Choosing to challenge for International Women’s Day

Polly Bolitho

Senior Content & Outreach Executive

This year the theme of International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge which is based on the idea that a challenged world is an alert world. In light of this day, our wonderful team members and women in 3WhiteHats, have decided to discuss how they choose to challenge themselves in celebration of their own achievements, as well as, how they feel about working at 3WhiteHats. 

Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day”. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements.

So, Ange, how do you choose to challenge yourself? 

I love challenging myself by being exposed to people and places all over the world, as well as learning new skills. 

From a work perspective, I am always reading industry news and research pieces, speaking to connections in media, attending webinars and being continuously curious in my clients' business. Digital is constantly changing and there's always a new development or hot topic.

On a personal level, I love travelling so being in the midst of the pandemic where we can't travel has been tricky. I have had to find other things to fulfil my sense of adventure, and am doing a Philosophy class with the School of Philosophy and Economic Science at the moment. I was really inspired by the Marcel Proust quote "The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" and have been challenging myself every day to look at things from a new perspective and "travelling" with my own thoughts. I am also really passionate about food. As we have not been able to go to restaurants and cafes, I found some suppliers of exotic ingredients to make dishes from countries all over the world so my taste buds can continue to travel and have started documenting all the recipes with tweaks for my own palate in a book. There have been some kitchen fails but it's all part of the process! I'm aiming to fill it with my favourite recipes by the end of the year. 

How do you feel about working at 3WH?

One of the great things about working at 3WhiteHats is that everyone's opinions, regardless of title, are heard and valued equally. The team are fantastic and all talented in different ways. I feel I can make a difference in shaping the company and gender-bias does not exist at all, in spite of women not making up the majority. Although IWD has roots in adversity, it is nice to work within a company where it is a complete non-issue and the focus is on continuously creating a strong culture, team bonding and delivering brilliant work.

Carrie, how do you choose to challenge yourself? 

I choose to challenge myself by continuing to learn! I'm currently doing my 300hr Yoga Teacher Training and also Yoga Nidra and Yin Yoga training which is keeping me busy. I like to give myself personal challenges, like Veganuary and giving up sugar. I also aim to get in the sea at least once a week, all year round! 

How do you feel about working at 3WH?

I love being part of the 3WH's team, it's a wonderful growing business and everyone that works here is open and friendly. Ideas and opinions that are expressed are always welcome and taken seriously, it's a company that embraces and celebrates each individual, as well as working as a team. 

Hannah, how do you choose to challenge yourself? 

I like to challenge myself by getting out of my comfort zone - at work, I enjoy learning about how other companies do things, how that compares with what we do at 3WhiteHats and how we can do it better. Talking about subjects that might make some people feel uncomfortable, including mental health and diversity or equality in the workplace, can have the biggest impacts and therefore the biggest sense of achievement when it's done right.

Away from the office, I started learning to surf in the summer last year, which initially I was reluctant to try as I had had a bad experience in the past, but I forced myself to have a go and now I love it! Coldwater swimming is also another challenge I enjoy, especially in February when the sea temperature is only 9 degrees. Away from the water, I challenged myself to learn a new skill during the first UK lockdown and took up embroidery, it's great having a finished piece that is something I have fully completed.

How do you feel about working at 3WH?

My main job is to make sure everyone in the team is happy, and that the day to day office life runs smoothly, if I didn't love working at 3WhiteHats then I would be failing! We have recently given our office a revamp whilst it has been closed and I'm really looking forward to everyone seeing what we have done with it as there has been a real focus on making sure people can work collaboratively together. Working from home definitely has its benefits and I'm really proud of how we have dealt with the past 12 months as a company, but I know I'm not the only one who has missed hanging out with our wonderful team!

Nicky, how do you choose to challenge yourself? 

I love to set myself goals, small wins, as well as longer-term accomplishments. I also love making lists, just as much as I love ticking off the achievements, so it's a win-win!

From a work perspective, I find myself faced with challenges on a daily basis, which keeps it exciting! The past year, in particular, has brought a plethora of challenges to everyone, as well as opportunities. Changes within the business have led me to naturally step out of my comfort zone and take on more responsibility. This has helped me to improve my knowledge of the business and as a result, improve my confidence in my own abilities. 

