Amanda Fisher – My Story
It’s probably not been quite a traditional one that you’d expect. I graduated from Surrey University in Hotel and Catering Management and then I joined the army. And after completing my Officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, I went seven years, served as an army officer in the army catering core. So my background, actually I’m a caterer. I then went into facilities management at quite an early age once I left the army. And then took a little bit of time out doing something quite different. I actually went into recruitment in healthcare. So it was recruiting doctors, nurses, care assistants. But then I decided I want to come back into facilities management. So I did that. And then I’ve had three posts, all have been as MD’s. And then obviously quite recently in August joined Amey as the MD for the FM DJ business. You know I’ve never really been gender focused. In the army catering core when I joined I was actually one of four women out of 180 male officers. So for me it’s all about capability. And you know, Amey is very positive about gender diversity and increasing the gene pool. And they’ve created a culture to thrive and hopefully you know I can help take that forward and it’s something I’m actually very passionate about is helping to bring other people through and other women in particular. Well it’s an exciting time to be part of Amey now. I mean not only is my business unit a new business unit where we’ve got three businesses coming together, in terms of the actual marketplace it’s very liquid and it’s actually quite dynamic. So in terms of the opportunities that are open to us, it means that I can now have a wider portfolio of services, be able to develop the capability, and probably more importantly actually look at the market and where we want to be and how we position Amey in facilities, defence and in justice going forward. The army provided me with leadership skills. It’s about self-awareness and the ability to get things done. And I think for me I’ve carried forward the serve to lead principle for the whole of my working life. I focus on outcomes and for me it’s very much about delivery. Interestingly in my first appointment was leading junior soldiers and I had in my command 60 young men. And in managing them I learned that communication was the key to be an effective leader. Keeping it straightforward and using language that they could understand. But also probably more importantly about being decisive. As you go up in seniority there’s a tendency to over complicate things the more experienced you become. But actually direction comes from clarity. To do that you have to understand where you’re heading. Be the best at what you do and measure your success against your own goals. Don’t always look to seek approval from others. I’d say be proactive in seeking credit for your own performance and recognise what you can do. And women in particular can be reticent about this. I’d say be clear on what you want to do in five years time. Have a plan but also be flexible. Because you need to be able to recognise the opportunities when they present themselves. And that you can then grasp those and take them forward. And when opportunities do come be decisive. Rather than expecting them to be given to you, just grasp them. You don’t have to emulate men in the workplace. Be individual, play to your strengths. Acknowledge what’s unique about you. You don’t have to conform and actually being different is actually what you need to be bringing to business.That’s what we’re looking for. Believe in yourself. Because that leads to confidence. Don’t let the under-representation of women stop you from taking your place at the table. I think believing in yourself will probably set you in good stead for the rest of your working career.