One of the goals of International Women’s Day 2021 is to celebrate women’s achievements. At Fordway, we decided to celebrate three women with very different roles who are all part of our management team.
And, in the light of this year’s theme ‘Choose to Challenge’, we also want to contest any preconceptions that women can’t or don’t want to run technical teams. As Jenny and Jo demonstrate every day, they can and they do – and the company is thriving as a result of their work.
In her six years as Head of Finance, Administration and HR, Amanda Mival has seen a lot of cultural change at Fordway and has instigated much of it herself. She joined the company from a manufacturing business and brought in many of the concepts she had used there to help the company transition from a traditional owner-managed SME to a collaboratively run and rapidly growing business.
“One of the first things I did was to set up a staff liaison group,” Amanda explains. “This meant that as well as change cascading from the top-down, staff were able to instigate changes themselves and drive the culture from the bottom up. A positive which came out of this was that more women became involved. At that stage in our growth, we didn’t have many women in management roles, so they had less of a voice than they do today. The staff liaison group ensured that everyone could make their views heard.”
“I believe that having more women makes teams more effective” – Amanda Mival, Head of Finance, Administration and HR, Fordway
One of the changes that stemmed from this initiative was a move to flexible working, which all staff wanted. “Many of our staff are parents and wanted the flexibility to take children to school and pick them up,” Amanda says. “So, we moved from a rigid 9-5 working day and 40-hour week to a 37.5-hour week with a flexible start time between 7.30 am and 10 am. This has been extremely popular across the company.”
Amanda does not see many women applying for technical and consultant roles, with only some five percent of CVs coming from female applicants. In contrast, the majority of the company’s admin and finance team are women, and more women are joining the Service Desk team, which she says brings a nice balance. Amanda also points out that having more women in the management team, such as Technical Services Manager Jo King, is making a big difference.
“We are always looking for someone with the right attitude,” she explains. “As Jo and Jenny point out in their blogs, not all roles require high-level technical knowledge, as other skills are also important. We use Colour Works profiling as a development tool which shows us that our managers have an array of different skills, all of which contribute to the success of our business.
“When we recruit, we believe that it’s important to look further than just paper qualifications. We understand that everyone brings different skills and experiences and that these contribute to making our business stronger. I believe that having more women makes teams more effective. Diversity is good and research shows us that mixed teams tend to be more successful than single-gender groups.”
Amanda adds “I love working in an IT company as it’s such a fast-moving sector. What makes Fordway stand out is its collaborative way of working, an environment in which I believe women would thrive. I encourage any women looking for a career in IT, whether as their first job, part of their career progression, or a change of direction, to look at Fordway as an exciting option.”