International Women's Day: Karen Ackerley

“Up until four years ago, my entire 30-year career had been spent working in Retail Banking, with 23 years at Barclays and the remainder with Santander. When I was made redundant, I knew that I had a strong set of transferable skills however it really was a question of ‘what am I going to do now?’ I was looking for something that offered a genuine challenge in a role that I could make my own and this is when the opportunity at CET came up.

“When I first joined the business, I was initially employed in a PA role, however CET was a very different company then with fewer than 100 employees. As a result, people adopted a ‘can-do’ attitude and helped-out in any way they could and, as mine was a new role and I wasn’t following in anybody else’s footsteps, it really was like a blank piece of paper. As a result, I took that opportunity to make the job into what the business needed most at that time.

Karen Ackerley“Since then the company has grown significantly and, as this has developed, I have taken on more and more responsibilities. Across the business, we now have more structured roles and as a result, I now find my role dovetails across multiple departments. I love that variety, along with having the autonomy to identify what is needed to help the business to continue to grow.

“Although I’m a real people person who likes to mix with the different characters that we have around the company, I also love working from home because of the flexibility that this offers. It did take some getting used to working exclusively from home during the first lockdown of 2020, for example I was used to just grabbing somebody for a chat if I needed to discuss an ongoing issue but obviously I could no longer do this.

“As a business we have adapted to new ways of working incredibly smoothly and we make a real effort to ensure that we still interact with each other on a regular basis, which I think is incredibly important, particularly as we have now made the move to permanent homeworking. The technology and support that we all need to work effectively and efficiently is there for all of us and the company ensures that everyone has what they need to create a comfortable working environment in their homes.

“Just because CET has adopted a homeworking model and we are now able to expand our talent pool to recruit staff from all over the country, this doesn’t mean that we won’t continue to support local charities and good-causes in our traditional heartland area of the East Midlands. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) remains very high on our agenda and we continue to assess ways in which we can make a positive impact as a business. This is why, on International Women’s Day 2021, CET is proud to support Derby Women’s Centre as they continue to improve the quality of life for women across Derbyshire.”

To learn more about the essential work Derby Women’s Centre do to help women at the most vulnerable times of their lives, please visit:

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