TUI has many successful female leaders in a wide range of areas. In our series "Female Leaders@TUI" we feature these colleagues and their inspiring thoughts on the subject of equality in interview form. This time we talked to Ashley Power, Technology Director, Markets, Transformation & Portfolio.
Ashley, what is your current role at TUI
I am Technology Director Markets, Transformation & Portfolio. In this role, I am accountable for technology in our markets, its delivery, continuous operations, performance and cost. I am also responsible for the market implementation of common end to end holiday platforms, driving the IT transformation and a new IT operating model (you may have heard about the domain organisation). And I manage the global technology portfolio of TUI.
Who is your role model as a female leader?
I would say one of the most influential female role models for me is Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. Her book ‘Lean In’ is an absolute must read, one famous quote has always stood out for me: ‘A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes’ There is nothing stopping this being a reality, other than our own belief that we are equal in the workplace and our own ability to balance our work and family commitments.
Each year we ask ourselves the same, important question: Where does our society stand in terms of female leadership?
I am not a feminist, quite the opposite, however I do believe as women, we struggle to ‘believe we are equal’ to our male colleagues, rather than our male colleagues actually believing we are equal to them. The fact that we are made to reproduce, means we are faced with a natural compulsion to nurture, which will physically take us away from the workplace for a period of time. In my experience, this can make us ‘feel’ that we are at a disadvantage. However, this doesn’t mean we have to park our ambitions. I have two children, and took a six month maternity breaks for both. Although I struggled to balance this at the time, after a while, I realized that most of my male colleagues had families themselves and actually, the common language of ‘balance’ was something they all understood and I just needed to get over myself, face into it and make it work for me, my children and my job, because, well, we deserve to have everything.
What is your advice for young female professionals regarding growth in their careers?
One on the strategies I’ve executed for ‘making it work’ is developing strong relationships with not only my direct team, but also my broader colleague set. I invest a lot of time in building a strong network across TUI which allows me to use all of the combined knowledge, skill and activity, to execute what I need, rather than having to do it all myself. This works both ways, I will often roll my sleeves up and get my hands dirty for others where I know I can help, collaboration is everything and I am a firm believer in the power of ‘TEAM’ because it’s true, Together Everyone Achieves More!! Leadership for me, is about Collaboration which in turn build trust and empowerment. Put this together with a Believe in yourself and the right Balance in your life as a combination of family and work and it can be incredibly rewarding.