To mark International Women’s day, Rhian Parry, MD, spoke about her passion for helping drive diversity and opportunities for women in the workplace and wider community.

As we celebrate international women’s day, what does Diversity in business mean for you? 

I am passionate about helping to drive diversity in business and the energy sector. As a woman working in STEM and the renewables sector, I see first hand the exciting opportunities for women. It’s really important to say this sector has been embracing this stance for years, as they know the value of a diverse workforce. The challenge is it’s a really difficult job trying to debunk the myths of working in the sector, there has been a lot of work done to encourage women into the sector as it is vital that the sector draws on all talents to deliver a secure, affordable and sustainable future for all of us.

What were opportunities like for you as a young woman?

I grew up in a traditional Welsh Farming community. In many ways I was expected to follow a traditional route in life and work. My family were and have always been supportive of all the decisions that I made in life and business. 

The main challenge I faced have been around starting and building a business in what was then a traditionally male dominated engineering, manufacturing and the supply sector there are not many women in this profession at this owner level. 

The good news is times are changing. 

International Women’s Day 2021 is an opportunity for us to celebrate the successes women have achieved in the workplace. It’s great that we can take a day to celebrate the valuable contribution that women play in business and wider society. 

The COVID crisis has placed an enormous strain on everyone; there have been some reports that women have faced the most significant impact due to childcare and combining them with work challenges. As businesswomen, I must use my position to help drive diversity in business and offer people the right opportunities suited to them. 

How have you supported your team during these difficult and challenging times.  

The past year has been a real roller coaster of a time. As a PPE Supplier we were working with the teams around the UK to help try and get products to where they were needed. It’s been really challenging, with the number of fakes around, the spiralling costs on products, and at times the sad fact of there was definitely not enough to go around for everyone. My only focus has been to make sure that our fantastic team keep their jobs and that their wellbeing was looked after. This has been my number one priority. It always has been. 

We have several working parents, making sure that they can find the right work/life balance to support their children through home-schooling has been and continues to be a priority. 

Moving onto 2021. I am excited about the opportunities, and we have several projects in the pipeline that will hopefully help create jobs and opportunities for our communities.  

My advice to women want to start a business.

You have to be able to take the knocks. You have to be able to be knocked down and then get back.

Be brave, passionate, and bold. If you are not – who will be ?