," she says, "do it. Put your head above the parapet and go for it."
The full Guardian Professional interview is available via the link.
Christine Hodgson is a judge on the Veuve Cliquot businesswoman award.