International Women's Day: Meet Jilly

Jilly works in the University’s Student Centre as our Head of Admissions. She is also a Coach and Mentor, supporting staff in their own professional development right across the University.

How did you come to work at the University of Hertfordshire? 

I was looking for a new challenge and the change from the commercial world to that of higher education was certainly that! I have now been here for 12 years!

What is your greatest achievement? This can be personal or related to your professional career. 

Studying and qualifying as a Chartered Certified Accountant whilst working at the same time. It was an enormous amount of hard work, and I sacrificed a lot of personal time. I still keep my knowledge up to date through continued professional development, even though I changed career direction two years ago and moved into the Student Centre as Head of Admissions, Student Records and Enrolment. This change was also a professional achievement, transferring my skills to a very different area of the University.

Has there been anyone who has been a significant support in this achievement? For example, you could not have achieved what you did without them. This can be a male or female. 

My husband. He had to put up with me, with my head constantly in my study books, not joining him out at the weekend, and I still don’t cook very much.

Are there any women in your life who have been a role model? If yes who and why? This could be a member of your family, a friend or colleague or someone in the public eye.

My Mum. She didn’t stay on at school or go to Uni at the “normal” time. She stayed at home and waited until she had brought my sister and myself up to be strong independent women.  She then succeeded in a number of senior management roles at large companies, which she worked herself up to whilst completing her Degree in Human Resource Management. Years later she started studying again here at UH doing her Masters. She is now a visiting lecturer supporting students with their dissertations. She has shown you can do anything if you work hard and put your mind to it.

What made you want to become a coach and mentor? 

The reason was two-fold. Personally, I felt it would help me as a manager to support my team better. I also wanted to help others find their way through times when they were unsure about their future. I always thought I was a good listener, but I am even more so now and you cannot underestimate the importance of listening.

The conversations I have with my coaches show how important it is to have someone support you and answer your questions in a confidential supportive space. People need a coach for all different things, and at different times of their life or career. As a coach and mentor, we can help people find a way through a number of things. Sometimes it only takes a coffee and a chat to help people see different options or ways of thinking that could help.


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