Flexibility fuels ambition – International Women’s Day 2024

Flexibility fuels ambition – International Women’s Day 2024

International Women's Day (IWD) is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Each year, it serves as a powerful reminder of the progress made towards gender equality while highlighting the work that still needs to be done.

We are proud to rally behind this year’s theme - Count her in: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress.

Flexible working allows us to grow and thrive, to be agile, adaptable and innovative. Wanting to work in a different way doesn’t mean you are any less driven or ambitious to do a great job. Even before the pandemic, Kilburn & Strode were early advocates for the benefits of remote working. But what does being flexible really mean and how does it equate to investing in women?

We’ve spoken to some of our leaders about how flexibility has empowered them in their careers at
Kilburn & Strode.

Trust your people

I’ve witnessed first-hand how the firm, through trust, will provide you with greater autonomy so that you can manage your own time and workload.

Elizabeth Crooks, Partner – LSC

As a long standing member of the firm, Elizabeth feels that the flexibility she was offered at Kilburn & Strode helped her progress at a time when she was juggling her work and the demands of caring for a young family. While her children are older now, having the ability to balance the needs of her family with her responsibilities to her team and her clients is really important to her.

Today, Elizabeth wants to extend that same opportunity to others. She adds, “we work as a team in the truest sense.  I have a number of people working part time, and there is a constant flow of communication so that we can provide a seamless service to our clients.  By providing flexibility in the way we work, we allow people who work part time to continue to achieve their career aspirations.”

Good role models

Having someone to look up to who has been there and done that is so important. Seeing people at a senior level taking advantage of flexible working, normalises it for others in the firm.

"The firm has a lot of good role models – throughout my time at the firm it has made a real difference to me seeing Partners who work flexibly and are extremely successful,” says Jessica Smart, Partner - LSC. For Jessica, the flexibility offered by the firm allows her to balance her career and family.

“I'm not the first person to be made Partner while on maternity leave, which shows the possibilities for progression. The firm’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is one of the reasons that I am proud to work here.’’

Creating opportunities

Flexible working can open new frontiers, offering opportunities for us to shape our careers.
Robyn Ferguson, Client & Attorney Manager says that flexible working enabled her to accelerate her career, even during lock down: “In my particular situation, while working from home during the pandemic, I was able to take on additional responsibilities with the Tech team. Without having that continued flexibility, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.”

Having returned from maternity leave last year, Robyn says:

I have more freedom to manage my time around my commitments, all while being accessible to my team and being responsive to different time zones with my colleagues in the Netherlands, London and Boston – all in one day.

Setting an example

Nick Shipp, Partner - Tech, reflects on the positive ways in which the firm has evolved over the years but says that those at a senior level have a responsibility to maintain the momentum. “We should continue to engage and recognise that those at a senior level have the ability to influence real change”, he says. “We should all strive to play a role in this.”

‘’We recently interviewed a female candidate who was told by her current employers that they would only invest in Partners who worked full-time. This isn’t an isolated incident, there a lots of firms that are still rigid and inflexible when it comes to investing in future talent. I’m proud that Kilburn & Strode isn’t one of those.”

Caring Society

Everyone requires care in their lifetime and caring for a family or older loved ones is labour that too often goes unrecognised. But currently, women shoulder the majority of the burden, spending around three times more time on unpaid care and domestic work than men.

When talking about accelerating women, we can’t ignore the impact of caring responsibilities. Allowing people to make space for this whilst still progressing their careers is critical.

As Jess rightly points out, "caring responsibilities and working flexibly definitely aren't a barrier to advancing your career at Kilburn & Strode. In fact, flexible working allows all of us to maximise our potential because we can each work in the manner that is most productive for us as individuals.’’

At Kilburn & Strode, we recognise that this is an issue that needs attention for both women and men.

Nick acknowledges that it isn’t always easy to open up to others when it comes to caring responsibilities, and sharing this is a personal choice too.
"However I’d hope that through trust and open communication, our colleagues can feel supported – because people care, and will play their part in helping you while you help others.’’

Over the coming weeks, new legislation will come into effect to recognise those caring responsibilities and more information on this, and the support available, will follow.

If would like to know more about what we are doing to help support and inspire inclusion within Kilburn & Strode, please get in touch

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