In honour of International Women's Day this week, our Marketing & Digital Leaders Series will feature inspiring Women in Leadership
In today’s interview, Rachel Wheeler chatted to Kobi McCardle, Co-Founder of Dr Fertility, about her career, her thoughts on the amount of women in prominent positions and her advice to anyone that aspires to work in leadership roles.
Please can you provide an overview of your role?
My bestfriend and co-founder Lucy Buckley and I have very different and complimentary skills and experience. I have 20 years’ experience in marketing and ecommerce, so I am responsible for the marketing and technology development at Dr Fertility. We are a digital health provider that helps to support people on their path to parenthood by providing fertility products, education and online access to fertility experts.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced in your career?
I think two of the biggest challenges for me, have been firstly challenging the very old-fashioned view, that some senior managers (both men and women) still have, that once a woman starts a family, she won’t have the same level of ambition and drive. By starting Dr Fertility on maternity leave and raising £1 million seed investment, I hope Lucy and I are helping to change that perception.
Secondly, balancing a young family with running a business can be tough at times. There aren’t many women and men that I meet who don’t find this a continual work in progress. My husband and I make it work for our family by being a team. My husband shared the parental leave with me when we had our youngest son because I couldn’t take a long period of time out of the business. I am really proud of him as he was the first man at his large global company to take shared parental leave in the UK.
Do you think there are enough women in prominent positions? Why?
According to the latest report by Hampton-Alexander, there has been good progress in the last 10 years, however women still only account for 14% of the executive directors in the FTSE 100. I think there are many reasons that contribute to this including:
As mentioned previously, old fashioned mind-sets by senior managers, that once a woman has a child, she will be less ambitious and committed to the company because her priorities change. For example, I read that many women don’t get board positions because of the perception that they wouldn’t want to travel away from their families. Some women won’t, but some men with families won’t either. My family will always come first but I am just as ambitious and driven. I want to make my family proud.
Lack of support for women in society. Some members of my family have struggled to get their heads around me wanting to start a business only a few weeks after having my first son. As women we are often made to feel guilty if we decide to pursue our careers, whereas this is less likely to be the case for men.
Low confidence for women to demand more senior roles. I think as women we need to start being braver and asking for that promotion. I have managed big teams in previous roles. An observation I often made was that many women would wait to be promoted, whilst the men often asked, even if they weren’t yet ready for that next role. This is obviously a generalisation, but I think through the right support at both home and work, women will become more confident at stepping forward for more senior roles.
What advice would you give to women who aspire to be in a role of power?
Believe in yourself and have the confidence to ask for that promotion. We all have days when we either think we are brilliant at our job or doubt how good we really are. Keep reminding yourself of everything you have achieved on your journey so far.
Build the right support network. Surround yourself with other likeminded people and look at what support you can put in place to help you pursue your dreams.
Dr Fertility offer fertility education, products and services to people you on their path to parenthood. Check out their story HERE
If you would like some career advice or support with the next step of your career journey, get in touch with our marketing, digital and technology recruitment experts today!