International Women’s Day – The Women Of Prospero


To raise awareness for International Women’s Day we’re celebrating some of our most influential and hard-working women at Prospero Teaching. We’ve come up with a set of questions to inspire and empower women in the workplace.Placing teachers from all over the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc. they all have extremely demanding roles at our teaching agency in London.

In no particular order here’s what we asked, and how they answered.


LESLEY


LESLEY PHILLIPS – CO-FOUNDER & DIRECTOR


Which woman has inspired you the most during your life?

Am I allowed to say it’s a tough call between my mother and Amelia Earhart I was fascinated from a young age by Earhart. To have the courage to have entered what was at that time a man’s world and explore it, with such bravery was hugely inspirational. My mother on the other hand was less of an explorer but was strong in the face of much adversity and lifelong challenges and illness. To have courage, and believe that you can do anything (within reason) that you want to do is important. If you work hard enough, have the resilience and determination you can achieve. If you have a goal you should chase it.

What do you think it takes to be a successful woman in a working environment?

Women, like men, should try to do the impossible….The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward…I want to do it because I want to do it…

What do you think could be improved to help empower women in the workplace?

I followed a belief that building a business is possible and that it’s not about being a successful women or a successful man, it’s about being a successful person, regardless of your gender.

Tell us a little bit about your role at Prospero Teaching.

As director and co-founder of Prospero, I’ve seen the company grow from a couple of us to over 120+ staff.  It’s also been listed for two years on the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 as one of Britain’s fastest growing companies and all of that has been very rewarding. My role has changed over the years as the business has grown. Initially I was very hands on as a Consultant in the primary and secondary departments as well as working with the DFE on research in the education sector to understand needs from teachers and schools. I am now involved more in the strategic and financial planning of the business, growing opportunities and overseeing marketing both on and offline.

What do you consider ‘female’ attributes?

I know it’s surprising that I didn’t chose a female entrepreneur or business leader and perhaps should choose someone who is a team player, but its Earhart’s determination that really got to me. It’s not about what you do, it’s your determination in any field that counts and the belief that women can achieve the same as men. That said I do believe women have specifically strong skills that both add to team dynamics and are needed for leadership, such as empathy and the ability to encourage collaboration and team work. However, we are not all the same – some men have more of these skills than some women.

What 2-3 tips would you suggest for others to be able to build their confidence to take bold steps?

Take a photo of what you want most or what inspires you – it could be a new car – it could be like me and you want to fly – and stick it on your PC or your sink where you clean your teeth every day. And be clear about your goal. When you want to take a bold step think ‘what have I got to lose?’ know the risks, so you can be rational and realise that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

I don’t know if you dream of flying …but I always have and am now considering learning to fly!


LAURA V2


Laura Phillips – Marketing Manager


Which woman has inspired you the most during your life? My Mum; she divorced in the 1970s when it was still unusual, ran her own business, brought up 2 daughters on her own, was hugely caring and thoughtful, a great cook and very funny. She defined herself completely meaning she was unaffected by what others thought and believed. She was an amazing role model and has played a large part in forming the woman I am today.

What do you think it takes to be a successful woman in a working environment? Determination, hard work, creative, independent thinking and being willing to put your head above the parapet. Being a good listener who is prepared to roll up their sleeves and muck in makes you a good team player which is also hugely important.  And a bit like life in general a sense of humour which can be brilliant for diffusing difficult situations.

What do you think could be improved to help empower women in the workplace? Girls need to be educated at home, in school and wider society to have the confidence to assert themselves and be proud of their ambitions.  Women are just too apologetic because we’re brought up to be.  This needs to change.

Tell us a little bit about your role at Prospero Teaching. I communicate the Prospero Teaching brand through various media externally & internally, in a very fast-moving environment. I work as part of a team of 4 developing and implementing marketing strategies to achieve this.  My role therefore requires me to be analytical, creative, have an eye for the big picture as well as detail and be a good team player.

What do you consider ‘female’ attributes? Being a good listener, intuitive and nurturing. That list might make me sound rather sexist but it is based on experience!

What ‘bold’ moment have you had in a work environment before? Oh a few!  Twice early on in my career (30 years ago) I had to complain about sexist abuse; one was physical and another verbal.  Telling the truth where in the short term it’s been unwelcome.  I’ve asked for pay rises too instead of waiting for them to be offered.

What 2-3 tips would you suggest for others to be able to build their confidence to take bold steps? Preparation.  I find that I always feel more confident when I feel like I know what I’m doing because I’ve taken the time to prepare fully.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions – you’ll learn, get respect for asking and feel better when you can take steps based on the learnings. Work hard – you’ll be respected and know that you’ve earned the right to participate. Don’t be afraid to ‘think out loud’ either – it’s part of what makes working in a team fun too, developing ideas and thoughts collaboratively.


laura o


Laura O’Sullivan – Team manager


Which woman has inspired you the most during your life?

My late mother-in-law, Eileen. She started working at the Royal Bank of Scotland in the early 70s as a Bank Teller, worked her way up becoming a Manager in the branch, and then beyond. Eileen was Caribbean and in the 70s racism was far more socially acceptable than it is today and banking was extremely male dominated, so she had lots of hurdles to jump over. She was strong, determined, knew her mind and what she wanted. Eileen struggled with health issues towards the latter part of life and is no longer with us. I learnt a lot from her and admired her enormously.  She was always such a positive woman and inspired everyone she met.

