International Women’s Day – An Interview with our CEO
To celebrate International Women's Day, we've asked our CEO, Jackie, a few questions about being the woman at the helm of New Pathways!
- Can you tell us a little bit about being the CEO at New Pathways?
It’s amazing to have the opportunity to lead such a wonderful organisation! I see my role as a platform to raise the voices of people who have been affected by sexual abuse, to make sure that sexual abuse does not remain the taboo it has been in the past. And to make sure that New Pathways delivers the very best services possible, and keeps developing and changing according to need. It’s a challenge, a huge responsibility, but also an absolute privilege.
- What was your journey to becoming a senior manager and what support did you receive along the way?
I started out as a trainee counsellor and administrator at New Pathways almost 30 years ago. I feel that I grew as the organisation grew, and quite quickly took on some junior management responsibilities. I am fortunate that I was supported and encouraged by my manager and our Board of Trustees to keep growing and learning, and somehow I have ended up in the CEO seat! I didn’t believe back in the early days that I could ever do a role like this, but I have had the great fortune of having an amazing team around me who made taking on each new step so much easier.
- What advice would you give to other women who want to become senior managers in a charity?
Believe in yourself, trust your instincts and make sure you value and nurture the amazing talent you will come across in your teams. If you have the passion, the determination and drive to make a difference – you will! Lead with kindness and compassion, and don’t mistake that for weakness.
- Tell us about a woman who inspires you and is a role model.
The founder of New Pathways, Libby Jones, has been my inspiration since day one. She showed me it’s okay not to know everything, to be unsure of yourself and still have the strength to succeed. She showed me that a good leader cannot do it alone. And she never lost sight of the purpose of the organisation – to help and support people affected by sexual abuse. I try to never forget that.
- The theme for International Women's Day this year is 'equity.' What does equity mean to you?
I would say that equity means that we should give everyone the same opportunities, but that may mean offering them different things. It’s no longer good enough for us to say, for example, that our services are open to everyone; some people need different things to enable them to access the same service. At New Pathways we are really keen to use this year’s IWD theme to challenge ourselves to create more equity of opportunity by truly understanding the barriers that currently exist to accessing specialist sexual violence services.
- Why is International Women's Day important?
IWD is a chance for us to stop, take stock and recognise the accomplishments of women in so many areas of society; the impact women make to creating a more equal world. It is also really important that we can use this day to focus attention on what still needs to be done; women worldwide are hugely disproportionately affected by gender-based violence and whilst we celebrate how far we have come, it’s vital we realise that women worldwide are still living with, and dying from, male violence. We do not have equity. Each and every one of us must do more!