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Mentoring is one of the most powerful tools to support growth and development.


For this month's interview, we're delighted to have Suzie Welch, recently appointed permanent Managing Director UKI, & Group Chief People Officer, Odeon Cinemas Group.

Here Suzie shares her thoughts on her leadership journey and gives some advice to her younger self.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAILY HABITS THAT KEEP YOU INSPIRED AND MOTIVATED.

My inspiration and motivation comes from spending time with people – I am a great believer in laughter and what it can do mentally to improve a mood, relationship or situation. I also know that to be able to focus and stay motivated I need to be active in some way – whether that is the walk to work or a Pilates session. I know when I have been more active and how it makes me feel.

LOOKING BACK AT YOUR CAREER JOURNEY, WHAT ARE YOU THE PROUDEST OF?

Too many things to share, but the theme has always been seeing growth whether that be in the business I am working in or the team I am working with. I feel very fortunate to have worked in some great businesses with people that I admire and inspire me to grow too.

WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU ENCOUNTERED THROUGHOUT YOUR LEADERSHIP JOURNEY?

Not being listened to or my views not being considered because I am not seen as an expert or part of the team for example. Listening is such a core part of leadership for me, being open to new ideas and viewpoints is a core part of my values.  

HAVING A DEMANDING ROLE, HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE?

I don’t always have the balance that I should have but I have a husband who is great at telling me when I have lost the balance we both know I need! The more experienced/older I get the more in tune I have become about finding balance but also what I need in place to feel in control, from exercise to an organised diary, so that I have time aside for family and friends. What works for me may not work for all though!

FROM YOUR CAREER OF OVER 20 YEARS IN CUSTOMER-ORIENTED INDUSTRIES, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS HOLDING WOMEN BACK? WHY DO THEY STILL REMAIN UNDERREPRESENTED IN SENIOR POSITIONS IN THE CINEMA INDUSTRY?

For me it is a mix of women getting in their own way – through a lack of confidence and belief that they can do the roles or need to be 90% there to be successful. It also requires businesses to take action and have the staying power to make the sustainable and long-term change. It doesn’t change overnight and we are used to quick results equalling success not long-term strategies that take time and focus.

WHAT ARE THE CURRENT CHALLENGES FOR COMPANIES WHEN IT COMES TO ENSURING AN INCLUSIVE CULTURE AND AN INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP?

Being able to deliver to expectations both internally and externally but not doing so much that it becomes overwhelming! We also need to go much deeper into businesses and focus on talent in their early careers to nurture a stronger pipeline than we have now.

AS AN EXPERIENCED MENTOR, WHY DO YOU THINK MENTORING IS IMPORTANT? DID YOU HAVE MENTORS ALONG THE WAY?

Mentoring is one of the most powerful tools to support growth and development. I have had many mentors throughout my career, some of them formal and some of them not. I have two that I regularly keep in touch with who are my go-to people for advice and support. If you can build a strong relationship and you trust their view and opinion, you can often find that you can cut through to the core of issues and really move things forward. As a mentor there is also so much to get from the conversations too, I learn a lot from the mentees that I have worked with. For me, mentoring is a win win for all involved.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

To have more belief in your ability and viewpoint – you will be right more often than you are wrong!


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