13 Jun Our CIT interview with Jenny Garrett, Pioneer for Women Empowerment, Career Coach, Author and Mother
You must have heard of Jenny Garrett? Women’s Coach of the Year 2014? Author of Rocking Your Role, the how-to guide to success for female breadwinners?
Contracts IT speak to Jenny Garrett, an inspiring women who has dedicated her career as a career coach to empower professional women to find happiness and control of their lives. Jenny recently featured on Sky News interview with Kay Burley to discuss Competitive Genders and participated in a heated Sky Debate with Mike Buachanan, Leader, Justice For Men and Boys on International Women’s Day on the topic “Can you be a successful working Mum?”
And that’s not all, watch this space as Jenny has recently given a Ted X talk “Choosing Joy Over Gender” and has officially been offered another Ted X talk for Kings College later this year.
Jenny’s mission you ask? “To transform the world for everyone, one empowered woman at a time”.
Jenny what was it like publishing your first book Rocking Your Role?
It’s interesting because I did not plan to write a book! I interviewed a few women on the topic of female breadwinners and I felt the need to write a book highlighting their experiences. It was scary at first exposing myself, but at the same time it was exciting and so rewarding. I have had women come and thank me for writing Rocking Your Role because it’s helped them in some way and it’s brilliant. The book is about female breadwinners and crafting the life that you want!
You recently did a TedX talk, how did that happen?!
I was asked one day, “Jenny what is your next challenge?” and it had me thinking. My friend suggested I do a TedX talk, so I thought what a great idea, why not? I submitted my ideas for an upcoming TedX event and they loved it! The talk is called Choosing Joy over Gender and it’s about not being constrained by gender whether you are a man or a woman. We can be any gender, race or ability and we can feel very constrained by who we are, the idea is people will make assumptions of you anyway, so do what you enjoy.
People assume you’re frail because you’re a woman or say you’re not ambitious because you want to have babies in the future, so my role is to help people break free from these conventions and be at your very happiest. I always make my talks inspirational and empowering with the aim of helping people go beyond what they think is possible for themselves. Interestingly, I have been approached to do another TedX talk in Kings College London in October so I am so excited. Keep an eye out!
How did you become a career coach?
A close colleague of mine in my last role in a business school, walked into my office one morning and suggested I take up a coaching training course because I am a great listener and good at giving advice.
I took their advice and I went on this coaching program and I found it so professional and transformational. I saw myself so differently, and found the power of transformational coaching conversations. I finally realised what I wanted to do however, it was difficult pursuing it while in fulltime employment. I got a coach myself, and set myself some business and financial targets, took a giant leap of faith and became completely freelance within a year.
I started with off providing one to one coaching, then I completed a Masters in Management Learning & Leadership and began providing leadership training and development alongside coaching and then wrote my book!
“It’s been 10 years since that leap and I have not looked back”
What was the impact you had on the people you coached?
What they mostly get from my coaching is they achieve the goals and ambitions they have had all their lives because they were dreaming too small. With career coaching, I help people break down those barriers and help them surpass expectations of what they thought they could achieve.
What questions do they want answered?
Their situations ranges from people who never thought they could start a business to those who want to take the next step in their career. They may ask: How do I manage my life? How do I take back more control? I can’t seem to get a balance between working life and family life do I change my job or change of living?
I ask them this, what are YOU willing to let go of that is not important for you to progress?
Why is it important to have women in leadership and senior positions?
We need more role models; I truly believe that if you can see more women at the top, you will believe that you can do it too.
“The higher up you are, the more power you have to dramatically change things. We can’t change things from being at the bottom or in between, we need to get to the top first!”
We can tend to hold ourselves back because we feel like we will not be able to balance or manage our lives. The more senior you are the more control you have of your diary and you have more to delegate, so you might actually find you work better in a management role.
Where do you see women in the workplace in 5 years?
I think organisations need to change now and become inclusive before it’s too late. I see women dropping out from the corporate world, and if organisations don’t change or adapt they will lose a lot of talent.
I see women running things most definitely but I’m not sure at this point what that will look like, I’d love them to be working with corporates but at this stage I don’t think that will happen.
Can we change this through inclusive recruitment practices?
I agree with diversity quotas for women and for every minority group. If I am honest, people say you should move up in merit but you could have all the merit in the world but if people are being excluded then how will that work?
I think a whole lot of talent is being overlooked, it’s about acknowledging that they are there and giving them a chance to show their capability.
If we have a board, we should have women, people from minority backgrounds, social classes, sexual orientation and disabilities. As we all know and it has been proven, diversity makes better organisations and enhanced decision making.
What would you say to people who are against diversity targets?
Sadly, if we wait for good will, we could be waiting a long time. The fact is who has got time? I want these changes in my lifetime so my daughter can benefit! People and organisations need a push to give people a chance to excel because right now people are not getting chances. Let’s give people the opportunities that they would not get otherwise.
What are your thoughts on the Sky Debate you had with Mike Buchanan?
It was challenging but I was open to listening to his interesting views and ideas. It’s a bit like Donald Trump, sometimes you can’t believe people still have these out-dated views!
In my opinion he did not have an articulate argument and was a bit childish, particularly towards the end it reminded me a bit of the House of Commons when they sink to schoolboy jibes.
It’s tough when you come across people who are stuck in this way of thinking. How I think today is not how I will think in 5 or 10 years’ time because I am willing to evolve and grow through reading, and engaging in conversations with people. In reality I feel sad for people that don’t really change their minds or are not open minded enough to listen to others points of view.
What advice would you give?
Step outside your comfort zone, challenge yourself regularly, whatever it is, and realise that you can’t fail if you at least try. Get on stage and give a talk to 300, run a marathon, do things that scare you, you will survive! The more you do it, the more confidence you will gain.
Every year without fail, I set myself challenges that scare me but once I complete my challenge, I want to do it again!
“My mission is to transform the world for everyone, one empowered woman at a time. I use my years of experience in coaching and leadership to inspire and motivate people, working with them to deliver career and life changing results beyond expectation” Jenny Garret.