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Posted By Sara Nichols, Chief Operating Officer Hays US on Monday, Mar 5, 2018
For International Women's Day, we are featuring stories from some of the successful women we have in Hays here in the US. Sharing their story with Hays and expertise, they give their career insights and advice.
Here is what Sara Nichols, Chief Operating Office for Hays US, has to share about her career with Hays.
What was your progression into your leadership role with Hays?
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to join Hays just over a year ago as the Chief Operating Officer for the USA business. I started my career as a CPA and auditor at Arthur Andersen LLP, then found my way into the staffing industry, where I worked at two other staffing firms over a period of over 15 years prior to joining Hays. During that time, I led a variety of back office teams, including Accounting and Reporting, Financial Analysis, Internal Audit and Business Process Management teams. In recent years, I have had the opportunity to serve at the executive level, participating in the development and execution of strategic initiatives.
Did you always aspire to reach a leadership role in your career?
Yes, I am a goal oriented person, and have always aspired to serve in leadership roles as a way to add as much value as possible to the organization I am supporting. I enjoy growing and developing people and teams that work hard to meet and exceed the goals set before them.
Have you encountered any gender-specific challenges or obstacles in your career?
While I have always been blessed with great mentors and plenty of opportunities to grow and succeed, I have found myself in some environments that have not prioritized the success of women in the workplace. I have always taken ownership of my own path to success, but now that I work in an organization that clearly supports the development of women in leadership, I can see and feel the difference from what I have experienced in the past.
How can women help women? Can you share any success stories?
Women can help other women just by encouraging each other and being there to support one another. I frequently seek opportunities (both within and outside my company) to socialize with and seek guidance from other women that I can trust and relate to. Throughout my career, my women mentors and confidants have provided some of the most meaningful and relevant guidance for me.
Women are more likely to than men to say they left their last employer because of company culture. What cultural changes or initiatives can employers make to better retain their female workforce? What have you seen work during your career?
I have seen companies sponsor women mentorship programs and women support groups, and those are all positive influences on the company culture. I think the best way for a company to support a positive culture for women (and other minorities) is to actually develop and promote a diverse leadership team. It is important to consciously focus on doing this, and the results will show themselves in spades.
What is your advice for female professionals who are starting out their career and want to reach a leadership role?
My advice is for women to find ways to leverage their talents and skills to provide leadership for their teams. Success doesn’t have to look the same for everyone, so put your own unique spin on what you do. Having a title doesn’t make you a leader. It’s all about inspiring and influencing others around you to do great things. Don’t sell yourself short…….you can do it!
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