Inspirational Woman: Sheri Hughes | UK D&I Director, PageGroup

Sheri HughesSheri joined PageGroup in December 2002 as a consultant and then progressed to manager and associate director by successfully managing regional UK offices.

In January 2015 she moved across into the Diversity & Inclusion team and was promoted to UK D&I Director. Since then PageGroup’s D&I agenda has gone from strength to strength. In 2018 alone, they were the first recruitment company to achieve: Times Top 50 Employers for Women, Stonewall Top 100 and BITC Gold Award for the Gender benchmark.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I joined PageGroup in 2002 as a consultant in Michael Page Sales. I worked my way up in the operational side of the business, managing multiple teams across Leicester, Birmingham and Bristol until going on my first maternity leave at the end of 2013. I then moved across to the DE&I team and had my second daughter. Now mum to two girls aged eight and six, I work part time as UK DE&I Director, looking after our internal strategy and the externally facing DE&I Client Solutions team.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not really. I originally wanted to be a doctor when I was at school, so it’s safe to say that the only ‘real’ plan I have had hasn’t gone well!

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Of course. I got into University on clearing – so my studies took a sudden U-turn. Having a miscarriage. Being the only female in a senior leadership team earlier on in my career. Figuring out how to make my career work around having children. These are all challenges I’ve faced throughout my life.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Two things – having my girls (it wasn’t an easy ride) and being promoted to UK DE&I Director whilst working a three-day week!

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I work really hard.  I do it as smartly as I can, but I work hard.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

Yes, I mentor and am a mentee. I think it’s invaluable because it gives you exposure to different perspectives that help you grow, both as a mentor and a mentee. Mentoring relationships don’t always need to be formal though, I like the flexibility of tapping into different folk for different reasons, particularly if I know their views are opposing to mine.  Being challenged on my own views I find helps me open my mind to more innovative solutions.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

I would get more men onboard.  The sooner more men get behind the movement the quicker we see progress.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Just that the role you will end up thriving in simply doesn’t exist yet, so don’t panic about not knowing what you want to do. 

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Moving onto the next challenge suggests that I have completed everything else I have started, and in DE&I that’s never the case. You get better and you see progress (hopefully) but you aren’t ‘done’, you just push for more. If my role is no longer needed then I will have achieved all I could have possibly hoped for.

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