International Women’s Day series: Q&A with Richelle Wills
Name: Richelle Wills
Position: People and Performance Coordinator
1. Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
The Property Industry has evolved a lot, even within the last decade. When I started my career I often felt that I was classed as “just admin” and felt inferior to anyone who earnt commission. The job titles back then were ‘secretary’ all filled by females. I have always championed the importance of these support roles and these days it is widely appreciated that the administrator function is integral to the success of commission earners and core business function. We have both male and females working as Administration Specialists and I now see how they are valued, respected and treated equally among the fee earning staff.
2. Who do you look up/ admire (personal life or public figure) and why?
As cliché as it sounds – my own mother for a variety of reasons, but one of the reasons is that she gave up her career to raise us kids as in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s working mums and workplace flexibility wasn’t such a thing.
Having my own child and being able to return to work two days a week has really shown me how times have changed and how workplaces are so much more accepting and inclusive of working parents and how if you’re a good employee, a company will do whatever they can to keep you regardless of your personal/family life situation.
3. What are you most proud of doing or achieving in your personal or professional life?
In my professional life, I am most proud of my loyalty to Cygnet West. I have been here for 1/3rd of my life and held five positions here, moving up from a Secretary to Office Manager. Parenthood has bought a new set of challenges and tests into my life, but I am most proud of becoming a mother, which is something I never thought was in my future!
4. What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
Be prepared for the unpreparable! (in other words, keep an open mind and be flexible with plans). Also “Everything is fixable”, which is my motto and go to phrase!
5. Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?
Each individual has a story and has been on some sort of personal journey which is always different to someone else’s, and these experiences can offer new perspectives, ideas and plans to help achieve the same end result. Life would be extremely boring if we were all the same!
6. What did you dream of doing when you were a child?
I wanted to be a teacher!