What do you think it takes to be a successful woman in a working environment?

Passion, determination and focus. You have to know what you want to be able to achieve it. Working towards a goal is so important.

What do you think could be improved to help empower women in the workplace?

We need to empower one other! It starts at home like education does, empower with love and supportive and encourage women to be more confident by celebrating and praising each other.

Tell us a little bit about your role at Prospero Teaching.

I’m a Team Manager. I joined Prospero in 2012 and with the support of my Manager and colleagues, I grew as an individual and with the company. I now manage my own team of consultants. My role requires focus, self-belief, perseverance, a competitive edge as well as the ability to make quick and sound judgements about people

What do you consider ‘female’ attributes?

Female attributes… hhmmmm. I would say I’m empathetic, considerate and patient! I am not saying men aren’t empathetic, considerate or patient!

What ‘bold’ moment have you had in a work environment before?

I’ve had a lot of situations I would deem ‘bold’… where do I begin?! I’ve asked for pay rises rather than wait to be offered them.  I’ve confronted bullying and sexist attitudes with face to face meetings and got apologies.

What 2-3 tips would you suggest for others to be able to build their confidence to take bold steps?

No-one in the work place can fight your battles for you, though they can support you.  So it’s imperative you accept the need to stand up for yourself and initiate difficult conversations as and when required. Listen and work hard; that way you’ll be successful and feel good about yourself.  And remind yourself about the contribution you make to the company you work for.


danni west


Dannielle west – SEN Consultant


Which woman has inspired you the most during your life?
My Nan, she raised my Mum as a single parent at the age of 18 with no help when it was frowned upon to have a child out of marriage and still managed to provide as a single mother working full time. So when I found myself in the same situation I had even more drive to be a successful young Mum, because if my Nan could do it then so could I!

What do you think it takes to be a successful woman in a working environment? I think it is important to show empathy, be determined and resilient.  You will have knock backs in your career and it’s really important to dust yourself off and keep going even if you feel like giving up.

What do you think could be improved to help empower women in the workplace?
Awareness of opportunities and equality between sexes in the work place should be imprinted throughout education. Young girls should be taught from a young age about self-worth, self-belief and encouraged to never be afraid to push boundaries.

Tell us a little bit about your role at Prospero Teaching.
I am an SEN Consultant working with schools across London to find passionate and enthusiastic candidates to work in SEN schools, alternative provisions and specialist settings. It’s something that I have become extremely passionate about and I like to think that I am impacting SEN children’s education in some way by making sure that they are getting the right staff who understand their needs and want to make a difference to their education.

What do you consider ‘female’ attributes?
Compassion, Tolerance and Empathy.

What ‘bold’ moment have you had in a work environment before?
Sticking up for myself when being criticised by other people if I felt strongly about it being the right thing to do.

What 2-3 tips would you suggest for others to be able to build their confidence to take bold steps?
As a young woman I have been told on occasions that I am ‘too sensitive’, sensitivity is not a weakness and it should instead be seen as ones of your strengths. Never be afraid to speak up for yourself or other people if it is something that you feel strongly about. Stay organised, create structure and work hard.


ayesha


Ayesha Nazmin – Development Coordinator


Which woman has inspired you the most during your life?

Marie Curie as she continues to be the only female to win two Nobel Prizes. That’s something that really inspires me, but most importantly she achieved so much when many didn’t believe in her

What do you think it takes to be a successful woman in a working environment?

Organisation, team work and confidence

What do you think could be improved to help empower women in the workplace?

More encouragement to apply to more senior positions. Also younger females collaborating more with senior female personnel

Tell us a little bit about your role at Prospero Teaching.

Relationship development across the nation

What do you consider ‘female’ attributes?

Presentable, organisation and long term thinking

What ‘bold’ moment have you had in a work environment before?

Gaining credibility

What 2-3 tips would you suggest for others to be able to build their confidence to take bold steps?

Always be prepared, always be articulate and always be on time.


danni t


Danielle T – Senior consultant


Which woman has inspired you the most during your life?

My Grandmother who moved to Australia from Italy in the 60s with 8 children knowing no English, to make a better life for her family

What do you think it takes to be a successful woman in a working environment?

Confidence, drive, resilience, humour

What do you think could be improved to help empower women in the workplace?

Women remembering to empower other women and build each other up

Tell us a little bit about your role at Prospero Teaching.

I work with Primary Schools in South East London, helping them find teachers and support staff for their schools.

What do you consider ‘female’ attributes?

Empathy, creativity, strength, multitasker…way too many to list

What ‘bold’ moment have you had in a work environment before?

Leaving work when my contracted hours were actually finished! HA! (Trying to achieve a work-life balance)

What 2-3 tips would you suggest for others to be able to build their confidence to take bold steps?

Don’t compare yourself to others! Set yourself little goals to achieve the larger one and keep a sense of humour while doing it. Be inspired by successful women.


We’re looking for more strong women to join our ranks, if you have the passion and drive to succeed we’d love to hear more from you give our internal recruiter Ryanh@prosperogrp.com an email we’re currently hiring at all levels across the UK and Dubai.


We’re also looking for Teachers across the UK and abroad to teach in one of our hundreds of great schools! If you’d like to further your career check out our jobs page for the best teaching jobs in London, Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool and more here