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TGtS Meets...Victoria Smyth - International Women's Day Special
Thrings' Victoria Smyth spoke to us about her success as a specialist private client solicitor and her hopes for future in honour of International Women's Day.
Which woman would you compare yourself to?
Compare is perhaps the wrong word. I could draw parallels between me and somebody like Victoria Beckham: not only do we share the same first name and hair colour, we’re also both busy working mums who are committed to pursuing careers at a high level while enjoying our family lives.
What would you say is your most valuable skill and why?
During my first work experience placement, the solicitor I was working with (a male partner) said his most important skill was developing a “butterfly brain”. He described this as an ability to flit from one job to another throughout the day. Rarely does a phrase so neatly sum up very nearly all of my days than that one! In all seriousness, being able to change tack and focus on the new job in hand is essential to having a rewarding and sustainable legal career.
Why do you think it's important to have an International Women's Day?
We are all busy people and it is easy to forget all that has been achieved and that which is still to be done. As with so many occasions, there is often value in taking time out on a particular day to take stock, reflect and celebrate.
Do you have family (and/or children)? How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I’m a single mum of a two-year-old son. I have a fabulous family support network which enables me to work full-time and go the extra mile for my clients. I am very active and am always seem to be running out of the office to catch a train or chasing after my son. I find there is nothing more grounding than leaving the office as a businesswoman and returning home to construct train tracks, park toy tractors and lorries in barns, and dance around the living room. That gives me all the work/life balance I need.
Have you ever had to give up or miss out on anything in order to pursue your career?
Not that I can recall, no.
Do you ever experience any discrimination in the work place because of your gender?
Again I have to say I have not.
Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to fellow females looking to get into your profession?
Regardless of gender, my advice is to be enthusiastic and committed. I believe you should follow your ambitions, not shy away from them; others will respect you more for being true to the career goal/path you want to follow rather than simply “making do”. Say yes to as many opportunities as you can and go into everything with an open mind and a willingness to learn as much as you can.
Do men ever feel intimidated by your success?
Not that anyone has told me so far!
If you could have dinner with 5 inspirational women dead or alive, who would they be?
- Margaret Thatcher
- My Granny
- Julie Walters
- Jessica Ennis
Singing, comedy and then a jog around the block would certainly make the evening entertaining!
As a successful female, where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Thrings is an inspiring place to work, and I hope to remain here for a long time. On that basis, I would like to become Managing Partner of the firm one day. In 10 years’ time, I would also like to own a house in the country and have perhaps expanded my collection of designer handbags.