For International Womens Day (IWD), we are showcasing some of our Hugh James colleagues – asking them what IWD means to them. Kelly Davies, Commercial Property Partner reflects on how empowering women is everyone’s business.
What does international woman’s day mean to me? I thought long and hard about this question, but I kept coming back to the fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today without some key male supporters who have each had a big impact on my life.
I am fortunate enough to have a solid family unit and being a ‘daddy’s girl’, I have always looked up to my dad. He has played many different roles in my life, from hero to disciplinarian, from tickle monster to counsellor.
But he has always been there.
He set an example for me from a very early age, working shifts in the police force with three kids under five whilst carrying out a major house renovation with no money.
Together with my mum, he instilled the belief that I am capable of anything I set my mind to and that if I work hard, and do my best, that is all he could ever ask of me. He has reinforced this throughout my life.
His fierce sense of justice encouraged my interest in the law and quite simply, I wouldn’t be me without him. These values have served me well and I have pushed myself to achieve throughout my career.
Shortly after I qualified into Commercial Property, two of the partners I did most of my work for, left in quick succession and I was a little lost with no clear direction for some fairly unsettling post-recession months.
Peter Hurn took me under his wing and since then, he has acted as a mentor to me, challenging me and encouraging me to work outside of my comfort zone.
Whilst constantly busy, he will always make time for me, and he has supported me throughout my career, both professionally and personally. I have learned so much from him and will no doubt continue to do so.
Pete has always championed me, not just as a woman, but as a person, to be all that I can be, and to achieve what I am capable of.
Lastly but by no means least, my husband has been a source of constant strength. He is my biggest cheerleader and motivates me to push myself beyond what I ever thought achievable.
He has confidence in me when mine is lacking and is relentless in his championing of my career progression and development. He empowers me and encourages me to stay true to myself and my values, and just be me.
Coming back after maternity leave was a shock to the system and I experienced what so many other women do – a lack of confidence and low self-worth, mainly just feeling guilty for not being able to give my all to my home and work life.
It has taken quite an adjustment in my mental outlook but with his support (and constant nagging – yes men do it too!) I have come through that period a stronger person.
He is now doing the same for our daughter who is growing into a confident, competitive girl who believes she is capable of anything.
The world of property, particularly development, tends to be male dominated, and I regularly attend meetings at which I am the only female. However, I do not consider that I have ever been treated any differently.
I have had to work extremely hard to get to where I am today, but I do not believe personally that this is because I am a woman, it is just indicative of what we all must do to succeed.
I am immensely proud to be a female partner at Hugh James and whilst the hard work has been down to me, I have been fortunate enough to have been backed by some supportive men.
Whilst International Women’s Day focuses on us females, I’d like to give a nod to the encouragement I’ve had along the way.