Late last year, Sally Hart, Operations Director at George F. White, was announced as the firms first female equity partner; breaking the mould in a typically male orientated industry.
Sally was originally appointed as Head of Communications in 2014. Six months into her, she was invited to join the Board following the way she had transformed the communications of the business, with teams working better together internally and the firm maintaining a prominent and consistent external profile. In what was largely a natural progression for Sally, she became Operations Director in January 2017, a position she’s now held for over two years. Sally’s first move as Operations Director was to conduct a full business review, since then, she has restructured the business in a way that has created a positive difference to its people; improving their confidence, career opportunities and rewards, which has led to the pinnacle of her career – an invitation from the Group to become equity partner in recognition of the role she plays within the business.
Speaking about Sally’s success, Managing Partner Robyn Peat, said: “The amount Sally has achieved in such a short space of time is phenomenal. In her first 18 months as Operations Director, she introduced key initiatives, from improving employee well being, strengthening client care and streamlining how the business is managed internally; that has transformed how we operate, creating a stronger, more successful business model which puts people at the centre of what we do to enable consistent growth and development. As a young female director, Highly Commended at the recent Institute of Director Awards and North East Business Woman of the Year Awards, now Equity Partner, Sally also started a family during such a crucial time in her career, she breaks the tradition in the sector and represents a positive and powerful role model, not only to women in our industry, but women in business across the Northern region. Sally doesn’t just look after the business side of things, but the people who make the business a success too – and that’s a rare talent.”
When asked about her experience of being a woman in business within the North East, Sally said: “I personally have never felt that I have been disadvantaged in business for being a woman, however, I have experienced perceptions towards me, whether that be age or gender,” she continued, “The biggest perception, for me, is that as soon as you start a family, your career is over – this is simply not true. I started my own family within my first year as Operations Director and have since been invited to become an equity partner. I truly believe that you define your own success; if you have a strong skill set and ambition then it is all about finding the opportunity or business that will support your development and growth. We should be very proud of the support network that exists for both business women and men in the region; it is right that we actively encourage and champion one another.”
Sally believes that people are at the heart of everything, therefore is concentrating on engaging with young talent, ensuring that George F. White develop the next generation of their team, both male and female, to be the best they can be.
Speaking about diversifying the industry, Sally said: “I hope to help inspire other women in business, demonstrating to them that there is opportunity to excel in whatever industry you work within. The business landscape is forever changing, becoming increasingly competitive and chaotic both at the same time. I truly believe that this presents a great opportunity to push forward the mutual business desire, cross-sector, to create level playing field and equality for all to succeed.”