There was one brief moment yesterday when I felt like the superwoman many of us dream about being. Jacksons had won business of the year at the Tees Businesswomen awards on Thursday evening and I had made the family Christmas cake, pudding and mincemeat. This feeling of control was fleeting but amazing.
As a woman in business I am much more likely to be feeling concern that anything not going perfectly at work, or home, is in some part due to the way I am handling it. I have a tendency to be decisive all day but then wracked by self-doubt in the middle of the night that I may not be handling something very important to me (so usually involving people) in the best way. I know that I am doing my best but I have moments of extreme self-doubt as to whether that is good enough. I think I am not alone in this. Someone once told me that you should treat yourself like your own best friend and ask what advice you would give to a friend if they told you about circumstances you were dealing with. I am sure you would be much more empathetic and encouraging to that best friend, than you often are to yourself.
Having said that, I am grounded enough to know that neither of the events above that made me feel so good were purely due to my efforts. They were definitely not.
The award on Thursday evening was so special because it was acknowledgement of the effort of everyone at Jacksons. It belongs to each and every member of the team because without the efforts of us all we would not be the business that we are. It was particularly satisfying because it acknowledged the strength and passion of the women who work in the firm but it was in no way exclusively for the females. We are an inclusive business and it is the efforts of everyone regardless of gender, age, race or religion which makes us who we are. It is 100 years this year since an act was passed to acknowledge that women were in fact “persons” and could therefore join the professions and the first women could become lawyers. The fact that Jacksons has been acknowledged a century later as being a business which allows women to flourish in their careers and has embraced the flexibility required at times to provide a work life balance and to promote family life, is definitely something to be proud of even if it feels overwhelming that it has taken 100 years to reach this position. I hope that this award makes everyone at Jacksons very proud, that it encourages other firms and other lawyers to realise that a flexible approach is nothing to be frightened of but an opportunity to make your business stronger and that it reinforces to young girls that being a girl should not be a barrier to the career you dream of.
October has in many ways been a month to be proud of our team:
- This month our marketing team reached the finals of the North East Marketing Awards in the in-house marketing team category. They have achieved so much in the last few years raising the profile of our business and promoting the firm in the community.
- We held an amazing charity event for the Dragonfly Cancer Trust in the Chapter House at Durham Cathedral where our very own Simon Catterall joined local authors to talk about their work and what motivated them to write.
- We sailed through our ISO9001 quality audit with no non-conformities but most important recognition for team work.
And then Thursday the icing on cake. Which brings me full circle back to why I cannot take all the credit for the Christmas baking because Mr A in a move which cynics might say was a very unsubtle hint bought me a gift voucher for a day baking at the Bettys Cookery School and so while everyone else was hiding from the rain and watching England triumph in the rugby, I immersed myself in a day of dried fruit, cinnamon and festive treats.
Team work – there is nothing better!
Jane Armitage, Managing Partner