Forterra, is celebrating International Women’s Day (8th March) with HR Director, Shahbaz Idriss, who recently appeared in the Cranfield School of Management Women to Watch list.
International Women’s Day recognises the achievements already made and the continued need to support women and underrepresented groups to have fairer opportunities. This year the theme is embracing equity.
Idriss is a keen advocate for equal and equitable opportunities in the workplace. Having been named in the Women to Watch list, a list of 100 leading female professionals, she knows the challenges women face progressing their careers.
She said, “I am truly overwhelmed by the recognition from Cranfield University. Reflecting on my own personal experience, being a female and someone from the ethnic minority, I’ve experienced first-hand how equity is so important. I’ve had obstacles thrown my way and at times had to work much harder than my peers, sometimes because of my gender, but these barriers have made me stronger and much more determined as a person.”
Idriss started her career as a Pensions Administrator in 1993 and then worked her way up the career ladder. Finding her vocation as an HR practitioner, she is a firm believer in the value of developing employees’ potential, by tapping into their talents and nurturing them to become inspiring leaders of the future.
“We all know that equality, diversity and inclusion is essential in any workplace to help create the right working environment and culture, where every employee can feel safe, have a sense of belonging and feel empowered to achieve their full potential. We also know that every person is different, with some having greater privileges than others, and some needing that extra support towards opportunities and resources. This is where equity comes into play.”
Fostering an equitable workplace begins with cultivating a safe environment that allows for open discussion and understanding. Working in the male dominated manufacturing sector, Idriss found there were not many female role models in leadership positions, so having the support of her male colleagues was crucial.
“I was very fortunate to have a fantastic HR Director, Martin Furber, who saw beyond my external characteristics and completely threw unconscious bias ‘out the window’. He provided opportunities to get me involved in projects I would not otherwise get exposure to, he helped me gain confidence by being my mentor, and most importantly he helped me progress my career. For me, International Women’s Day is not only to celebrate women, but to also celebrate those men who have helped us on our personal journey. The advice I would give to my fellow females is to always be curious, be your true authentic-self and have confidence.”
Caroline Wildman, Marketing Director at Forterra said: “It’s fantastic to see Shahbaz in the Women to Watch list, which is a great accolade to her achievements. We are very proud of all her work towards creating fairer opportunities and to have this recognised on International Women’s Day.”
Forterra is continuously seeking new ways to build a fairer working environment and invest in the future of its employees.
For more information on International Women’s Day visit: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/