6th March 2020 4 minutes read

#IWD2020: Sample widely, gain a breadth of experiences, take detours, and experiment relentlessly. Career advice from Green Park’s female leaders.

To mark International Women’s Day, we asked some of Green Park’s female leadersto explore their inspirations, career highlights and advice for women just starting out.


Andrea Trainer | Partner | Public Sector Search

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Andrea leads Green Park’s Public Sector Search Practice. She is responsible for the development of key client relationships across a range of public sector organisations. Her executive search career spans nearly two decades, during which time she has developed an outstanding track record in the successful delivery of appointments at the most senior levels of government.


What is your advice to young females just beginning their professional career?

Be yourself not what you believe others want/expect you to be. I spent too much of my early career masking who I was. I dressed very formally (mainly trousers suits – didn’t want to appear too feminine!) and I communicated in what I thought was a ‘professional’ manner, but in fact, came across as cold and detached. All of this was done on the assumption that this would make me appear more credible – and it may have – but it certainly didn’t make me more likeable or relatable and it largely prevented me from forming the enduring business relationships I have now.

What motivates/inspires you?

People with passion and purpose. Those whose commitment to their cause is so unwavering that it is infectious. Also people who play a ‘big game’, i.e. those who don’t see limitations only opportunities. Individuals who focus their energy on the art of the possible and see obstacles as mere bumps in the road.

Linda Roberts | Head of Research

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Linda began her career in human resources and spent fifteen years in senior HR roles at Sainsburys and News UK. Linda moved into executive search twelve years ago and has managed and developed research teams as well as conducting research. She has developed an excellent network at C-suite level, ensuring she can tap into the best, diverse talent. Linda has a passion for research and helping clients define their requirements to ensure they are delighted by our work.

What is your advice to young females just beginning their professional career?

To be unapologetic and confident about who you are and what you can bring to the workplace.

What progress, in terms of D&I, would you like to see for females in the workplace ten years from now?

It saddens me that we still don’t truly embrace gender diversity and that ‘to get on’ women frequently still have to look a particular way and conform to male stereotypes. I would like to see women accepted for what they do and deliver, just as men are.

We also need to carry on being more creative around flexibility (which tends to affect more women than men) and truly considering how and when work can be delivered to allow women to contribute.


 Jo Sweetland | Managing Director, Private Sector

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Jo Sweetland is a member of the Board at Green Park and heads up Green Park’s Private Sector Practice. An award-winning consultant with nearly 20 years of executive recruitment experience, she leads a team who focus on the appointment of executive search and interim roles across multiple industries and functional skill sets, including HR, finance, digital and change and transformation roles. Jo is recognised as one of the leading HR recruitment specialists in the UK and internationally.


What is your proudest career achievement?

Having worked in the recruitment industry for the last 20 years in both large, international and smaller sized organisations, I have had a really interesting career to date. One of my proudest career achievements was being promoted to the Board at Green Park last year. It is an extremely exciting opportunity for me to help guide and shape the direction and strategy of the business.

What motivates/inspires you?

My first motivation in life is my two young girls. I am passionate about not only trying my best to provide my girls with the life and opportunities I would like them to have, but also being a role model to them and helping create a more inclusive world so that when they get to a career age, it would be an industry norm for women to be leading from the front.  


Nicola Paul | Director | Diversity & Inclusion Practice

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Nicola is a Director in Green Park’s Diversity & Inclusion Consultancy Practice. She has a background in the retail and legal sectors where she developed and implemented long-lasting and inspiring change in diversity and inclusion.  Prior to this role, she was a senior leader in the John Lewis Partnership having joined them as a graduate. Nicola also spent time in the legal sector working for Eversheds Sutherland LLP as their senior diversity and inclusion leader where she designed their D&I strategy across the employee lifecycle.

What motivates/inspires you?

People have to seek the sweet spot of a job they love, a job they are good at and a job they can make a difference in. This doesn’t mean they have to be senior nor the best paid but they make an impact and have a fulfilling work/life balance.

What is your advice to young females just beginning their professional career?

I’m stealing this from a fantastic book that I’d encourage anyone to read regardless of career or life stage: Range by David Epstein. “Sample widely, gain a breadth of experiences, take detours, and experiment relentlessly.”


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