Following our ‘Women in Recruitment’ roundtable event we wanted to shine a spotlight on women in business, so we have conducted a series of interviews with successful women in our industry, to hear from them about the challenges they face and what inspires them.

The second interview in the series is with Angela Franks.

With a background in HR and 19 years’ recruiting experience, Angela has an exceptional track record placing senior level interim HR professionals across the UK, Europe and the Middle East.

She learnt her trade in Australia, where she completed a business degree majoring in HR and amassed six years’ experience before boarding the long-haul flight back to the UK.

In 2011 Angela took ownership of Macmillan Davies and now as Joint Managing Director, she plays a central role in the growth of the business across its offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester. She loves working on change and transformation assignments that have a direct impact on an organisation, making them more dynamic.

Angela has witnessed some amazing careers in her time, and some equally impressive business change and growth as a direct result of these people. She firmly believes that it is the teams themselves that make up a company and are the key to its future success.

Now we have some background information on Angela, let’s dive into the interview to find out more:

Q: What inspires or drives you as a leader?

A: One of the most important things that drives me as a leader is for my team to love coming into work. Cultivating a dedicated, happy and engaged team is definitely one of my top priorities.

Q: Do you have a female role model, if so who and why?

A: My previous Director, Jacqui Russell, from my days working in Australia is a big role model for me. The team would have walked on hot coals for her, myself included. She came in under a new management regime and brought us all together. She had an amazing presence but was never intimidating or authoritarian.

Q: What would you attribute your success to?

A: There is no complicated formula, it’s down to hard work, determination and always seeking feedback. When you love what you do it makes the journey much easier.

Q: After all your success, what challenges do you continue to face?

A: Making sure we continue to make the right decisions in what is a very uncertain landscape.

Have you ever struggled to achieve work life balance, or achieved it?

A:Owning your own business means that work life balance is about managing work and life rather than trying to make it balanced. Some weeks I have it and some weeks I don’t.

I also have a young family and my husband is often away with work so rather than struggle with balance, I work when I can, sleep as much as I can and never waste time worrying if I’ve got it right.

What is one leadership lesson that you have learned in your career?

A: You need someone to share the journey with. I have a business partner so consider myself lucky. In our environment, you need people around you to make sure you have thought of things from every angle and to help you continue to learn and grow.

Q: What have you learned about leadership and entrepreneurial-ship?

A: Always try to find the balance between leading and collaborating. Sometimes people just want to be told what to do and other times it’s important that they’re part of the decision-making process.

Q: Do you or have you ever mentored others, is there value in this in your opinion?

A: No but I would love to, as I think it’s something I’d learn from as well.

Q: What is the best and worst decision you have ever made?

A: I don’t really look at decisions as good or bad. You make the best choice at the time with the information you have. In saying that, a good decision was to take on Macmillan Davies through a management buyout back in 2011.

Q: Do you think there are barriers for women looking to climb the ladder?

A: I’m sure there are barriers for anyone (male or female) climbing the career ladder, but for women (specifically in our industry) I don’t see them. There may be challenges in the organisation you have chosen to work in. If your corporate culture is toxic and your voice isn’t being heard, then I would say you need to take control of your career path and ask the questions. If you don’t like the answers, then you need to make an informed choice.

Q: What advice would you give to women who are looking to become leaders in a business?

A: My advice is to have very thick skin, seek and take feedback well. Reflect and make sure you know what your weaknesses are so that you can work on them to improve those areas.

Q: Are there any strategies that can help a woman achieve a more prominent role in a male dominated organisation?

A: I started my career in a very male dominated environment and I thrived. There are so many reasons why that may be. Growing up with 3 brothers and surviving my teenage years with them certainly helped to prepare me for this environment. I never tried to be like them though. I hate sport and beer, so I had no chance!

It’s not until much later than you reflect on it and I think I did well because I worked hard. I am direct, so people know what to expect, I made them money and we had a laugh.

No matter how male dominated an environment is, if you are good at what you do they will want you on their team.

Q: In your experience, what can a business do to attract female talent?

A: Having a diverse leadership team definitely helps to make your workplace more attractive to prospective employees. In our business, we are very open to flexible and part-time working (for all of our employees) which can really make the difference.

Q: In your experience, what things make it easier to retain female staff?

A: Offering flexible working opportunities is the obvious place to start. Giving women the flexibility to balance their personal and professional lives is so important. This way you can structure the environment to make it a win-win for everyone.

In our industry, working part-time or remotely is easily achievable, but we work hard as a team to ensure those people aren’t at a disadvantage for doing so.

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