As part of International Women's Day, we spoke to Savita Meghani, senior finance manager at Whipps Cross, about her career in a male dominated industry, what drives her to make a difference and what future equality looks like to her.
"I started my career in the NHS as a finance graduate trainee with Guys & St Thomas NHS Trust. I began working for Barts Health around six years ago working on the Barts Heart Centre business case in corporate and clinical support services. I have been at Whipps Cross Hospital for three years and now work as a senior finance manager. Finance has always been where my strengths and skills lie.
"One of my proudest achievements is that I have implemented an academy of training for finance staff. This was because I wanted to enable everyone who wants to work in finance to have the opportunity to progress from roles outside of financial management. From experience I know that people can get stuck in these kinds of roles within finance if they aren’t given the right opportunity and I wanted us to lead the way in developing graduates as this can encourage them to begin a career in the NHS. As such, Whipps Cross Hospital is the first to introduce a finance apprentice scheme. There is a lot of talent out there and I am proud to say that we can now tap into it.
"What drives me to make a difference is my passion for giving people a chance. Sometimes people can feel like they can’t achieve what they want to achieve but they can if they are given the right opportunities and mentoring. It is increasingly harder to get graduates through the door in the NHS, but with schemes like this in place for development opportunities, I hope that this can change and generate a pipeline of talent for succession planning. I take time to provide guidance and teaching to promote trust and a safe place to learn. I use this approach fairly across different generations within the team and equally across all genders and ethnicities.
"I would like to see equal opportunities for all over the next decade. Women are just as strong and able as men to make decisions and to lead in finance roles. We bring to the table different ways of thinking which is invaluable. Different experiences and backgrounds bring different ideas and this can only be a positive thing.
"As a whole, the finance industry can be seen as male dominated, but I want to encourage women who want to pursue a career in finance do it. You are just as good as anyone else."