Celebrating Women in Leadership – An interview with Fran Ereira, General Manager Sales & Solution Delivery, Zip
Although there are still too many conferences with a lack of female representation on the speaking circuit, we are seeing events held that specifically address women in leadership and foster a conversation around getting more women into the C-suite. We sat down with Fran Ereira at Zip who spoke at a recent ‘Women in Leadership Breakfast’ about her thoughts on getting more women to the top. From working in many male-dominated industries, her current role at Zip, and her experience fitting a family in between, she is perfectly placed to comment on what’s next for gender diversity in 2018 and beyond. Read on …
Fran, why do you think is it important we talk about gender diversity in the workplace more?
A ‘boys club’ is actually a massive threat to a company… without diversity, progress is slow and stagnant, new ideas aren’t conceived and you find yourself doing the same thing and making the same mistakes, year in, year out.
Today I’m at Zip an amazing company striving to promote gender diversity and equality. While I’m the only female in the leadership team, development programs to ensure we are building future female leaders are in place and are continually being refined and improved and we have a great balance across the organisation from Tech and finance right through to sales and marketing.
We know that many women often hold themselves back because they’re afraid of failure. What’s your advice to other females striving for success?
My advice is to tackle fear head on. Be considered in your approach and surround yourself with people that you look up to and aspire to be like. For me that is Lesley Grant, who was the CEO of Qantas Loyalty now Group GM HR for Qantas. Lesley has provided invaluable support and guidance to me over the last couple of years and it’s thanks to her that I stopped doubting myself, found the confidence to chase my dreams and career aspirations.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, that you think is worth passing on?
One person in particular taught me something I’ve never forgotten … he said to always present the facts without emotion and you will win every time. He was so right. I leave my emotion at the door and today ensure that everything I present is based on facts and data to support my view and guess what no one can argue.
Support other women; we’re all in this together, fighting the good fight. Help to mentor other women and lead by example.
What’s the future looking like for empowering the emerging generation?
Some companies are offering flexibility, and the more progressive ones offer job sharing and child care. For diversity in future generations with more women leading organisations and boards, this needs to continue and creating environments to foster this is key. We need to remember that families are not just mothers and children; working fathers should also be offered the same flexibility as working mothers. Parents shouldn’t have to decide between a career and children – there’s room for both, and only with both can children grow up knowing they can do it all too.
Industries that are still male dominated at the top like automotive, department stores/retail, finance, law and pharmaceutical need to make a concerted effort to strive for gender diversity. It won’t happen on its own. They need to embrace the now and build for the future. Look through a different lens and see where it takes you, they might just be surprised!
Fran, what’s next for you?
I have three goals for this year – one is to earn a C-Suite title and to help Zip continue to deliver a best in-class product and service to our partners and consumers
The second is to help Zip and the great talent we have in the business achieve their career aspirations. I want to show young females in all roles that they can join the C-Suite and also have a family! There is room for both. It’s hard work, but the sacrifices and rewards on both sides are worth it.
The final goal is to do more for the community! The intellectually disabled in this country don’t have a voice and they need more of us to stand up and fight for their rights to ensure they get the care and support they need so I’ll be doing my bit to raise funds and further awareness for them.