Our female CEOs: Autonomy and avoiding negativity – Rowena’s story

Rowena Everson, our CEO, Poland, on the rewards of helping colleagues progress, and the importance of autonomy

Name: Rowena Everson
Role: CEO, Poland

Never a dull day

I always wanted an interesting career that would introduce me to new ideas, learnings, places and people.

I’ve worked for some of the biggest names in banking and it has never been dull… sometimes hard work, occasionally frustrating, and often rewarding! As part of the journey, one of my greatest rewards has been helping colleagues identify what’s holding them back and how to open doors to the next stage of their careers, and then sometimes getting the opportunity to see that evolve.

Setup for success

I like to find smart, capable people and set them up for success by giving them the information, tools and connections they need. I’m clear in my expectations and value regular feedback. I typically stay close to people when they are new in a role or to a project, but then prefer to draw back once their momentum picks up, giving them the autonomy to run with things. If I’m micromanaging, it’s usually a bad sign!

female CEOsExpanding boundaries

Challenges present themselves in different ways throughout your career. Making my first presentation to partners when I was a junior accountant over 20 years ago was very challenging, whereas now this would be absolutely fine. I’m a great believer that expanding your boundaries and experiences is what keeps you vital, youthful and relevant. I’m always looking for new adventures, so I guess the next challenge is just around the corner.

Be bold, learn and adjust

There are many barriers to leadership opportunities for both men and women; some controlled by the individual, some by their environment. Some are tangible and some perception-based. “If I was to pick one differentiator between men and women (albeit that’s a huge generalisation), it would be that men are more likely to ask for what they want. Everyone, male or female, should remember that although you might not get what you ask for, if you don’t ask you will never know.”

Seek out what interests you, not only what you feel you should do. Think and plan ahead, but accept that the road will bring unexpected surprises, good and bad, so be prepared to adjust your plans. Always learn new things. It’s good to challenge and have an element of caution, but avoid negative thinkers. And finally, never make a decision based solely on money – that applies equally to wine choices!

We are committed to having 30 per cent of senior roles held by women by 31 Dec 2020

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