100 for 100 Series: Jane Underwood | Wates

Equality of opportunity for everyone is essential for businesses to thrive. For 2019 International Woman’s Day, Jane Underwood shares what #balanceforbetter means to her.

Jane Underwood - Learning and Development Manager, Group Services


Introduce yourself for us

I’m Jane Underwood and I work as a Learning and Development Manager.

How long have you been in your current role?

I’ve been in this role for nearly one year. Prior to Wates, I worked for Royal Dutch Shell for 14 years, in Learning & Development managing global learning programmes and projects. During my time at Shell, I undertook a number of Diversity & Inclusion roles, including: diversity strategy, gender initiatives and creating an inclusion culture.

What brought you to Wates?

I was looking for a new company to work for after coming back from living in the Philippines with my family. I was attracted to Wates as it was a smaller family owned company and its family values really stood out to me.

What advice would you give to women entering the industry?

My advice is to be authentic. Definitely be yourself and know what you stand for. Go after what you want to achieve and keep striving towards where you want to get to. Don’t let any barriers stop you and instead work out a way to overcome them.

Who are your role models?

A big role model of mine is Dame Kelly Holmes – the double Olympic 800 & 1500M champion, especially in terms of perseverance and dedication to her career. She has overcome a huge amount of barriers to achieve success.

From the business world, I would have to say Baroness Karren Brady. Karren was the first woman to be managing director a football club at the age of 23 and has been a fantastic role model on how to succeed in a man’s world. Karren is a fantastic role model for women in business. I highly recommend two books by Karren, Playing to Win: 10 Steps to Achieving Your Goals and Strong Woman: The Truth About Getting To The Top

This year the theme of International Women’s Day is Balance for Better. What does this mean for you personally?

For me, it’s about looking at creating a better balance and creating a more inclusive workforce. It’s about valuing everyone not just women . By looking at all the ways we are are different, valuing people for who they are and by creating an inclusive workforce, you enable everyone to work at their best and achieve their potential.

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