To celebrate International Women's Day and its theme of #BreakTheBias, we asked Kerry Cardew of Babcock International Group questions that provided us with a background of their professional career as well as her interpretation of "breaking the bias" and what International Women's Day means to her.
Kerry Cardew is Human Resources Director of Babcock International's Marine Sector, readher interview below.
Can you give us a brief background of your professional career and how it led to your current position?
I never really sat down at any stage and made a clear plan of where I wanted my career to go I did, however, realise quite early that HR was the right place for me! Since my early career in Recruitment, I took deliberate moves into roles that helped me develop and build my experience across different parts of the HR function and business so I have experienced most parts of HR from early careers recruitment, talent and succession planning to large culture change programmes and Business Partnering! This all led to me having invaluable experience for my current role as HRD for Devonport Royal Dockyard.
With this year’s theme of ‘break the bias”, do you have any examples from your own career when you or your employer challenged or implemented something that helped to change bias, discrimination or stereotyping?
I have had loads of challenges over my career and I think it’s almost impossible to grow without them I work in a very white, male dominated environment and we have had run a large scale culture programmes around behaviours and in particular D&I we have done a huge amount of work around speaking up and challenging/calling out any inappropriate behaviour and have used a variety of programmes and blended learning such as No Innocent Bystanders (done in theatre learning style using actors playing out real lived experiences of our people) and our peer based learning platform Hive delivering ‘Inclusion Works’ which is a self-directed learning programme that helps people understand more about bias and privilege.
How have your current and previous employers supported their employees in creating a diverse and inclusive professional environment?
In addition to the above we have some fantastic employee networks at Devonport who at all very active, we encourage everyone to bring their whole selves to work and encourage conversations around families, partners, hobbies, and we want people to be authentic. We have done a huge amount since the pandemic to encourage more agile, hybrid flexible working approaches and this also can help manage the competing demands of work and family life.
What advice would you give to women entering your profession or industry?
Spend some time to try and get some clarity about what you want from the profession i.e.; would you want to build knowledge and experience in a particular field (i.e.; L&D) or have broader experience across a range of disciplines and also consider finding a mentor who you can really trust who can challenge and support you.
What advice would you give to the women aspiring to be leaders in their field or company?
Embrace people who know more and learn from them, go where the energy is in life and be constantly curious don’t be afraid to contribute, you don’t have to wait until you have all the answers!
Lastly, what does International Women’s Day mean to you?
I love the values this day stands for and that the notion of justice sits across all cultures and is based on respect and equality for all people, and also the history that sits behind it from back in the early 1900’s and the suffragettes who forged real action for parity!