#IWD2022 Watch Me Bloom: Laura Walters
Laura is the Board Director at The Candidate, the leading Recruitment Agency in the North West, specialising in recruitment across many different sectors including digital marketing, media sales, ecommerce and media agencies.
During her 8 years in recruitment, Laura has been recognised as Recruitment Consultant of the year, spoken at many industry events and is a key figure in her field.
The last 5 years have seen a lot of change, both personally and professionally for Laura, and those changes have transformed and shaped her as an individual.
What have you learnt over your career so far?
I moved into recruitment after 10 years in media sales, media sales was comfortable for me and I have no doubt that I could have climbed the ladder but something always niggled, I needed to feel fulfilled in my career.
I joined The Candidate a recruitment start-up and whilst some people challenged my decision, I knew that it was a move that felt right because of the business, opportunities, culture and team that I met.
Fast forward 8 years and I can say that it was the right decision!
Joining The Candidate, and the media and marketing recruitment sector in general, has led to both my career and confidence blooming. It was the right time for me to move on and I hadn’t realised just how much I needed to feel a part of something new, somewhere where I could make a difference. I needed that change but I felt brave to take the step into the unknown.
What has been the biggest transformation in your personal life?
A few years after joining The Candidate, I became a mother to a wonderful baby girl. Becoming a mother has been the single most incredible thing to happen to me and it was another huge period of change in my life.
Nothing prepares you for parenthood and everyone’s’ journey is different, individually wild and wonderful with many twists and turns.
My daughter was born with a cleft palate and a very small bottom jaw which meant that there was a lot of medical attention needed in that first year, it was frightening and all-consuming. I needed help and support navigating my life as a new mother and also, in time, finding the ‘new balance’ for returning to work.
I had always planned to get back into the office with a staggered week which would increasing as time went on however being a main carer did mean that my timelines had to change as did my plans and expectations.
What have you learnt from being a mum with a career?
I decided heading back to work was something I had to do, not only for myself but also for my daughter. It was an important part of my identity and I was determined not to lose it, in fact I think the best way to put it was that I wanted to build upon it.
When I felt ready (and when family and nursery were able to look after my little girl without me being in the same room), work welcomed me back with open and supportive arms. Not only was I the first working mother within our business but soon after returning to The Candidate, I was promoted to join their Board of Directors.
Alongside planning out my working day, I now had a little person to put first and I was excited to get back to her for bath and story time. My working day changed and my team were incredibly flexible to allow me to work in evenings and change my 9-5 to suit the timings of a full-time working parent.
My family and colleagues were a great support and motivated me through this time but so too were other women who were going through a similar experience both in person and virtually. Clients, candidates, friends in the industry were all so willing to offer their advice and it was greatly received, the importance of community shone through and I have to say I now find myself committed to returning that support and advice when I can. Bloom North helps women in the industry to join forces in many different areas of life and it continues to inspire and motivate me.
The pandemic has also shaken up the working week as most of us knew it and has added change into our daily routine. Getting to grips with the ‘new normal’ is taking many of us by surprise as there are both positives and negatives evolving from this incredibly difficult time. The last few years have forced many businesses and workforces to evolve and we cannot forget that many have seen great change in their personal lives during this time too.
Remember – you’re not alone out there.
What are three pieces of advice you would give yourself 10 years ago?
Embrace change. No business, family, friendship group stays the same, they are all forever evolving. Times will be good, and times will be challenging. Treat all of them as opportunities to transform and take learnings from.
Live to YOUR potential. Set yourself goals and review these regularly. Trust me, you will be so proud of what you have achieved no matter how big or small.
Ask for help when you need it and accept support when you can get it. The people who love and care for you would much rather guide you through difficult times than try and stitch you back together when you are broken.
Life twists and turns and the network of people that I have met through my career have kept me determined to succeed through these periods of change. Seeking support, guidance, advice and friendship has been essential through every period of change in my life – no matter how small or how planned.
Evolving as an individual is a natural progression but sometimes change is not something you seek, you change because you have to.
If you are reading this and thinking that it may be time for a change then please do get in touch with me or my team and we would love to give you some confidential career support and advice.