International Women’s Day: Why female leadership is important to the Serocor Group

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[Pictured above, left to right: Claire Proudlove, Heather Cracknell, Gemma Langley, Anna Saunders, Jenna Coles and Sarah Howard]

Since today is International Women’s Day, we figured we’d use this day to reflect on, and celebrate the impact female leadership makes to our business. Whilst we could tell you ourselves just why and how female leadership is so important to the Serocor Group, here are a handful of our most inspiring female leaders who can tell you themselves.


Heather Cracknell - Director of People Development

I often look back on my career with pride, excitement and frustration, but overall I have enjoyed my journey (so far). Having grown up on a council estate with divorced parents I knew then that I wanted to prove to myself that I could do better and change my life. Whilst I never did that well at school and I got married at 20,  then went onto have two children. I never let that stop me. For example when my children were young I pushed myself through adult education.

I have always worked in male-dominated environments which, inevitably meant I had some challenges, but I also like to think it has made me the person I am today.  I always made sure that I didn’t acquiesce just to fit in with the environment where I was working.

It’s really important in your career to learn from other people, both the positive and negative elements. Learning and being inspired by others  will help you to ensure you push yourself outside of your comfort zone to learn and develop yourself. As I have progressed through my career I have taken great pride in supporting other women in their career. I have supported other women with guidance and various networking groups. I truly enjoy watching others grow and flourish into successful people.  One of the biggest pieces of advice I could give to women reading this, is that it’s really important to be true to yourself.

In March 2018 I was promoted to People Development Director, I was incredibly proud of all I have achieved.  I have a great team around me and lots of support from within the business. It certainly makes coming to work a great day.


Claire Proudlove - Director of Project & Performance Services

I have worked for Optamor, part of the Serocor Group for almost ten years now and within the talent market itself for over 20 years. What has been encouraging, particularly in organisations like Optamor and our sister companies with the Serocor Group, is that the balance of personnel and the roles that they hold in the talent sector has evolved. We are seeing not only more women in senior roles, but generally an increase in women in what other than L&D has generally been a male-dominated industry.

I am proud to work for an organisation that supports and encourages diversity, provides HR working practices that give women (and men) in our organisation flexibility to flourish at work, and an approach that recognises talent and ability in its employees overall. Our forward-thinking policies mean that we can attract and retain talent irrespective of gender.


Gemma Langley - Head of Manufacturing & Engineering

I started as a trainee in March 2008, not knowing the possibilities ahead of me. I’m thankful to the many people who helped me, mentored me, pushed me and inspired me along the way. As a result here I am today, managing my own division in ARM; one that I started from scratch in 2015.

As a woman in business, you sometimes feel men have more power because they tend to be more direct, extremely confident, strategic in their approach and will fight for what they believe in. Women can occasionally have moments of self-doubt, struggling to decide how you can deliver your thoughts in a way that is both punchy and tangible to provide another way of thinking and reasoning. It’s true that men and women do think differently, but it’s how we work together in harmony to achieve results which then accomplishes success.

Here at ARM, individuals - not women or men, but individuals - are asked for their opinion; encouraged to speak up for what they believe in, provide ideas and be a voice for the company. I’ve learned a lot from and about this company, having been on a journey with ARM for the last decade. I’ve absorbed the changes, listened and watched how situations, ideas or people progress, or not. I’ve learned what success looks like and the most exciting challenge is, learning how to become successful yourself.

Zoe Howgill - Director of Client Relationships

Sometimes I have to pause and think about what I have achieved in my professional career. I’m very proud to be a female Director for Optamor and have a little inward smile each time I introduce myself – if only my school teachers could see me now!

I was the disruptive individual who liked school for all the wrong reasons and never took my academic studies seriously, having later found out in life that I wasn’t actually stupid just dyslexic. This doesn’t just mean that you can’t spell, other symptoms include having a low attention span because your brain works too fast, what a skill hey!?

Being true to myself, my values and beliefs, hard work, determination and treating people with empathy are what allows me to hopefully inspire my team. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and I love being at the forefront of Optamor, empowering my teams, driving our business forward and delivering great service to our customers. I get a real buzz when our team members deliver a great piece of business and share that success! That is what keeps me motivated.


Sarah Howard - Head of Marketing

It motivates me that I am in a position where I can impact change. I’m interested in the future of work, including AI, automation and bringing the human element back into talent attraction. This role challenges me, gives me freedom and allows me to focus on my passions. I hope I can inspire fresh talent to see that recruitment is integral to changing the way we work and that empathy, influence and leadership are the core skills needed.  


Jenna Coles - Head of Maritime

Although I’ve been with ARM for a relatively short period of time, I have been warmly welcomed by the leadership team.

I have a vast background in leading and growing recruitment teams, and so the board have shown an active interest in my ideas and are open-minded when it comes to strategies for the future.  ARM strives to be at the forefront of market innovation, employee engagement, empowerment and continuous improvement for our wide client portfolio.

For me, growing a successful team is about identifying and playing to the strengths of highly motivated and talented people that share the same goals, regardless of gender. At ARM, we are on an exciting journey that I am proud to be a part of.


Anna Saunders - Finance Manager

Soon after finishing school I decided that I wanted to work and earn money, therefore university wasn’t an option for me. However, knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in finance, I would have to develop my knowledge with further education.  Working full time with distance learning has been tough, especially as I come to the end of my CIMA qualification. I can’t help but feel proud that I have managed to still build on my career and pass all those exams. It comes down to sheer determination, commitment and discipline.

I have been with Serocor for almost two years, and within that time, my role and responsibilities have developed significantly. I’ve been cheered to develop my own methods and processes and feel that my opinion really does matter. I recently was promoted to Finance Manager, which I feel shows that the company is encouraging my career development as well as supporting my studying.

Feeling inspired?

We hope that the female leaders above have given you a taster of just why their leadership is so important to the Serocor Group, each and every one of our talented workforce are important to our business success.

If you’d like to find out about how you can join the Serocor Group please contact Nadia Croset, Internal Recruiter for the Serocor Group.