2018 is a milestone year as it marks 100 years since women in the UK were given the right to vote as part of the Representation of the People’s Act.
At Wates we want to use this historic anniversary as a catalyst for promoting equality of opportunity for women across our industry. Throughout 2018 we are running a campaign called #100for100, where we will feature 100 women from across the business at all levels – providing a window into the daily working lives of our female colleagues and a platform for their views.
Our latest entrant is below. Plus, you can see all current featured employees here
Introduce yourself for us
I am Debbie Janssen, Assistant Company Secretary of the Wates Group.
How long have you been in your current role?
I joined Wates 12 years ago and although I am still in the same role, the growth of the Business means that the job I do now is much more diverse and I never know what challenges I am going to be involved in next.
What brought you to Wates?
I had been working as an assistant to an entrepreneur and philanthropist with similar ambitions and values to Wates. The opportunity to use my skills in a large organisation and to make a real difference to the communities in which Wates was working was a strong pull.
What advice would you give to women entering the industry?
Don’t take no for an answer and believe anything is possible.
Who are your role models?
Gladys Aylward, a British Christian Missionary who in 1932 spend her life’s savings on a perilous train passage across Siberia to China to achieve her ambition of working with orphaned children. She is most famous for leading 100 orphans to safety across the Chinese mountains to escape invading Japanese forces. She worked tirelessly to change ingrained attitudes that led to the abolition of the long held tradition of foot binding and helped to bring much needed reform to the then brutal Chinese prison system. She showed great determination in achieving her goals and standing for what she believed in. She was 4ft 10in tall.
Tell us something unusual about you
I have a 78 year old mother who runs 8 miles every Sunday, does Zumba twice a week, aerobics once a week and line dances. I am told that is pretty unusual.
What changes would you like to see in 100 years time?
No longer having conversations about gender, ethnicity or disability, but about accepting people for who they are and the contribution they make to society.