POSTED IN FG Family ON 22 March, 2019
22 Mar A Seat at the Table – The Women Who Run Francesco Group
A Seat at the Table
THE WOMEN WHO RUN FRANCESCO GROUP
The hair industry is typically dominated by women and at Francesco Group this is no different; women run over half of our salons and this pattern continues right up to the top, with three women taking up nearly half of the available spaces on the Board of Directors.
Only 22% of UK board members are women and at FG we are proud to help topple the averages, with 43% of our board being taken up by female directors.
As part of festivities for Women’s History Month and the recent International Women’s Day celebrations, we spoke to our Directors Anya, Mia & Andrea about their careers; Mia and Anya both joined the Board of Directors in 2009, with Andrea joining them a few years later in 2013.
Less than a quarter of women in the UK are board members – how does it feel to be a part of that statistic?
Mia – Mixed feelings, as a working mum I feel saddened that there must be other women out there not being given the opportunity to rise to the top of their businesses and industry. We still live in male dominated society when it comes to the leadership of UK businesses. My other feelings are of course bursting with pride, and I’m so proud to sit on a board of Directors with two other highly successful women (and men!).
Andrea – It makes me very proud to have achieved this status. I’d been in the business for almost 23 years before being asked to join the board and I do think this is generally reflective of how long it takes women to rise through the ranks.
Anya – I’m really proud of our achievements and I feel very lucky to be part of this statistic.
I’m really proud of our achievements and I feel very lucky to be part of this statistic.
What does your day-to-day role entail?
Andrea – My days are so varied; one day I can be out visiting our salons and spot checking their standards, the next day I can be meeting with the Worked Based Learning Team discussing our apprenticeship programme, the next I can be discussing strategy with other Board members; no two days are ever the same.
Anya – My day is very varied, but I spend a lot of time teaching and enforcing our hairdressing standards at the grass roots of our company, planning the next creative direction we will take as a company and day-to-day business; working with fellow directors to ensure we continue to thrive.
Mia – My role is very mixed with operational work and strategic work; both are imperative to my role. Leadership is the main part of my role; guiding, coaching and developing teams and individuals is the core of our industry. I believe it’s important to still be in touch with my industry and being on the shop floor not only gives me the passion and a creative fix, but also gives me the understanding and ability to have a very in touch perspective with all of our business. I feel extremely blessed that I have a job that uses all of my skill sets; creative thinking as well as creative hairdressing!
I feel extremely blessed that I have a job that uses all of my skill sets; creative thinking as well as creative hairdressing!
How does Francesco Group support their female employees to ensure they continue to develop?
Anya – In the hairdressing profession it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, there are continuous steps to develop. If you have the right drive and passion, you’ll get many opportunities to progress.
Andrea – I believe we support all employees equally whether male or female, however, I do think that giving flexibility with working days/hours is important to many women, this means they can more easily combine working with a family life and continue to develop themselves. I’m proud that is something we provide to our employees.
Mia – We have a company that has equality in all areas. All employees, irrelevant of sex, are coached and developed and given opportunities according to their strengths and the development of the business plan they are in. As a large business within the Hairdressing world we can offer our employees exciting futures in lots of areas including education, the creative world, salon roles and franchising.
As a large business within the Hairdressing world we can offer our employees exciting futures in lots of areas including education, the creative world, salon roles and franchising.
What is your own personal mantra?
Andrea – Treat people how you want to be treated yourself.
Mia – I have quite a few…“A cinch by the inch, but hard by the yard”
“If you’re too comfortable, it’s time to move on. Terrified of what’s next? …you’re on the right track!”
“Don’t wish for it … work for it!”
“There’s no I in Team”
Anya – Work hard, play hard! Always have fun along the way.
I do think that giving flexibility with working days/hours is important to many women, this means they can more easily combine working with a family life and continue to develop themselves.
What advice would you give to a woman who wants to eventually join you on the board of directors?
Andrea – Be bold and tell your Line Manager that it’s your ambition to join the board and once on the board, never be afraid to voice your opinions.
Mia – Stay focused, stay humble and embrace all of the development opportunities that come your way and be aware of how you affect others and how others affect you, question how this can impact your leadership ability.
Anya – Take on board every opportunity of advancement and education offered to you and build strong relationships with the people you work with.
Be aware of how you affect others and how others affect you, question how this can impact your leadership ability.
Tell us about a woman who inspires you and why?
Mia – So many! Any woman that is passionate and content in their whole work/life balance. A woman that has felt pain in her life and has the ability to turn it into a positive is a wonderful mind-set. Someone that always pricks my consciousness is artist Alison Lapper; her energy for life as a mum and a determined artist when she has everything physically going against her is inspirational, it hasn’t held her back from living life to the fullest.
Anya – I would struggle to pick just one! But I’m especially lucky because I get to work with many of the women who inspire me.
Andrea – Karren Brady CBE. She’s such a strong independent woman who learnt to thrive in a man’s world. She’s a sporting executive, politician, tv personality, newspaper columnist, author etc there is no end to her talents. She’s also raised a family and encountered serious health issues and managed to be incredibly successful… Superwoman!
There is a saying, ‘Empowered Women, Empower Women’, and at Francesco Group that is a belief we prescribe to.
Anya, Mia and Andrea have helped to nurture an environment where anything is possible, and the women in their employment are assured that they can rise through the ranks as high as they would like to fly.
Photo Credit: Agata Preyss