By Powerscourt on 08/03/2023
OVERCOMING IMPOSTER SYNDROME WITH MENTORSHIP
On International Women’s Day, Jane Glover, TMT Team Senior Consultant, and Jourdan Webb, Sustainability Team Consultant, discuss their progression through financial communications and the advantages of mentorship. Jane is Jourdan’s mentor.
How did you get started in financial communications?
Jourdan: I actually studied communications in the USA but had no knowledge of financial PR until I came to the UK. The industry in the USA is more skewed towards corporate communications.
Jane: I originally wanted to do something in finance or the City. I started my career in a private equity firm, but that didn’t feel right for my personality. I then met someone working in financial PR and realised that it could be the perfect bridge of my skills and strengths: working alongside financial services, but in a more people-oriented role.
Jourdan: I agree, it provides a blend of creative and analytical work. Growing up in Texas, I was very aware of the energy industry and the emerging sector around renewables. Internships cemented that interest for me, so I started in energy communications, and now I’m part of the growing sustainability team here.
Have you found mentorship helpful in your career?
Jourdan: I’ve had brilliant female mentors throughout my career, who have helped me to get where I am today. I started my career working with companies which were quite male-dominated; as a young woman just starting out in the industry, and coming from a different background, I had a bit of imposter syndrome. Female mentors and senior female colleagues, who worked successfully with those same clients, showed me that I deserved to be in the room.
Jane: I agree with that, definitely. I think that’s quite common feeling. I once raised a similar sentiment with a colleague, who told me that everyone feels that way – even men! That made me feel a lot better. We’re all coping with the same anxieties.
Jourdan: Definitely. I also benefitted from mentorship when I was up for early promotion. I relied on my mentor during that time, because she’d also been through that fast-track promotion process and was able to guide me. She kept me from spiralling into anxiety. As someone new to the working world, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to set myself up for success.
Jane: When I started my career, I worked with a lot of incredibly busy people who, understandably, didn’t always have time to mentor me regularly. They were great role models, but without an official mentoring scheme in place, it was easy to feel a little lost at times.
Has the mentoring scheme benefitted both of you, as mentor and mentee?
Jourdan: It’s great, especially because I’m still new at Powerscourt, and don’t always know how things work. When I’m struggling with something, I can always go to Jane, and she’ll make time for me. It saves me from worrying in a vacuum.
Jane: I feel like I’m more of a sounding board – you often come up with the solutions yourself! We’ve developed a great working relationship because of mentoring, which has blurred into friendship.
Jourdan: We’re both better problem solvers for seeing each other as human beings.
Jane: It’s definitely a two-way process. Mentoring Jourdan also helps me learn about different areas of the business, and challenges my usual points of view. It helps me to be a better communications professional, and a well-rounded human being: mentorship is about listening and instilling confidence, after all. I don’t necessarily have the answers, but I find the process very rewarding.
Do you think women face particular challenges at work, which mentoring can overcome?
Jane: One thing which is always difficult is working with a CEO, CFO and Chairman who are all male, where there is a large age gap: even if they’re the loveliest people in the world, it can create imposter syndrome. It’s only a psychological barrier, but it’s more of a barrier than if those three people were women – imposter syndrome again.
Jourdan: The biggest challenge for women is still starting a family, and juggling those competing responsibilities. Having female role models in the office who are doing that successfully is important. Compared to the US, the UK is very progressive in this respect, with far better maternity leave packages. I think there’s more awareness of the problem here, too.
Jane: I think Powerscourt is unparalleled in not just how the firm approaches maternity leave, but the general treatment of both men and women around starting families and other important life moments. That culture is set from the top and trickles down.