We were thrilled to have time with Elyse Jeffress, Angus Knight’s Chief Operating Officer, to discuss work, creating an equitable environment for all, and learn more about Elyse’s career pathway. Sit down, grab a cuppa, and learn more in our interview with Elyse Jeffress.
Q1. How long have you been working with Angus Knight Group?
A1. I started with the Angus Knight Group in November 2022, as the Chief Operating Officer.
Q2. What inspired you to pursue your current career or business?
A2. I have a background in law but over time have worked across not-for-profit, for-profit, and government organisations in various executive roles.
I love working with organisations like Angus Knight where there is a strong commitment to purpose and improving people’s lives whether that be through employment, health, or other supports.
Q3. When you started with the business what was your role? How has it changed over time?
A3. My role is new, but I am encouraged within Angus Knight to innovate, grow, and take on new challenges.
Q4. During your time with the company, how have you seen the flexibility of the role and the work help with your family life?
A4.I have three school-aged children so work and life is a juggle. I work flexibly from home and in the office. With the support of a great team and CEO, I am fortunate to make this juggle work. I also see the importance of flexibility beyond family life and encourage my own team to take ownership of flexible working to enhance their own wellbeing.
Q5. How can companies and organizations better support and promote gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
A5. We need to continue to have open conversation in the workplace and highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion at all levels. The value this brings to our organisational culture cannot be undervalued.
Open conversation is fundamentally important to organisational culture. For example, I recently attended a Menopause Mixer to increase awareness about women’s experiences and how best to ensure women have the information they need to navigate perimenopause and menopause. I am looking forward to sharing this with the wider group.
Q6. What advice would you give to young women who are just starting their careers or businesses?
A6. I would advise young women to have confidence in their abilities, to take opportunities when they arise, and to be open about what they need to achieve in their roles. I would also recommend finding a supportive mentor to whom they can talk to.
Q7. In your opinion, what steps can we take as a society to close the gender pay gap?
A7. I regularly have this conversation with my 14-year daughter who cannot understand why this pay gap even exists!
As a society, encouraging and supporting women to stay in the workforce and take opportunities including leadership opportunities is important. Juggling a family and work can be hard but with the right support it is also very rewarding.
Q8. What role do you believe men can play in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace?
A8. I have worked with some great male and female leaders who have supported me to take opportunities and build my confidence to succeed. These mentors, male, and female are so important.
Q9. What do you think can be done to create more flexible work arrangements that benefit both women and men?
A9. The impact of COVID has changed the landscape in relation to flexible working and created infrastructure and opportunities to undertake work from home where possible. This momentum needs to continue where possible but also expand into other areas like making sure we make time for personal health and wellbeing. I love ideas like walking meetings or building a walk into your day to break up the screen time.
Q10. In what ways do you think the pandemic has impacted women in the workforce, and what changes have you seen as a result?
A10. It has opened the door in relation to flexible working for all. However, juggling home schooling during the height of the pandemic was particularly challenging for working parents.
Q11. How can we encourage more men to be allies in the fight for gender equality and women’s empowerment?
A11.Continuing open conversations and setting up the right framework is key. We need to actively involve men in our discussions and demonstrate the advantages of an equitable society. Men in leadership roles will play a critical role in championing change.
We would like to thank Elyse for her time, and her valuable advice for those starting in their careers.