Aug15

Direct Line Group

Jazz Tops the Business Charts

Posted by Direct Line Group at 04:01 PM

DLG's own Jazz Gokhal has just been included in Northern Power's 'Women to Watch' list. In this post she tells us about some of the issues that have influenced the direction of her career over the past 11 years.



On diversity...

"There’s no one size fits all approach – the issues are different according to which aspect of diversity you’re taking about. But being able to have open conversations about the issues is a common theme that we need to focus on. If I mention or talk about a diversity topic, it’s not a taboo subject anymore. There is a legitimate case for diversity throughout an organisation. A more diverse organisation has a better output. It’s not something to be frightened about – it’s something that should be openly discussed.

On recently joining Creating Inclusive Cultures...

"I recently joined a collaboration of companies and employers committed to diversity called Creating Inclusive Cultures. I’m a senior female leader in a male dominated industry. I wanted to understand more about the broader diversity agenda. It enables me to network with other business leaders and understand their experiences of diversity. I’ve got my perspective but it’s a very internal perspective. It’s helping me understand how others are overcoming obstacles. I see it as an opportunity to bounce ideas around."

On being included on Northern Power Women’s 50 ‘Women to Watch’ list...

"There’s a new campaign to improve gender diversity from the North of England called Northern Power Women. It aims to increase opportunities for women in business. I recently got a call to say I’d made it onto their ‘50 Women to Watch’ list. They’ll be holding a reception in the spring where one of us from the list will be chosen to represent them. It was a complete surprise. I’ve been recognised by my peers and colleagues many times internally and it’s rewarding and fulfilling. But this is the first time I’ve had any external recognition. That someone had taken the time to nominate me is quite a big deal to me."

On her biggest work-related challenge...

"It was moving from being the manager and leader of a small team of three or four direct reports, to having quite a large leadership role, responsible for mixed disciplines. Moving up the organisation, I think traditionally you find a difference in confidence levels between men and women. I knew I was capable of a bigger role and I was always conscious of not letting something like my confidence stand in the way. I had the right support network around me as well as a number of strong female colleagues who I’d seek advice from – it gave me an alternative perspective. It was about being brave enough to say: ‘these are the things I need to help me to succeed’ and ‘can you help?’"

On building a fulfilling career...

"Make sure you have a personal brand. The best thing for me was to have a development and career plan. It helped me find: this is what I’m good at, this is what I need to develop and these are the things I’ll not be able to do much about. So I’d try to ‘over index’ on the things I was good at. And don’t stick around and wait for somebody to tell you to try this or go here. You’re then relying on other people to have the time to focus on you. You need to take the initiative when it comes to your career."

On staying at DLG for 11 years...

"I’ve been allowed to take ownership of my career here. I’ve been supported. This business feels like it’s on an upward trajectory and my career is very fulfilling, so why would I go anywhere else? There’s lots of innovation, lots of awards, who doesn’t want to be a part of that? Those of us who’ve been here a few years have toughed it out, and even through the tough times it was rewarding. So now, when there are lots of opportunities, it feels like a place I want to be!"

See the Northern Power Women and Creating Inclusive Cultures websites for more.

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