Where It All Started, Caroline’s Journey…

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They asked in the office if I would write a piece on my career for International Women’s Day and as usual my first reaction was, what career? I have had some fantastic roles and worked for some amazing organisations, but I can’t say it was planned, maybe right place right time. However, on reflection I think that I was being harsh on myself, as that being in the right place, has come from hard work and at times lots of knock backs. As I watch my wonderful 5 year old granddaughter with all of her life ahead of her, I hear people saying all around me that life is harder these days for kids, but I question is it really, or just different challenges?

I have been reflecting a lot lately especially watching my granddaughter as she takes on the day to day challenges of school life, learning her spellings, and now her times tables, life is a journey which continually throws in challenges, how we deal with these on a day to day basis is what really matters, even today as MD at Caja Ltd. – every day is a learning day!

I don’t think I have ever done what was expected of me – from my first careers meeting at school when I was 16, in answer to the question from the headmistress in my careers session, as to what I wanted to do when I left school. She responded sarcastically to my dream to ‘Go to Africa and do good things for people’  with a, could you come back when you had thought of something more sensible? (Follow the rules and stay in the box), however, following what everyone else does, is perhaps not something I am good at. At ‘A’ level time, there were many more interesting things than revising and of course I didn’t get the grades I needed to go to University, I chose not to resit and hence the path was set to where I am now. What I know now is that something like that is not a failure, just a juncture in life, there is never a wrong decision just a decision.

From many years in financial services to KPMG, Accenture, TATA Consulting and now as MD at Caja Ltd. I have been privileged to work around the world, with many interesting and much cleverer people than me. I have learnt a lot and I know that Caja Ltd. is only as good as the diverse and great resources who work alongside me, I know that I have been right to believe in ‘my way’ and not always follow others. I have also learnt that each one of us is valued and whatever contribution we make, it is always valued.

So on International Women’s Day my message to my granddaughter and all 5 year olds out there is, follow your dreams, believe in yourself, work hard, be brave and remember no decision is a wrong decision.