Inspire Inclusion Interviews: Clare Lewis
Alexa Bradbury

4 minutes

Inspire Inclusion Interviews: Clare Lewis

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Hi, my name is Clare Lewis, I’m based in the UK but have had the opportunity to live and work in a variety of locations/countriesI spent all my career (25 years and counting) in Recruitment but have worked in various aspects such as Agency, Managed Service Provider (MSP), Recruitment Processing outsourcing (RPO), with the last 15 years in various in-house leadership roles.   

I did also have a 2-year detour (as I put it) where I was a Human Resources (HR) Lead which was a wonderful opportunity to experience the full employee life cycleI’m passionate about traveling and spending time with friends and loved ones, which include my very spoiled black cat Oreo. 

What is your proudest achievement? 

Being responsible for building and embedding a diverse recruitment function to support 17 countries in Western Europe, aligning three different legacy companies to offer a consistent end- to-end recruitment experience to our business and candidatesThis allowed my team to attract and retain top diverse talent across all lines of business and across multiple levels at WTW.   

Not only did I have to learn while leading my team, about the various local aspects such as legislation and key cultural nuances, but I had to build a team that would be agile enough to work across country and region in some cases.   

This year the theme of IWD is #InspireInclusion. What does this mean to you? 

As clichéd as it sounds, if we genuinely want to see change in our industry, we need to be the changeWhat does that mean? To me it means being an example to those around me and encouraging women that it is okay to be brave, to feel empowered to find our voice, embracing who we are and not feeling like we have to be perfect or know it all to succeed.  

I spent too many years feeling like I didn’t fit the mold either because I didn’t get the right degree or because I didn’t sound or look like everyone else in the room. The real shift came for me when I joined WTW and had managers who saw the potential in me and gave me the platform to succeed 

Having leader(s) who believe in you, encourage you not to give up and give you opportunities to be challenged is what inspires inclusivity and gives everybody an opportunity to be the best version of themselves 

Which women inspire you the most?  

Women who are authentic, who embrace who they are, and who are not afraid to share the mistakes and the lessons learned along the way. Those who often triumph in the face of adversity, who have worked hard to achieve their success not by stepping over those along the way but through sheer perseverance and not losing their integrity along the way 

One of my favorite phrases is one quoted by Michelle Obama “when they go low, we go high;” which is a constant reminder to me that together we can all succeed, and we don’t need to play games or be somebody else to achieve this goal. 

What is the most valuable piece of advice that you could give other women? 

Being authentically you is what will set you up to succeed; don’t be afraid to ask questions and find yourself a mentor. 

What do you think the biggest barrier is for women in your industry 

Women often feel that they need to tick every box on a job description in order to apply and in interviews will spend more time telling you what they don’t have or can’t do. There are skills and expertise that can be taught – find out what is essential to the role and empower yourself to demonstrate what you don’t know you can learn.  

Have you faced any barriers in your career, if so, how did you overcome them? 

My biggest barrier often was (and still is at times) imposter syndrome – feeling that I wasn’t worthy enough to sit in a room, educated enough to engage in certain debates and, unless I was asked a question, to keep quiet 

A significant change for me was in 2016 when I had an opportunity to work with a new team who didn’t know me or my background; and my mentor at the time encouraged me to use this as a fresh start and to go to the table with ideas regardless of if they were accepted or not. The first couple of times I was terrified that I would be laughed at or rejected; but the team I worked with were fantastic and suddenly, I felt that not only were my ideas welcomed but celebrated 

By being authentic I was able to bring diversity of thought and insight to the table and, by being brave, I hope I too have been able to inspire and encourage those I lead and mentor 

How does WTW promote inclusion in the workplace? 

One of the main reasons I love working for WTW is because inclusion is not just something we talk about but its actively encouraged and promoted at every opportunity; bringing your true self to the workplace is something that many of our colleagues identify as one of the key reasons that Inclusion and Diversity is so important and truly embedded at WTW. We put the I in front of the D; because inclusion is what enables us to bring diversity to our clients, colleagues, and prospect talent. 

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