How I became an operations director

To tie in with International Women’s Day, we wanted to shine a spotlight on some of the women here at Registers who, through their roles, are making our business transformation happen! In this article we speak to Janet Egdell, Operations Director and Accountable Officer here at RoS. 

International Women’s Day, and the events organised around that date, present a fantastic opportunity each year to celebrate the achievements of women not only throughout history, but also here at RoS.

In my role as Operations Director and Accountable Officer, I lead the Management Team to make sure that we deliver what we agreed to in our strategic plan, and think ahead to what should we be doing next. I’ve always been keen on learning new things and supporting others doing the same.  On my career journey I lectured at the University of Aberdeen, and I loved introducing students to a bit of economics and making it relevant to them.

I’ve never really had a life plan. I like to spot an opportunity when it presents itself. I’ve been at RoS now for three and a half years and before that I worked in the Scottish Government for about fifteen years. I worked across various different areas – rural, transport, finance . I’d been working in an area in Scottish Government finance where I was working closely with ministers, and collating lots of information from across the piece around investment, but I didn’t actually get to deliver the investment. I was really attracted to doing something operational, where we make a decision and then make it happen, and that’s what attracted me to the position at RoS. It’s really empowering to be in a role where you actually do stuff for customers.

Barriers can present themselves in all kinds of ways in relation to gender, and some of the barriers that I faced in relation to my gender were definitely in my head. I did a really good Women in Leadership course. We were talking about the different approach in applying for jobs, and the higher expectations that women often have for themselves. Men might see a list of requirements for a job and think “they’re looking for those ten things, and I have three of them, so I’ll definitely apply” and women will rule themselves out because there’s one thing on the list that they don’t think they can do. We can have a tendency to talk ourselves out of things, and that’s partly us, but it’s also societal.

There are other challenges too. I’m guilty of over-optimism. I get disappointed when things take longer than I think they should. Instead of celebrating what fabulous stuff we do, I’m disappointed that it took a while. I try to remind myself how important it is to make time to step back and recognise the achievements of those around you, as well as your own.

If I’ve learnt anything during the course of my career to-date, it’s that diverse teams are stronger and better, make better decisions, and run better businesses.

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