Q&A with one of our leading ladies: Heather Prime
With International Women's Day fast approaching, we spoke to our recently appointed Coaching and Development Manager to understand what IWD means to her and how she's overcome the barriers in her work and personal life to reach where she is now.
Q. Tell us a brief history about your career within YPS.
A. I started working for YPS as a part time worker mainly over the weekends in July 2018. It was my first “proper” job after coming back from maternity leave, but it was definitely the perfect introductory role to get back into work mode. In December 2018 I was voted best newcomer by my peers which was incredible! Given I worked from home, part time I didn’t think I stood a chance so it really boosted my confidence knowing that the work I had put in hadn’t gone unnoticed. This drove me to ask for more responsibility and in the new year of 2019, I was also given the opportunity to take on Sales and Retentions which was great, I continued taking up extra responsibilities, helping with quality checks here and there, doing one to ones and offering additional training. I then trained the entire team on retentions and am now responsible for the ongoing coaching and development of the Customer Happiness Team. I still have an occasional hand in responding to customers and dabble in a bit of finance. I guess you could say I’m aiming to be the Juliette of all trades within the company!
Q. How did you reach your current role?
A. There was a pivotal moment for me where I took a gamble, I even remember the date I took it, August 29th 2019... I knew I had gone as far as I wanted to in Customer Service and knew that I wanted to head down the Learning and Development route, so I laid my cards out on the table to our directors, told them exactly what it is that I wanted and why. I remember so clearly Harrison saying to me: “Okay let’s do it then, let’s set a six month plan to make this happen”. Within those 6 months, I took up every opportunity offered to me, whether it appeared significant or not I tried my best to show that I was serious about getting to where I wanted to be. This also proved beneficial as I picked up new tips and knowledge about the company which are now coming in really handy. Besides this it also allowed me to demonstrate skills which I had not previously been able to utilise. I worked and worked and got myself involved with the team and decisions more and then last month I was made Coaching and Development Manager.
Q. Based on your own experience what advice would you give to women hoping to follow their own career goals?
A. To go after whatever it is that you want, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or be your best self. The only person you have to prove anything to is yourself, and I know we can be our own worst enemies, but it’s also important to remember that we are also our own biggest fans. Embrace yourself, embrace your imperfections, find your weaknesses and turn these into strengths. You’re stronger than you know, don’t forget that…ever.
Q. How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
A. It's incredibly important, women are a unit, a force to be reckoned with and we don’t tell each other that enough. I don’t know where I would be without the women in my life, they lift me up through the hard times and laugh with me through the good times, we can empathise, support and be truthful to one another because we understand what it’s like to be there.
Q. Why is it important for YPS to celebrate IWD?
A. It's important for everyone to celebrate IWD. We’ve come a very long way over the past centuries to reach a point where we are able to work, be scientists, manage businesses, people, be in charge of entire countries, be mothers AND career women, there’s no limit on what we can achieve now no matter what anybody says and seeing as it was only 100 years ago that we couldn’t even vote that’s pretty amazing.
Q. What does the theme #eachforequal mean in your worklife?
A. For me personally it means that not everybody needs to take the same route to reach the same outcome. We all have our strengths and weaknesses however together, we create a balance, we’re equal and that’s what the world needs.
Q. Can you tell me about a female role model who has inspired you over your career?
A. My Nan... not over my career but definitely overall. She was a fantastic example for me growing up. My Nan came over to the UK in the 50’s and worked her butt off. She helped to create the foundations my family was built on which I think is amazing, especially given she’s not from the UK originally, the courage that would of taken especially during that time is something I’ll forever admire. If she can do that, then I can do anything.
Q. How would you describe your job environment?
A. I primarily work from home, which is a challenge if you don’t have the right mindset to focus with so much freedom. It’s important to create an environment which is fun, inspiring and allows you to work and achieve your best. When I head into the office I love it, everyone is always so warm and welcoming I feel like I’m going into a family BBQ each time I go in. It’s great!
Q. What barriers have you faced as a career-driven woman? How have you overcome them?
A. Separating the mum from me. I am a mother first and foremost, but that doesn’t mean I’m still not the hard working and driven woman that I was before. Finding myself outside of just being mum for such a long period was really hard, perhaps one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. What I found however, was that old me still existed just as a big ball of energy that was ready to get started and unleash my full potential. I am now a stronger and more confident woman and mother because I finally found my true myself.
Q. On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
A. That it’s absolutely fine for you to not know what you want to do right away. There’s no time limit on finding a job which you love and sometimes you need to try out a few things before finding what you want to commit to. As well as there being no time limit there’s also no order, by which I mean whether you’re a mum already or career woman first and mum later if kids are even in your future plans, do it however you want because you are capable of reaching whatever you want to achieve regardless.