Continuing our IWD blog post series, meet senior associate to the Banking & Finance team, Heledd Jones:
1. Why did you want to pursue a career in law?
My cousin and his friend were killed by a drunk driver and even though I was very young, I was appalled at the lenient sentence passed down on the driver and how there wasn’t much “justice” in the criminal justice system. I think criminal law is an in road for, and resonates with, many young people looking to get into law as it’s the area of law we see most in the media. During the LPC and training contract, I got to experience a wider range of legal areas, ultimately choosing to pursue banking and finance roles. The practical side of law has always been more interesting to me than the academic side, working out how the law effects a client’s business and having a solution based approach to legal issues.
2. Which women have influenced you and why (this can be someone famous through to a family member)?
My grandmother – stoic and hard working, no formal education but the most intelligent person I know.
3. What is the most memorable moment in your career so far?
Being named as a key lawyer in the Legal 500, together with Lorna and Luke, as part of the Banking and Finance team at TS for the last two years.
4. If you could meet anyone who would it be and why?
I think Jacinda Ardern would be an interesting woman to meet. As a woman in politics, she has had a demanding career which she had to balance with family life (which at times she admitted openly was very difficult and which many, if not every, working mother struggles with). She has a human and relatable side which many world leaders are devoid of, and she understood the responsibility to step away from her career when she recognised she may no longer be right for the role (a tip many politicians should take!). I’d like to know how she overcame the misogyny she experienced in her role and her views on being a “kind, but strong, empathetic but decisive” and “optimistic but focused” person.
5. On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women starting out in their careers?
Particularly women working in a male dominated field, to know your worth and to speak up for what you believe in especially regarding unequal opportunities in the workplace. On average, women effectively work for free for the last 6 weeks of the year as a result of the gender pay gap. Businesses need to do more to address the gender pay gap and I think all companies (regardless of employee size) should provide data evidencing their own gender pay gap. Women are often ear marked as militant or vociferous if they stand up for what they know is right in the workplace, where men would be called a future leader – we all have to work harder to ensure that women (and particularly women of colour) are presented with the same opportunities (financially or otherwise) as our male counterparts.