International Women's Day: Q&A with Parvinder Deo

Jonathan Foxley International Women's Day

Brewer Morris is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2019. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Whilst we all know that gender parity within the workplace has improved over the past decades, we all also know that there is still a long way to go.

We would like to join the discussion and be part of International Women's Day 2019 #BalanceforBetter campaign on the 8th March by interviewing inspiring women we work with and, in particular, understanding the role confidence has played in their career.

We interviewed Pavinder Deo, Director of Finance – Corporates & Tax Professionals AEM, Thomson Reuters.

How do you define confidence, particularly in the workplace?

Not being afraid to speak your mind regardless of the audience or ask a question regardless of how “stupid” you think it is.  Colleagues, staff and managers should respect your point of view if you are able to speak from experience with examples and suggestions to back up your ideas.  This is what leads to efficiency, simplicity and transformative ideas that can shape the workplace.

How do you think the confidence gap affects women?

Often in meetings, nothing will be said but thereafter, someone will approach me saying “Oh, I didn’t think this was appropriate or relevant to say in the meeting but….” when in fact it was absolutely relevant and appropriate and would have guided the conversation.  Some women fear that their opinion or experience will not be valued enough. 

How important have confidence and self-belief been in achieving your career goals?

Please explain why. Extremely important as I have grown from role-to-role in my career so far and even after becoming a mother, I did not allow my career to suffer.  I am able to handle both roles with confidence as I believe in my ability to excel in work and be a great Mum (or at least try to be!) to my kids.  I give my all to my audience be it at work or at home but it’s also essential that I am able to work efficiently and multi-task especially in my expended leadership role.  My work speaks for itself, as does the value my colleagues place in me.

How much has risk-taking contributed to your career development?

I have taken some risks in my career, e.g. giving up my stable role in Wellington, NZ to move to London in 2009 just after the GFC hit!  I was successful in securing a great role in a good company and almost 10 years later, I’m still here!  During my time here, I have worked in several roles as I climbed the career ladder; some of these roles involved a complete change in what I had been doing before and learning a new set of skills.  While challenging, this is extremely satisfying when you look back at just how much you learnt in such a short space of time.  I never fear asking questions, so I am able to learn quickly.

Can you give an example of a risk you’ve taken that has paid dividend?

Moving to London right in the middle of the GFC!

How important is mentoring, coaching and sponsorship in helping women to grow their confidence at work?

I have found it important although I don’t really look for direct mentoring.  I find it in many shapes and forms from both men and women.  Learning something new and work and being able to apply that learning to future work is a type of indirect mentoring that I’ve found works really well for me.

What can be done to ensure a woman being assertive in the workplace doesn’t negatively impact on colleagues’ perceptions of her?

Continued guidance and coaching while educating the workplace that all staff members are equal and their opinions matter.  Some do it better than others I suppose!