International Women's Day - Angela Hibbard, Chief Financial Officer

9 Mar 2021

For International Women’s Day we are spending this week celebrating the brilliant and inspirational women who work for the trust. We’ve picked five women as a snapshot of the thousands of amazing women who work with us across Devon.

Today we’re meeting Angela Hibbard, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the RD&E and NDHT.

As CFO she provides strategic financial leadership for the organisation, supporting clinical and operational colleagues to make best use of financial resources.

She has worked her way up the ranks of the NHS after starting in 2003 as a band 5 Management Accountant at Torbay Hospital.

 

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as woman?

The biggest challenge has been juggling responsibilities once I started a family. I had my daughter when I was 35 and I tried working four days a week but the role didn’t really adjust so I had to choose between going more part time or going full time. I think we need to do more to help people get the work/life balance they need without damaging their career prospects. It gets even harder when children reach school age and therefore flexible working policies need to support the difficulties of managing childcare. Ultimately, this applies to all working parents, both men and women.

What is it like as a woman in a very male dominated field?

You do feel sometimes that as a woman you have to tread carefully, but over the 20 years of my career I’ve seen it change for the better and certainly with the senior team I work with now I don’t have any worries at all. Over the years there have been a few moments when, because finance is a very male environment, you do get inappropriate comments meant as banter that as a female you might not feel comfortable with. It’s things that you know they wouldn’t say to a male counterpart, it’s really important to call it out.

What qualities do you think are important for women to achieve their potential?

I’ve definitely noticed a difference between the way men and women show confidence in themselves. When looking at a job specification for example most men seem to find the self confidence to focus on the things that they can do rather than focussing on the things that they can’t do. I think for women to be successful and meet their potential they need that kind of self-confidence, it makes a real difference.

Who are the women that have inspired you?

The first time I felt really inspired was at a conference and hearing a female CFO from a major London hospital talking with real passion, commitment and drive. I saw in her qualities that I had and that was a really important moment for me. There are times in my career when I’ve felt very vulnerable and found it difficult to make the right choices and seeing how somebody else has managed those challenges really helps.

What would you like other women to take from your example?

I would like to be evidence that it’s possible for a woman to do a difficult job, to take on responsibilities and to do so in a reasonable working week. I don’t think we should promote a working culture that expects people to be at their computers long into the evening. There are always exceptions of course but it should never be the rule. I also want people to not feel guilty for taking half a day for sports day or to finish early for parents evening. These are important in your children’s life and this is where flexible working should help support where possible.

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