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In Celebration of The Women in our Workforce: Cassie Heard

In Celebration of The Women in our Workforce: Cassie Heard

In Celebration of The Women in our Workforce: Cassie Heard

In celebration of the women in our workforce, this international women’s day we have spoken to colleagues across the business to highlight the importance of investing in our female colleagues, inspiring inclusion, and how empowering female careers can have a lasting impact in our workplace.

We launched straight into a discussion with Cassie Heard, our Assistant Data Analyst, highlighting the significance of these two facts:

  • In 1975, women could finally open a bank account in their own name and apply for a mortgage without facing discrimination.
  • 27% of senior leadership in the property sector are female (Real Estate Balance Research).

I am not surprised at a figure of 27% (…), it’s probably my estimate.

Personally, I find being in a data orientated role is also a heavily male dominated area. Although within Touchstone, we do have a lot of female Associate Directors, which is our next step down from the Executives and it goes hand in hand with the age of our company.

It is shocking that only in 1975 women could apply for a mortgage, especially as I am picking up my keys for my new flat next Thursday. This will be my first mortgage without my ex-partner, so able to do that is important to me.

Tell me a little about yourself and your career.

I joined Touchstone in February 2018. I started off in accounts, having just moved to bath, and I needed a job—a first proper job office job which I could get my teeth into and lay down roots.

In seven months, I moved from a temporary contract to a permanent contract with a promotion, and then I moved to the reporting team. I had my baby in September 2020 and had to take a year out, and within a month or two of returning I was offered a promotion to senior reporter. In June last year, I made the very bold move to leave accounts behind and move to data, so my new role is junior data analyst.

Why do you enjoy working for Touchstone?

Touchstone has been like my family. I have so much love for people at the company. My family live at least an hour and a half away and I don’t have any friends outside of work due to my personal circumstances, so friends made here have been a support in my time of need. I don’t know how I would have coped if it wasn’t for everyone I work with.

There is such camaraderie between colleagues and there aren’t the huge barriers between me or someone in a higher position, for example. I have never encountered someone in a higher position being any less easy to talk to. Whether they are a director or not, I will have a conversation with them, and everyone is so receptive to that.

How has Touchstone supported you as a woman of our workforce?

The most relevant support for me was going on maternity, as I had an unexpected pregnancy. My manager at the time was incredible and understanding when I had complications or appointments. This was before flexible working was more widely accepted. I came back from maternity and had a different manager, but both were equally supportive and both male!

In a typically male dominated industry, would you recommend Touchstone as an inclusive employer?

Walking through the door, you will see so many different faces. And yes, we may work in a typically male dominated industry, although you wouldn’t know that if you walked into our office.

I personally don’t know of anyone who has mentioned any sort of prejudice to me because of their age, their gender, their sexuality, or their race. The one caveat, one that we are working towards disseminating, is mental health.

My role in encouraging inclusion is that I am part of the parents and carers community and I put my perspective in as a parent. I look for ways that I can help, put my opinion forward, or try to express opinions that belong to another colleague. I will never shy away from sticking up for somebody else on their behalf.

What does international women’s day mean to you?

For me, this day is about showing how far society has come, and to advocate for some of the issues that women face. Whether those are stereotypical issues from centuries ago or physical or mental, I think a lot of things are changing.

Gone are the days where a woman is expected to stay at home and care for the kids whilst the man goes out and works, and most families can’t afford that luxury!

I’ve got a constantly ticking body clock and a ticking career clock, and at some point, one of them will have to make way for the other. Luckily, I have been able to start a new career after the birth of Harvey, and I’m a workaholic—try and keep me away from work!

International women’s day is about empowerment, and to ‘’look at what I’m capable of’’!

Tell me about a woman who inspires you.

It must be my mum; she was a teen mum, and my biological dad was not on the scene. She raised me single-handedly until she met my dad. She is the kindest person, and she has been through so much in her life; she gives me strength to know that if she could do it, so can I.

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