#IWD2023 Q&A with Director of Finance and Corporate Services,… | NSCG
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7th March 2023

Today we're celebrating International Women's Day, so we spoke to some of the inspirational women who work and study at NSCG to find out what the day means to them.

Director of Finance and Corporate Services and the newest member of NSCG’s Senior Management Team, Debbie Torjussen, encourages women to not limit themselves and to be unafraid to step out of their comfort zones.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? And why do you feel that it is important to recognise the day?

Recognising International Women’s day and celebrating it together gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the influence that women have made to the world both past and present. Shining a light on these achievements is inspiring for us all, and particularly young women as they navigate this complex world, evaluating who they wish to be, a the role they wish to have within it.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?

I started as a graduate in audit at age 22 in 2001 and had my first child at the age of 24 right in the middle of my accountancy exams (I sat two whilst 38 weeks pregnant!). Back in 2003 there was not the same level of flexible working policies that have been subsequently introduced and I think that more family friendly policies have been hugely beneficial in terms of women being better supported to progress their careers since this time.

Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

I think the main thing I have probably experienced, although this has changed as I’ve got older (one of the few benefits!), is perhaps an automatic assumption that the decision maker in the room must be the present male. Being consistent, listening well and backing up intent with actions informed by detail and thorough consideration is the best approach I have found to securing the respect of colleagues and peers.

How can we encourage more women to pursue senior leadership roles in their career?

I think the key thing is for women not to limit themselves. Nobody knows everything and nobody is perfect. One of the qualities I admire most in people is those who are unafraid to ‘have a go’ and step outside of their comfort zones. I know in my career, working with people who believe in you helps you to believe in yourself and seeking out those people who have that ability to inspire you is so valuable whether that is colleagues, friends, family or someone that you look up to as a mentor.

Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?

We are all unique individuals and it is important that this is reflected in how we think and what we do. To understand views that are different to our own, inspired by experiences that are also different, informs and transforms ways of thinking to produce better ideas and innovation. Particularly in education, where students have gone through a significant period of disruption – taking the time to understand people as individuals enables a higher level of compassion and understanding to nurture a happy culture.

Share with us a woman that inspires you most, or quote that inspires you most.

I like two quotes. One is from when I was a lot younger.

“The only person who can stop you from reaching your goals is you.” Olympic Athlete, Jackie Joyner Kersee


"You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself." Glinda the Good Witch – The Wizard of Oz