As a special treat for our readers, and with International Women’s Day nearly upon us, we are doing a special blog post today. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dixons Travel’s Managing Director, Heidi Woodhouse. As you might already know, Dixons Travel is a subsidiary of Dixons Carphone is one of Europe’s leading multichannel retailers of technology products and services largest electronics retailer and Heidi is the Managing Director of its Travel business.
Let’s take a look at what Heidi has to say about this year’s upcoming International Women’s Day:
About Heidi Woodhouse
Having spent a major portion of her career in a male-dominated tech industry, previously Heidi was often the lone female in a group of male executives. For Heidi, this meant work hard to prove her abilities. In 2016, Heidi became the first ever female MD for Dixons Travel.
With Heidi’s responsibilities of being both a Managing Director and mother, it made achieving career success even more of a challenge, but one she would easily overcome while achieving a healthy work/life balance.
What Is International Women’s Day?
International Women's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world on the 8th of March every year. It has been, and still is today, a focal point in the movement for women's rights. The first Women's Day was organized by the Socialist Party of America and held in New York City on February 28, 1909. The very next year, it was suggested that 8 March be honored as a day annually in memory of working women by German revolutionary Clara Zetkin. The day has been celebrated as International Women's Day ever since. The United Nations began celebrating the day in 1975. In some countries around the world, International Women's Day is a day of protest; in others, it is a day that celebrates womanhood.
Now, let’s begin our International Women’s Day Q&A with Heidi Woodhouse
What does diversity mean to you?
Heidi- "For me, diversity means to have meaningful impact. For example, being able to deliver a value-based proposition to our customers means breaking down the stereotype that technology is principally for men.
Personally, I am in a very unique position as MD for Dixons Travel. It enables me to bring both diversity of thought and opinion to the tech industry while showing young women interested in careers in the industry that technology is for everyone.
How does diversity allow you to make better decisions?
Heidi- "It really gives me an opportunity to focus on important issues that the tech industry is facing today and how these issues will help shape the industry’s future. I am passionate about improving diversity within retail and, being a diversity lead within Dixons Travel, I am able to actively pursue that passion and execute a plan to address this important issue in today’s professional workplace.”
What impact have you had on your workplace?
Heidi- "We all know that IT and electronics retail have always been a male dominated sectors and many tech firms have never had formal Diversity and Inclusion policies until recently. With the blessing of Dixons Carphone’s HR Director, I initiated a comprehensive internal research programme. For my proposed initiatives to work, I needed to demonstrate real commercial value to the organization. The research had to show that my proposed diversity initiatives could make a real difference, not just to Dixons Carphone, but to the industry as a whole. I delivered a 28-page gender parity report, my Gender Agenda.
Can you expand on your Gender Agenda report?
Heidi- "My 28-page gender parity report, ‘my Gender Agenda’, contained recommendations including:
- An HR Inclusion and Diversity Board of which I am Dixons Travel business-lead.
- Board-level sponsors for the programme.
- A buddy system to support women returning to work after maternity leave.
- A new Dixons Carphone’s recruitment policy to facilitate better levels of parity for women and other groups.
- Inauguration of a network to support women’s development in the industry.
How do you encourage diversity outside the business?
Heidi- "The diversity and equality agenda is important to me on a wider basis too. Outside of the corporate environment my passion is to ensure that girls can understand and fulfil their full potential. I talk at schools to encourage girls to consider a career in STEM and to impress on them that anything is possible. We also take on underprivileged children for work experience. We are constantly looking to improve and we have recently ’expanded the work experience qualifying criteria to give more people the opportunity.
Contact Dixons Travel
To learn more about the International Women’s Day and Dixons Travel MD, Heidi Woodhouse, contact Dixons Travel today!
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