Interview part of the series #Smashthatceiling #womeninspiringwomen providing women in business visible leadership role models and I have the pleasure of bringing to you Emmajane Taylor- Moran , partner and Head of Employment Law at Gelbergs Solicitors , a well-established firm in Islington providing a range of legal services to businesses and individuals.
This interview is an extract from the book "STOP IT! It is all in your head" available on Amazon now.
I met Emmajane at one of the networking events organised by the Islington Chamber of Commerce where we both are members and then ended up working together at the Chamber ( Emmajane is the Chair of the ICC and I'm Vice Chair)
She very similar to Jackie Smithen (and Jackie Kennedy) in the leadership style: friendly, understated but not to be messed with, an underlying steel determination and professionalism. Emmajane also volunteers at various legal surgeries, is a regular speaker and provides training workshops and seminars to employers on various legal topics ( no legalise involved but a very digestible, interesting and interactive way of delivering complicated topics).
She is in a though and demanding job .....
1. When you were a child what was your dream job and why?
When I was a little girl, my first career inclinations were towards literature and teaching, as I loved books with a passion. I learned to read before I went to school and would read everything I could get hold of. I remember my mum telling me that I would make a good lawyer because I could argue for England! Now, as I am indeed a lawyer (thanks mum!) I can combine my interest in documents and my persuasive arguing skills!
2. Can you tell me the time that you started to consider yourself successful?
For me, it was a real pinnacle of my career to be invited to be a Partner at Gelbergs. I felt that the Partners trusted in me and my abilities to not only be a good lawyer but also a good leader and a good business person. In terms of “ considering myself successful”, that is an ongoing objective – in my industry you are only as good as your last case/client/billing month, so I am constantly on my toes, challenging myself to do better.
3. I’m sure like every business/business person you have faced adversity: how do you motivate yourself and force through the worst times?
The best job is the one that you love so much that you get up every day and it doesn’t feel like “work ”, and where your colleagues are your support network and you all pull together to keep each other motivated, sane and happy. I am incredibly lucky in both of these respects, and that is really motivating.
4. What are the best things about your job?
Without a doubt the best thing about my job is the people I work with – both my clients and my colleagues. I also have a competitive streak and love winning, so when I get a good outcome for a client, whether it is negotiating a good deal to settle their case, or succeeding in tribunal, than that gives me great satisfaction in a job well done .
5. As Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues” : what are you daily/weekly habits?
I try and look after myself – my biggest weakness is getting so lost in work that I don’t take a break or hydrate properly throughout the day. So I recognize this and try and rectify it. I also have a lot going on in my head at one time, juggling lots of cases and clients, so to avoid getting overwhelmed and forgetting things, I make daily to-do lists . It frees up the RAM in my head from too much mental clutter, so I can focus on doing one thing at a time, and doing it well.
6. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
The feminist in my head wants to say that it is the patriarchal society that we have inherited, where we still have such a long way to go to achieve real equality. But I think as well as that, it is us ourselves . As women, we often don’t do enough to put ourselves forward, and to build the confidence we should have in our skills. We too often accept that we must sacrifice our careers for our families because our partners are not expected to. This is why I mentor young professional mothers through the CityParents scheme, because I am passionate about breaking down barriers, both in society and within ourselves .
7. What women inspire you and why?
It sounds corny, but my mum is my biggest inspiration. She is a strong-willed, funny and independent woman who is also the kindest most generous person I know. Also, we are lucky that on the global stage we have plenty of inspiring women leaders right now – Nicola Sturgeon, Michelle Obama and Angela Merkel are my current favourites.
8. What advice would you give to your 16year old self?
Don’t ever forget to look after yourself . Otherwise you will be no good to anyone else either. Remember the airplane safety code: put your own oxygen mask on before seeing to others who rely on you.
9. Your instant mindfulness fix…
5-minute meditation videos on YouTube – a great way to relax, refresh and restart when you are feeling stressed or tired.
10. And finally something frivolous: best thing about being woman…
I don’t know, it just feels right to me; women are amazing. Men are great too, but I would never want to have been born a man!
Top Takeaways from Emmajane:
· Build your confidence
· Put yourself forward, don’t be constrained by barriers:
Break down the barriers both external AND internal
· Being successful is an ongoing objective- is not just achieving it, is maintaining it.
· Being successful is also satisfaction in a job well done
· Love what you do so it doesn’t feel like work
· Have a good support work around you – the people you work with are important
· Meditation- a great way to relax, refresh and restart
#SMASHTHATCEILING #TheWomanAlchemist #WomenInspiring
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