Women’s History Month 2021: An interview with Sarah Davison (Sales Office Manager at Fozmula)

Sarah Davison - Sales Office Manager

After a small celebration on 8th of March and a few interesting debates, we decided to dive in a little bit deeper into Women's History Month at Fozmula. From remembering the contributions of many notable and ordinary women in the past to reinforcing our commitment to gender parity, March 2021 was a month of great insight and reflection on what role we can play in driving further change. We're not only looking forward to a future with equal rights and opportunities for every gender, but we're also taking steps towards it. Placing women at the table where decisions are being taken in our company, fighting stigma and working towards fair chances are already a norm for us.

 

Because history is a great teacher but inspiration is one of the factors that drives us forward, we interviewed Sarah, our Sales Office Manager, a pillar in our company and a long lasting advocate of women's rights.

We're approaching the end of March and I have to ask...what did the 2021 International Women's Day theme #ChooseToChallenge mean to you in your work life?
I love the idea of International Women's day but it's also rather sad that we need a single day to celebrate women that achieve great things in their lives, be it professional or personal. Regardless of how long you have been in a role you should always challenge yourself to improve and do better by your colleagues and yourself. I want to be the best I can, to motivate and lead my team & to ensure that we are all treated fairly in the workplace. I am fortunate as I have never been subjected to any gender inequality during my time at Fozmula.

How has your role changed over years?
I started as an administrator at Fozmula my title was Sales Office Co-Ordinator, my role was general order entry, answering calls and carrying out admin tasks required by other members of the team. After 8 years in the role I was promoted to Sales Office Manager, there were elements of Account Management added and liaison with the internal departments to ensure that we maintained a certain level of customer service to our clients. The job title remains the same but with significant development of the role into Operational liaison with the team leaders and Mangers. I look after some of the larger OEM accounts and with these customers we have seen an increase in the use of company Portals over the last 10 years, so we have this to contend with too. This role will continue to develop at high speed along with customer demands & also technology changes.

What challenges have you faced, if any, as a woman in engineering - a predominantly male field?
I have had very few challenges as an adult female in an Engineering environment at Fozmula, for which I am extremely grateful. When I was originally employed by the company back in 1999, it was the then Chairman Mr John Griffiths, who employed me, and one of the reasons behind his decision was the fact I had studied engineering at college & must have something about me to have got through that.

My time at college and in my first couple of jobs (tied in with my training) was a very different story, I was the only female on a course of 30 male students studying mechanical engineering. When you arrive on your first day full of nerves & apprehensive and the first thing that is said to you by a fellow student is "what are you doing here, you're a girl?", you just know it's not going to be plain sailing. I stuck with it and some days it was so hard, walking away would have been the easy option & some days I was actively goaded by other students to leave. However, I was supported by a small group of fellow students and some slightly over protective staff, but there were days when the abuse and the constant sniping and being told you are not good enough was just soul destroying. This attitude carried across to my first role where the Shop Floor Supervisor would not address me directly, they would get one of my co-workers to advise my tasks for the day & to some extent my second role where one or two of my colleagues on the shop floor were less than happy to be sharing their work space with a female.
Now, I am glad to say things have changed, we are not quite there yet with equality but women are now accepted in this environment, running Engineering companies and empowering other women to take up roles in what has always been seen as a male dominated world.

What advice would you give to young girls (looking to pursue a career in engineering)?
Do it! Don't think twice if you have a passion for Engineering. Whatever field it may be, go and do it.
When I trained the courses available were very limited and the very presence of a female on the course was a novelty. Times have changed (thank goodness) and so has technology, this has made information on different Engineering fields so much more accessible to all. Never let anyone tell you that you can't, if you have the drive and the passion to pursue what you want in your desired field then the only person holding you back will be you. Good luck!

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