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Women in leadership careers advice - my top 5 tips

When I joined Mouchel in 2012 I knew my MSc in Environmental Pollution Control, and experience in the public and private sectors had set me up for an incredibly interesting next step in my career. Five years later, I’m now a member of Mouchel’s Operational Board and an Environment Director responsible for over 100 colleagues and some of the consultancy’s most iconic environmental infrastructure projects.


Statistics recently released by WISE (women in science and engineering), show that companies working in STEM are more likely to have women in leadership roles than in other sectors. I’ve been incredibly supported and enabled by Mouchel in recent years to develop my career whilst juggling my family responsibilities. It’s made enjoying my job easy and I’m now in a successful leadership role whilst also being a mum.

I have two young and very energetic children and live in York, but am found sitting at a desk in London 2 to 3 times per week or attending meetings at our other offices across the UK. I’m often asked by younger women in the business how I juggle a career that involves a lot of travelling with my home life. I have excellent childcare support but more than anything I cannot over emphasise how valuable it is to have an employer that allows me to work flexibly around my personal commitments and encourages me to retain a good work/life balance. In fact finding an employer like Mouchel, who values my expertise but understand my family commitments and encourages me to work flexibly, is something I’m very thankful for.

I’ve never had to choose between my career and my home life and I think that’s the key to continuing a successful career. But let’s not forget the hard work and commitment you’ll be putting in to reach your career aspirations. My advice would be:

1. Listen, absorb information and be inquisitive. Don’t be nervous about asking questions.

2. Project confidence and have aspirations. Believe in what you can achieve and show your enthusiasm.

3. Understand what drives you at each stage of your career and pick an employer that supports your personal goals: from travelling to raising a family, having the support of your employer with a positive attitude to work-life balance is invaluable.

4. Profile is incredibly important so be visible at meetings. Network, take advice from your peers in the industry and the business you work in.

5. Be self-aware, focus and embrace what you excel at. Seek to constantly learn and undertake training to continuously improve other skills.

     It’s always worth taking a moment to reflect on where you are in your career – and whether your employer is supporting you to achieve your aspirations.

    Afshan Rasheed is an environmental divisional director at Mouchel.

    If you’d like to take on some ambitious and exciting challenges in 2017 and beyond, we’d like to speak with you in the strictest confidence to understand more about your aspirations. Let’s Talk – register your interest here