It’s International Women’s Day, so why have I chosen to lead with an image of our full team including both the women and the men? Surely as a woman in a leadership role, I should be championing my female team members, taking this opportunity to shine the spotlight on these outstanding, hardworking and talented women who we couldn’t be without.
Why share the one day that is dedicated to women, with men? I can already imagine the annoyance that this may cause some. However, I can only speak for what this means to me.
I have been running my Holiday Property Management business WCS Bespoke and battling my way over the obstacle course that is software development with Propierge, on my own for many years. Both businesses are made up of balanced teams of the right people for each role, so they are therefore a mix of both women and men. Neither business would succeed without the skills and contribution that they all bring. I am extremely proud of everything that we have achieved together.
However, anyone who has set up businesses on their own and has an ambitious and entrepreneurial mindset, knows how lonely this can be – whether you are male or female. You have to be able to do pretty much anything that is required to get the job done, no matter whether the job falls naturally within your skillset or not. There is no room for egos. If you have to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty, you are more than likely the first one diving in up to your elbows. Making personal sacrifices everyday and doing it all with a big smile on your face, is just part of your daily routine.
This has not been easy as a businesswoman in the male dominated property and technology industries and living in Southern Spain. I have enough cringeworthy anecdotes and dinner party stories of misogyny, discrimination and ignorance that would curl most well balanced people’s toes. Everyday can be a struggle with the decisions and choices that you have to make when trying to balance your personal, family and work life. Having it all and feeling like you are succeeding at everything you try to do without feeling any guilt, is rare.
It is hard for women in many ways that can be difficult to appreciate when so much of what is wrong has been left unchallenged and normalised over the years.
This normalisation is not all one way though and a lot of women are likely to admit saying something along the lines of “well, he’s a man” as an excuse for something, more than once in their life. Would we accept it if our male colleagues, friends and family said the same thing, but just changing the line “he’s a man” to “she’s a woman”? Probably not. In addition, I have come up against a few women in positions of power that have treated women much worse than they treat men.
We are far from living and working in a perfect world, but #BalanceForBetter can only help us get a little closer to this. Success comes from bringing people together with complementary skills and experience, empowering people to thrive, forming partnerships and realising shared values and goals – not from exclusion, isolation and allowing normalised bias to continue.
#BalanceForBetter is something that I can personally stand with and is massively relevant for all of us at WCS Bespoke this year as we embark on a new path for growth by joining forces with the team at Rentivo to create Tallis Travel (www.tallistravel.com), all underpinned by the Propierge and Rentivo software systems.
Tallis Travel brings together the Professional Operational Holiday Property Management and Concierge Services offered by WCS Bespoke, with the Holiday Rentals, Bookings and Destination Marketing skills and expertise from the team at Rentivo, led by Richard Vaughton and Marc Ribail. Tallis Travel provides Operational Holiday Property Management, Rentals, Bookings and Destinations Services to Property Owners, Holiday Rentals and other Guests in and around the Sotogrande area of Southern Spain.
Deciding to form a partnership with anyone after so many years leading the charge alone has not been a decision that I have taken lightly. My decision to do this was not down to male/female or any other similar choice. I always choose to work with the best people be they male or female. Those that bring something extra that I and my team need to grow, improve and more importantly, add to the balance that is fundamental to anything that is truly successful.
Tallis Travel is a team of people who come from all different backgrounds and countries, we have lived in all corners of the globe. We span from Gen Z to Millennials, Gen X to Baby Boomers, and we have worked in many different industries and sectors. We have a combined experience of working in the Holiday Property Management, Rentals, Bookings, Destination Marketing and Software industries that span many decades and we all bring something different to the mix.
Richard, Marc and the team at Rentivo along with me and my teams at WCS Bespoke and Propierge all believe that #BalanceForBetter is much more than just a hashtag or strapline. It is fundamental to the future success of any business. Congratulations to #IWD2019, for highlighting this important message and opening up the conversation into what a normal workplace should look like in the future.