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International Women's Day - Meet Anna Pethen

This International Women's Day we're celebrating some of the amazing women who make up True North.

Today we meet Anna Pethen, Design Manager at True North.

How long have you worked for True North?

Five years, but I spent a lot of time working in bars as a student!

What is your favourite thing about working at True North?

My lovely colleagues - people generally look out for each other and are really supportive, encouraging and so much fun!

What does International Women's Day mean to you?

For me, it's a chance to recognise the role of women in the modern world, to celebrate and enjoy being a woman, and recognise the injustices that many women still face.

What challenges do women face in the hospitality industry?

Not being listened to! When it comes to beer, I don't think women are regarded as knowledgeable or as passionate as men which is ridiculous. Other than that, my role is behind the scenes so the challenges I've faced might be different to those working directly with customers.

I find it hard to ignore things I think are wrong and have often been made to feel like I am the problem. That's happened a few times and I do wonder how different it would be if I was a man.

So many micro-aggressions too in terms of language - throwing around a bit of casual sexism is seen as harmless but it's enraging, demotivating, and undermining.

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

To get the best out of everyone and allow everyone to express their full potential. Echo chambers are boring and stagnant - the more diverse a workplace and the more inclusive it is means we have influence from a wider group of people - which means more ideas, more creative solutions, more understanding, learning about the world, more respect, and then ultimately reaching more customers. If people feel free to speak up, they will contribute so much more to everyday.

How could you contribute your wisdom and expertise to empower other women, both in the hospitality industry and out?

I hope I do as a manager and a colleague. I do try in my day to day by doing things the right way and standing up for what's right for everyone (not just women). We can do this by celebrating female colleagues' success, listening to each other, and building each other up, being positive and gentle and allowing people the space to be who they are and recognise people's different ways of working.

Is there anyone who inspires you in your career?

Ella Greyson, for being strong, sticking to the plan, and not taking any shit from people!

If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Joni Mitchell, my gran, and my granny, who are both long gone but I have so many things I'd like to ask them to find out about their life and experiences - then again, I'd get stressed they'd not all get along so can I have dinner with them all separately haha!

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