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Gail Brown on International Women's Day, equal opportunity, and the women who inspire her

​International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for communities and organisations around the world to raise awareness about accelerating gender parity. Here at Phaidon International, we take this day to celebrate the contributions women make to our business and our daily lives. We sat with Gail Brown, the Group Compliance Director, to talk to her about her career and what International Women’s Day means to her.

Hi Gail, can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I’m the Group Compliance Director and I’ve been at Phaidon International for 5 and a half years now. I oversee a variety of compliance related issues for the business, for both Perm and Contracts. I’ve been in recruitment for 18 years and throughout my career journey, at one time or another, I’ve worked and managed all operational areas relating to the end-to-end process of a placement hire. Although my key focus is to mitigate the company’s overall risk profile, a large part of my role is aimed at helping and supporting the Contracts teams both in the UK and US and keeping on top of changing legislation which may impact our business.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Simply put, for me, it’s basically a day for women from all different sectors. It’s a day where we can celebrate the fantastic things women are doing for the environment, as well as their industry.

Who are the female role models in your life and career?

So, there are basically two people that come to my mind straight away. The original Managing Director for the previous recruitment firm I worked for, not because she had a massive impact on my career, but she was such a dynamic woman that, when you were around her, you were inspired just by who she was. The second one, even though there are quite a few people who have influenced my career, is probably my first manager in my previous company. I’d definitely have to say, hands down, that she had a part to play in starting me off on the path I think I’ve come to today.

The theme for this year’s IWD is #BalanceforBetter. What do you think companies can do to create better gender balance?

For me, I think it’s about a company making sure that women in their organisation know that everyone has an equal opportunity, irrespective of their gender, and demonstrating that by having women in senior roles – that will encourage individuals to go for aspirational roles that they might think is traditionally a “man’s job” or another gender’s job. And just making sure when you have women at senior positions, that they encourage other women not to be shy or scared to go for jobs at the same level.

Thanks Gail. Lastly, who would you have over for dinner, man, woman, dead or alive?

For me, it has to be Nelson Mandela. I’m originally from South Africa and the amazing thing that one individual did not only for a couple of people, but literally a whole nation is extremely awe-inspiring and, I suppose, just being in the same room as someone like that would just be a phenomenal thing.

Are you struggling to make your workforce more gender balanced? Are you curious to know what employees think about diversity? Download our guide here.