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4 tips from the top.

To celebrate International Women's Day, we talked to two women in power (literally). As General Managers, Amy Childs and Fiona Preston both hold key roles at Momentum Energy, so we had a chat to them about their careers and the tips they have for getting ahead in business.

Fiona Preston - a woman in power

So why did you join Momentum?

Amy: Well, I was really excited about the opportunity to bring sales and marketing together. There's traditionally tension between the two, so bringing them into one team was a great challenge.

Fiona: What was put in front of me was a value-aligned organisation trying to behave in a socially responsible manner. And I really liked that. Plus, energy is a traditionally male-dominated industry, so I thought it'd be fun to shake it up a bit.

What advice would you give women trying to grow in their careers?

  1. Back yourself

    Fiona: My main advice to women – and men, for that matter – is to back themselves. Often your gut feeling is the right decision. But here's what I've noticed. A woman will read a job advertisement and if she can't tick the vast majority of the requirements, she won't apply. A man will read a job advertisement and if he can tick just one requirement, he'll apply – and truly believe he can do the job. So back yourself. You'll never be 100% ready for the best opportunities and adventures you'll get. And if you are 100% ready, it's probably the wrong opportunity.

  2. Learn the business early on

    Amy: Take time to learn the business - how it works, how it makes money. Then, when you're in a position to promote yourself, you know your stuff. You can be confident that the calls you're making align with the goals and specifics of the business. And people respect you for that.

    Fiona: Absolutely. You've got to keep learning. Be curious and ask questions.

  3. Don't dismiss roles that aren't quite right

    Amy: I learnt early on that sometimes an unexpected job will present a great opportunity to advance. I've purposely taken tough leadership roles knowing I could turn them around - turn the function and team around. And you can learn more from a tough role than from one you're really passionate about.

  4. Ask

    Amy Childs - a woman in power

    Amy: It's amazing what you get when you ask. You really need to be clear and honest about what you want. And the big thing I notice about many women is they don't ask. People are willing to give you their time and their experience and advice. But you have to ask for it.

    Fiona: While you're at it, obliterate the word 'perfect' from your life. Don't be afraid to demonstrate the human side of what's tough. Manage yourself and ask for help when you need it. Nobody expects you to be able to do everything by yourself (…except you).

    Amy: That's right. A lot of women think they have to be perfect mums, perfect wives, perfect workers, perfect friends. So ask for help at work, but also at home. Write your to-do list, delegate as much as you can and prioritise what's most important to you. Whether that's working on a presentation or going to see your kids swimming. Look, it can be difficult for women (and men!) in business. You get judged because you're leaving early.  You get judged because you're picking a kid up from school. What I love about Momentum is – whether you're a woman or a bloke – if you've got something you need to handle at home, we flex around that.

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