Amanda Payne on International Women's Day


To celebrate International Women’s Day, we sat down with our Executive Leadership Team to ask what embracing equity means to them.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your role at Futures? 

I’m Amanda Payne and I’m Director of Operations. I’m responsible for all our operational delivery across all of our divisions in East of England and the East Midlands. We’ve got a range of staff delivering careers guidance, employment support and skills. 

Can you give us a quick overview of your career journey so far? 

I’m coming up to my 21st anniversary at Futures! Prior to that I worked in the voluntary sector, working with people with learning disabilities, and then I joined Futures as an adviser. I qualified as a careers adviser through the NVQ pathway and worked my way up through the management tiers. 

How does it feel for you to be a woman in leadership? 

I feel proud, I feel honoured, I feel a strength by working with other women and feeling that we’re trailblazing. We’re trying lots of different things and putting ourselves out there. I feel really valued but also I respect our staff across the workforce so feel really honoured to represent them as a leader. 

What changes do you hope to see in the future for women to continue being successful in leadership positions? 

I’m a parent – my child is nearly seven – and I would love to see that we’re able to do more to be more flexible and agile in the way that we work, to encourage people to continue with their careers despite becoming parents, and that goes for men and women. It’s really important that we think about how we can stop those pauses that often happen, traditionally in women’s working lives, to enable them to continue.  

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time with my grandma, who worked in munitions factories during the war, and when the men came back, the women stopped working. She had a real sadness about that and we talked a lot about working life. 

I feel really proud to be part of a different generation, and I’m always thinking ‘what more can we do?’ for those that come after us. 

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Embracing Equity – what does that mean to you? 

Equity to me is really important. It sits alongside my other core values of integrity and honesty. I’m always championing what feels equitable to people in many different respects, not just around gender. I think it goes back to the piece around parenting and what differences we can make to enable women, who often end up being the primary caregiver, to have those greater flexibilities in work to be able to continue their careers and become great leaders.