International Women's Day is an important day to talk about women's equality and break the bias that women face on a regular basis to create a more supportive and inclusive environment for all. We caught up with a number of our female colleagues across the Group to hear their stories and celebrate their achievements.
Deidree Bain - Managing Director, Suntera Bahamas
Having a family has always been a priority for me. I recall sitting at an IWD breakfast in 2018 taking in the advice of successful women on how they balanced family, a challenging career and self-care. I wish I’d written down these nuggets because the 75% that I recall was spot on and the 25% that I do not remember I filled with lessons of my own! One thing that always stands out: no one says it’s easy.
Transitioning back to full time work after my maternity leave in 2019 was an adventure but being a part of such an agile, innovative and inclusive organisation with colleagues who are like an extended family was more than I could have hoped for. We never missed a beat! The pandemic was daunting but looking back, I’m appreciative of the opportunity to reorganise my day in order to be present for the milestones I was afraid I would otherwise have missed. Our stories are all unique but the foundations for success remain the same. Work-life balance is not idealistic or elusive and as with everything, it too requires effort, patience and consistency.
Belinda Douglas - HR Manager, Cayman Islands
Being a hands-on mum whilst working hard to progress your career can often be challenging. However, I know that my 11-year-old daughter will have a better mother in me if I’m doings the things that I’m passionate about, so that’s what motivates me every day. Luckily, I have great personal and work-related support and feel fortunate to work with a company who understands balance and flexibility - especially during the pandemic when working remotely and home schooling my daughter made it especially difficult. I believe that being a working mum who applies multi-tasking in everyday life helps teach my daughter invaluable life skills for her own future, and I really dig that!
Fiona Brand - Trust Administrator, Isle of Man
I returned to work full time in May 2021 after having my son and being on maternity leave for 13 months. I previously worked in Banking for 11 years and decided to change industry, as I felt like I needed a new challenge professionally. I completed an ICA Compliance qualification while on maternity leave in September 2020, because having a 6-month-old baby wasn’t challenging enough!
I joined the Trust team in November 2021, and it’s been a whirlwind ever since (in a good way). I had some knowledge of the industry from a Banking perspective, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot to learn and I’m looking forward to starting my STEP exams when I pass my probation. Working full time, having a nearly 2-year-old and managing a house is full on, but it’s a great challenge. I’m lucky to have the support both in and out of work to push me and help me achieve my goals.
Julie Crossley - Assistant HR Manager, Isle of Man
I was made redundant from an Irish Bank in 2013, so I took some time out to raise my kids. When I returned work in 2015, I decided to go into a completely different sector and ended up in HR (which is how most people get into it). I worked my way up from HR Administrator, retraining whilst working fulltime and looking after my family. I completed my Level 3 CIPD in 2017 to become an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personal Development and went on to complete my Level 5 in 2019. I am now working towards my Level 7 which will give me a Chartered membership status and I hope to complete that next year.
Cara Pyper - Global Head of Marketing
Life has certainly been busy (and a rollercoaster at times) over the last two decades with working full time and progressing my career while at the same time raising my two children who are now 19 and 16! I have always been driven by ambition and challenges and enjoy an energetic life. So, as my two grew into young adults, the family expanded further with the arrival of two puppies! Sometimes I feel like I’m juggling a lot of plates, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I maintain a positive attitude and have support from a great team in work and an amazing family at home. Thankfully Suntera are firm supporters of flexible working and their staff having the right balance of work and home life, which helps tremendously.
Jenna Cartwright - Senior HR Advisor, Jersey
When my second daughter was born in 2018, I was lucky to be able to have a career break and took two years off. Shortly before she turned two, I returned to work joining the Suntera HR team with reduced hours. They are now seven and three years old and life is very busy! Some days it’s a juggle getting each of us to where we are supposed to be. However, I can honestly say that, while I am grateful I had extended time with my girls, I am much happier and fulfilled having a balance between being ‘mum’ and being part of a brilliant team with lots of exciting opportunities and activities happening now.
Hannah Williams - Senior Marketing and Communications Executive, Isle of Man
When I graduated from university in 2017 with a degree in French Studies, I had absolutely no idea what to do for a career. I was lucky enough to be taken on as a junior content creator with Suntera at the end of 2018 and haven’t looked back since. I’ve been able to learn on the job, gaining exposure to a broad range of marketing activities working with multiple teams, service areas and jurisdictions worldwide. I was also able to train up in marketing, completing my CIM Level 4 qualification in 2020 and graduating with my CIM Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing last year – all with the funding and support of Suntera Global. It’s been a challenge balancing my studies, work and home (not to mention a global pandemic) but I’ve been lucky enough to have great support both in and out of work – plus all the hard work has paid off as I’ve recently been promoted!
Michele Gallagher - Senior HR Manager, Jersey
As a working professional mum with a busy household to manage supporting a lively four-year-old and two energetic dogs, finding the right role that provides me with the flexibility that supports my work-life balance was essential. I joined Suntera in November 2021 and it has been a positive whirlwind ever since. I was primarily attracted to Suntera by its strong female leadership cohort, its jurisdictional reach and supportive, flexible working culture. Suntera is also a growing business which means we deal with a lot of positive business changes. It is always a challenge to find the right balance between the ability to continue developing professionally whilst being able to balance the needs of home life and I feel very fortunate to have struck the right balance with Suntera.