Michelle Stevenson, Solicitor and Legal Director for Progress Housing Group, writes for International Women's Day

 

As Legal Director to the Group I have oversight and management of all legal requirements for the business including acting on its behalf, providing advice and support to colleagues working at all levels and overseeing the provision of external legal services.

I am also a member of the Group’s Senior Leadership Team and I am proud to work for an organisation with many women in leadership and management positions.

My career journey started when I was a teenager and was told by my careers adviser that I should not pursue a career in law because I had not been privately educated. I was encouraged, in a way that was not particularly sensitive or kind, to pursue an administrative or secretarial role and to shelve my dream of becoming a solicitor.

Despite my fears, I did not listen to this advice and went on to achieve all of the grades I needed for my place at the University of Sheffield and the College of Law. I have now been qualified for over 20 years and have worked through each of the steps to partnership before taking up my current role at director level in 2010.

I am pleased that the legal profession has made great progress in its diversity since I received that initial careers advice and I hope that in my lifetime we see even greater steps to equality.

Based on my experiences and also knowing that our career journey can feel lonely at times, it was an easy decision for me to become qualified as a coach and mentor, to encourage others in a way that I had not been when I was starting out.

I firmly believe that as women when we support each other we achieve more, create an environment of encouragement rather than competition and together work towards bridging the gap further.

Michelle Stevenson, Solicitor
Legal Director
Progress Housing Group

“A strong woman looks a challenge straight in the eye and gives it a wink”