Women of Delta: Jennie’s story

Business Unit Director, Jennie Betts is one of the most senior leaders at Delta working closely with the board. Jennie is passionate about people and believes that issues of inequality should be at the top of any organisation’s agenda – it’s certainly at the top of Delta’s.  Here is her take, in her own words

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate IWD? 

For me, it’s for two reasons: 1) to raise awareness about women’s equality. If we don’t properly understand what obstacles impact women’s progression in the workplace, how can we effect change? And 2) to acknowledge progress that has been made.

Is there anyone who influenced or inspired your career path? How? 

Yes, my mum!  Whilst she had a number of paid roles, her greatest achievement has been in voluntary work – specifically, providing Alzheimer’s carer support. Along with another lady, they founded and ran a number of carer support groups. They raised money, but mainly awareness. My mum continued this work with other volunteers, leading her to be awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in 2011 for the services she delivered. She also spent several years providing care and bereavement counselling for people suffering with grief. Neither of these roles were easy – they highlighted the importance of making time to listen and offer support – you don’t always know what someone is going through. I’m so proud of the positive impact that she has had on people’s lives.

What’s your experience been like since joining Delta back in 2019?

Incredibly varied! I’m a highly organised person but I never know what that day might throw at me, and so it’s taught me to be agile and open to change.

What has been your proudest moment? 

I’d love to say [my proudest moment] was winning an award, securing a new win or contract retention – all of which are hugely satisfying. I’m proud to be a role model to other women in print, who want to progress their career but are unsure how to navigate a challenging environment or obstacles that may face them. I hope, through leadership and mentoring, they have felt inspired to develop their own path, which has led to an elevated position (and/or profile) within their workplace, should they want it.

How can we encourage more women to pursue senior leadership roles in print? 

Research has shown that companies with diversity (and specifically women) in leadership positions, see higher profits, so finding ways to promote the advancement of female leaders should be high on the agenda for businesses that want to succeed.

The key is – companies need to understand the value (and perspective) of your female leaders.

If a company is serious about wanting more women in leadership roles, they need to create an environment in which they can thrive. There are things that both companies and its management team can do to encourage the development of female leaders:

  1. Build a talent pipeline and offer development / training plans to facilitate growth into leadership roles.
  2. Consider the organisational culture; if masculine culture exist, companies should create initiatives and opportunities that will elevate a woman’s role (and credibility) within the business.
  3. Develop a path for their growth and support those women in acquiring skills along the way – instead of only when they think they 100% meet the requirements of a leadership role. I recognise that not all women will want this but it’s important to ensure that the access is there.

Studies also show that female leaders have a greater impact on employee engagement and satisfaction. Compared to men in similar positions, female leaders are more likely to promote employee wellbeing – checking in on their team, helping them to manage workloads and providing support to those navigating work-life challenges.

What would you say to the next generation of women planning their career?

Everyone’s career path (and pace) is different. My advice is: take every opportunity to gain qualifications and skills. Work hard and aim high!  Believe in yourself and don’t allow others to deter you from progressing. There will be difficult days, when some challenges feel overwhelming. When that happens, dig deep and remember what you have already achieved – you’re stronger than you know!  You will figure out how to overcome those obstacles in your way and your hard work will not go unnoticed. So keep on striving!