Leading health care expert and Regional Director for the Royal College of Nursing North West, Estephanie Dunn, says her dad instilled in her that if you want something you have to work hard to get it.
And as a mum-of-two herself, it is certainly a tradition that she carried on…
I have worked as a nurse for more than 30 years. I have been a NHS director of nursing before taking on the RCN role as well as a lecturer in Nurse Education at the University of Northumbria, among many other health positions.
But it still astounds me to think that a small percentage of the nursing workforce is male yet the tables turn at the top and only a small percentage of senior positions are female.
I have worked hard for my roles and have been fortunate enough to have a good career but society still does not work in women’s favour.
Women can find themselves in a difficult position when it comes to balancing home and work.
The majority of people at the top in business are male – we still have difficulty competing on a level playing field to rise to senior positions.
Taking time off for maternity leave and wanting to spend time with children can certainly put women at a disadvantage and it should not be like that.
There is a lot of pressure and high expectations of what a women has to juggle.
If you are in a meeting and it is running late, in the back of your mind you are wondering if the children will be in bed by the time you get home. You are thinking people will question what sort of mum you are if you stay at the meeting and if you leave the meeting early to get home for that bedtime story they would question what sort of businesswoman you are.
There are sections of society that think it is selfish to pursue a career when you are a mum and I think there are more choices to make than male counterparts.
I have encountered being in meetings and the topic of conversation after the weekend is football and I am just not interested so automatically the male who is enjoying that conversation with the boss is more on his radar than me.
I feel that I am representing women in the workplace and black women in particular. I was once told you must be really good to have got a job as I was not only a woman but a black woman!
I never felt the pressure of being a black women in business until I got my current role and I was told that people looked to me to represent them- it was not something that I have thought about. Now I feel the pressure to do an even better job!
But I am lucky that I have a very supportive family and a great network of friends and colleagues (male and female) around me.
I think in business you need to be very clear about what your values are. I have always been the person that wants to do my job to the best of my ability but will not compromise my integrity. I would not do anything that goes against my values or those of the service I work in and I am happy to stick my hand up and let my opinions be heard.
My dad was a huge influence on how I am. I was brought up to believe that you can do whatever you want to do, you just have to work hard to get there. He definitely instilled my work ethic.
But I am the sort of person who always feels that I could always do better and I blame my dad for that too!
I have two sons and they have seen me study and work hard for what I have achieved, which has had a positive influence on them. They have gone on to do well in their chosen paths and more importantly have respect for women. They are proud of what I have achieved and that makes the long hours and hard work worthwhile.
I now mentor young black people and support them to achieve their goals in any way that I can and my advice to them is always been nice and professional and ask those you have built up trust with for help and advice when you need it and offer it in return when asked.
I still ring up an ex-chief executive that I worked under at one organisation to seek advice.
My advice to young people who want to succeed in business is that it is important to believe in yourself and help others along the way and if you want something hard enough and work hard to get it, you have a better chance than just dreaming about it. And remember, you have to continue working hard to keep what you have achieved.
For more information on the #imnotjohn campaign and to book onto the launch event on Novemeber 9, click here.