So this year, I want to focus on really owning my strengths and areas of expertise. For this, I'll set challenges like putting myself forward to lead a particular project, or sharing my opinion more on certain topics, for example. I think the best way for me to take on a challenge is to face it head-on, and get stuck in before I have the chance to start worrying about it!

Outside of work, my challenges mainly relate to painting and fitness, two things I really enjoy. I like to set small goals like getting up earlier before work to get some exercise in, and lately, I've been competing against my friend in a weekly fitness challenge. Having that other person involved really adds to the accountability, and gives me the nudge I need to get up and push myself. It also helps that we're both pretty competitive!

I also started painting again last year, and had the opportunity to exhibit my work alongside some amazing local artists, and secured a spot in a local gallery to sell my work. This year my challenge is to create a big enough portfolio to hold my own exhibitions, as well as branch out to other galleries further afield.

How do you feel about working at 3WH?

I honestly love working here! One of the best parts about 3WhiteHats are the people. We have such a great team of intelligent, passionate and creative people, who are also fun-loving and genuinely so easy to get along with! Alongside this, the company focuses on harvesting good company culture and work-life balance, which has always been a priority for me.

3WhiteHats is a place I feel free to speak up and be listened to, which is very empowering. Knowing that you have a voice in a company and can actively make changes in the business where you see fit. Being a smaller company has its advantages too, as you get to see the workings of the company inside out and are very much a working part. 

3WhiteHats also believes in the opportunity of a job for life, and that's echoed in the focus on your development and creating those opportunities in order for you to fulfil your career goals. 

Polly, how do you choose to challenge yourself?

I believe certain challenges I’ve chosen have shaped me into who I am today. I took up running, and though it wasn’t fun at first, I pushed through the barrier and found peace in it. I also made some sustainable lifestyle changes which gave me a new perspective of the world around us, and a newfound interest in food and wellbeing which also led to becoming qualified in Reiki. I love the outcome of these challenges and know they’ll imprint on the rest of my life. From this, I’ve learnt the power of perseverance 

When it comes to work, agreeing to get up and talk in front of people is something I enjoy doing for myself because it’s out of my comfort zone. I love the feeling of being challenged like this. It can feel uncomfortable but I see that as a part of growing, and the adrenaline rush-like feeling after you’ve pushed through is amazing; that’s what I focus on if ever I have doubts about doing something. For me, that’s what life is all about! 

Over the past year, I learnt to surf with Women & Waves, discovered the benefits of sea swimming, focused on friendships and found joy and gratitude in small things. It has also forced me to spend some time on my own, meaning lots of solo adventures. I’ve found empowerment in more independence, and self-reflection has taught me that being yourself wins all. So now, I choose to challenge myself by pushing past what my inner critic has to say and have trust and confidence in everything I do. 

How do you feel about working at 3WH?

I’ll be celebrating four years at 3WH this summer and I believe that every member of the team has had an impact on how comfortable I feel working here. As I grow, I feel happier expressing my own ideas, and knowing that every member of the team is there to support and genuinely listen, pushes that further. Everyone new that arrives into the team, I feel the same about, meaning we continue to attract like-minded people which is important when it comes to keeping our lovely, well-balanced team culture alive.

A note from our MD, Tom

Lastly, our Managing Director, Tom, speaks about what International Women’s Day means to him and 3WhiteHats as a company.

"To lead any business, it’s important we invite everyone to challenge us in the way we operate - we must continue to evolve to remain relevant. I expect everyone at 3WhiteHats to treat each other with respect, enthusiasm and, of course, love. It is inexcusable for someone to actively change their behaviour because of another’s gender, or indeed race, appearance or sexuality. 

However, there’s a less-discussed unconscious-bias in society that we need to recognise and challenge. I am a white, middle-aged man who, whilst openly against discrimination of any kind, has not exactly had a hard time of it in comparison to most. Whilst being transfixed on the obvious negativities expressed to others, I don’t think many recognise that the positive bias towards them provide opportunities that others simply aren’t born with. I certainly didn’t in the past. 

So it’s not only about overtly challenging sexism (which is undoubtedly still the most important thing to eradicate), I encourage everyone to #choosetochallenge themselves when in a position of power, such as leading a business, to ensure their opportunities are equally available to all."

“From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge”

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