The final installment of our series of features on some of the amazing women we have in Kentech is our CEO, Sarah Kent. Sarah brings a perfect balance of heart and tenacity to everything she does and her story goes some way to explain that.
"As a female studying and working in a male dominated industry I have been asked on many occasions “What is it like to be a female in such a male dominated environment?” This is a rather interesting question for me as I have nothing to compare it with, I can only share some of my experiences and what I have learned along the journey so far…
At junior school I was told that I had a natural talent for maths and numbers, yet at senior school I was told that I couldn’t do physics and applied maths as these were classed as boy’s subjects and not something that girls did. In my last year in school I was told by my career guidance counsellor that an engineering degree suited my interests and grades, yet as an engineering student I was told by the Dean of Engineering that this wasn’t a place for girls and the majority of us would fail. As a young engineer I was told that I was hired because I had the technical skills, was determined and had a positive approach, yet as a sales engineer I was told that I wouldn’t be successful unless I acted like a man. When I took on the business development role at Kentech I was told that it wasn’t a job for a woman, however I was also told that I was able to build strong relationships with our clients and certain clients preferred to see me rather than my male colleagues. When I became a mother I was told that I wouldn’t be able to do my job as CEO given the amount of travel that my role demands, and I thankfully had many members of the team kindly offer assistance to help make it a success.
I have been told a lot of things, by both men and women that I can and can’t do. I believe that most of the people who have shared these opinions and advice with me over the years have meant it in a very genuine way, sharing from their own experiences and perspectives. However, I have learned that I, like each and every one of us, am on my own individual journey in life. No two lives are the same, nor should they be.
Have these and all of the other thousands of experiences shaped me to the person that I am today? Definitely. So, what’s it like? I love the challenge and the expanse of culture and people in the industry. I love working with people and the nomadic nature of the work, but yet it feels like a community. I love the fact that I get to be part of something that aims to positively impact thousands of lives. Yes, there are challenges, good days and bad days, the travel and time away from home can be hard.
So, for me, it is as simple as this. I do what I do because I am me, a woman, a wife, a sister, a CEO, an aunt, a mother, a daughter, a colleague, a friend and a human being that is striving to grow, learn and use all her skills to be fulfilled, make a difference and enjoy her life.
I think that there is so much focus in the world today on all the things we can and can’t do in life and the differences between people when really we should all be embracing these wonderful distinctions and wide-ranging experiences so as to gain wider perspectives, ideas and solutions.
I am looking forward to us all celebrating International Men’s day on the 19th of November!"