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Women in Leadership Spotlight

Articles 07 March 2022
International Womens Day

To mark International Women’s Day, Seetec Ireland’s most senior female director, Georgina Murphy, takes us through her career journey. Georgina, who has worked in the employability and training sector for the past seventeen years, began this career path in the UK. On March 20th, she will celebrate five years as our Operations Director.

An operations director plays a critical role in the operation of a company. They direct all operational aspects of the company’s strategy, assisting in the development of strategic goals, and ensuring the flow of operational data to the CEO and the board of directors.

Starting out as an HR administrator in Birmingham, Georgina describes how she accidentally applied for a more operational role and ended up getting the job.

Georgina’s Career Journey

“I was working in the HR side of the business and didn’t know much about the operations side. The organisation was interviewing for operational administrational roles and all the candidates were failing the assessment. They asked me to take this assessment as a benchmarking exercise.”

Georgina scored higher on the assessment than some people who were already doing the job scored.

“Then they called me into the office and started asking me interview questions for a job I didn’t actually apply for. It seemed like too good a career opportunity to pass up!”

Although Georgina’s career began this way, she describes her progression as a mix of strategy and serendipity. During her time in Birmingham, she quickly moved from operational roles to managerial roles in sectors related to employability. Georgina then moved to Liverpool and gained more experience in training, apprenticeships, business development and commercial management. This begs the question: how did she navigate and achieve this progression?

“I’ve always kept my eye out for any opportunities to learn although I have been very fortunate and worked in good teams. Not all progression routes are direct, sometimes you take a sidestep to broaden your knowledge base and progress. I’ve always had a five-year plan but if a good opportunity comes up, I will go for it. Liverpool was in some ways a sidestep but I learned more about the commercial sides of the employability sector.

“My attitude has always been that I need to know how it all works so I get involved in lots of different things as well as the core job, I will try my hand at anything.

“But that comes down to the people you work for. I’ve been lucky enough to work for organisations and people where I can ask for information and the opportunity to learn.”

After a fruitful career in the UK, Georgina decided to return to Ireland when she was offered the role of Operations Director in Seetec in 2017.

“From working in the employability services sector in the UK, I knew Seetec had a good reputation and were known as a good organisation to work for. Now I can see why.”

Seetec’s Gender Balance

Georgina went on to say: “My time at Seetec has been interesting, challenging and positive throughout the last five years. The pandemic was certainly a challenge. I’ve been doing broadly the same role with sometimes different focuses throughout that time but I’m still constantly learning.”

It would be remiss on International Women’s Day not to ask Georgina about the role of women working in Seetec.

“There are strong women and strong men at every level of this business. Gender inequality has never been evident to me in Seetec in my five years here. It’s very balanced across top senior roles and at all levels.

“Across the Seetec Group, there are women in higher leadership positions than me that I can still look up to and not only admire but learn from. They are always open with their time and it’s good for anyone to have role models.

“I enjoy getting to engage with colleagues working in similar roles in other divisions in the group. Being part of a broader organisation means plenty of learning. While we run different businesses and different contracts in different countries, the principle in what we’re doing remains the same. Playing our part in delivering jobs- and skills-led recoveries across the UK and Ireland, whilst helping people to realise their life ambitions.”