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TGt Meets... Gemma Featonby - IWD Special
We spoke to Gemma Featonby, Partner and Practice Area Leader for Property Litigation at Thrings, as part of our interviews with inspirational women to commemorate International Women's Day.
Name: Gemma Featonby
Location: Swindon (and the South West)
Occupation / Positions: Partner and practice area leader for Property Litigation at Thrings.
Which woman would you compare yourself to?
I try not to compare myself to anyone. There are people that I look up to and take inspiration from, but I mostly focus on trying to be the best version of myself - as a person, a lawyer and a leader.
What would you say is your most valuable skill and why?
My determination. I believe with it you can achieve whatever you want to achieve, no matter how impossible it might initially seem. It is also important to support and encourage others, even in simple ways like giving compliments and praise without hesitation or agenda.
Why do you think it's important to have an International Women's Day?
I must admit, I have previously questioned the importance of International Women's Day, being of the opinion that in order to ensure we are equal, we should not draw attention to our differences. Wary of board quotas, I instead prefer to see the best person for the job get the job regardless of sex, age, race or other. Having said that, an article recently turned my views on this around. It pointed to the fact that, hopefully, one day, we will not need IWD - but for now - it is important for those women worldwide that are still suffering injustice and prejudice and need IWD as a beacon of hope. That one day we won’t need to highlight our differences because equality will be a given.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Discipline. I try to ensure I put aside time during the week for exercise and I make sure that I compartmentalise the different aspects of my life. When I am at home I am focused on my kids and family and when I am at work I am focused on my clients, team and career.
Have you ever had to give up or miss out on anything in order to pursue your career?
I might have had to change plans or miss netball every now and again, for example, if I have a demanding case or deadline - but nothing significant. If anything, I feel like I have had more opportunities because of my career.
Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to fellow females looking to get into your profession?
Go for it. There is nothing that you cannot achieve if you put your mind to it and work hard.
If you could have dinner with 5 inspirational women dead or alive, who would they be?
Amelia Earhart, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Coco Chanel, Marie Curie.
As a successful female, where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Leading a successful and motivated team and helping to develop junior lawyers into the leaders of our future.