Being able to recruit high quality staff who are dedicated to our values has been instrumental in achieving our success to date. All our employees are core to our business, and we are proud to have a diverse workforce! In this article, we would like you to meet some of the women who are helping us to push the boundaries of science and technology.
At Paragraf we employee women across all our teams, from research to business development, and finance to project management, covering full time, part time, permanent and contractor roles. We have female representation on both our board and executive teams, with our management team being over 50% women. Meet Gemma, Jaspreet and Helen, just some of the women who are part of the Paragraf family:
Gemma – Finance Assistant
“I stumbled into working in the accounts department. I enjoyed maths at school but when the time came to pick a career, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I then found a job here at Paragraf as a purchase ledger clerk with day release study support and I have carried on from there progressing and increasing my knowledge.
A standard day…. I’m not sure such a thing exists with 2 young children! We are up and dressed early and out the door by 7.50am with the children either dropped off at the childminders or with their grandparents. I then head off to work knowing they are in safe hands. I work 7hrs every day and my role is varied and very enjoyable. I have the autonomy to make decisions and approach my tasks as I see fit knowing I have the support of my manager who is always available if needed. I relish the fact I am able to have a fulfilling career and still enjoy family life with the odd school run!
I was attracted to Paragraf as the role had everything I was looking for and I could be involved in a variety of tasks from start to finish. I felt there would be more opportunities to learn different aspects of finance and develop my career.
I feel I will be given the opportunity to grow within my role as the company grows bigger. The environment of the whole company is one of support and shared goals. I feel lucky that I am able to be a working mum and do a job I thoroughly enjoy.”
Jaspreet – Scientific Technician
I have always been interested in science and found that I had a natural aptitude for it at school but during my undergraduate degree my interest in research and development grew even more. During my undergrad I completed an industrial placement year for an optoelectronics company and had a great experience. It gave me a good insight into the work environment in R&D labs, and I had great fun in my first full time role as a research scientist. Since I had such a good experience over that year, I chose to do a PhD in the same research field to further my knowledge and practical skills to a higher level, and to explore further my interest in the research environment. Working in R&D has given me the opportunity to contribute to the complex issues which are constantly evolving in our technological world which is an exciting community to be a part of.
Coming towards the end of my PhD I realised that I wanted to continue my career in research, but I chose to move into industry rather than staying in academia. My previous industrial placement experience gave me a positive outlook on industrial research, and I felt that moving into the commercial world would give me the chance to work on multiple projects within a team and a more structured work environment than academia typically provides. I was attracted to work for Paragraf as the prospect of working for a fast-paced start-up company was exciting to me. The role that I applied for fitted perfectly with the experience I gained during my PhD and I found a position where I could utilise my expertise whilst also working on my professional development across various projects and in new application areas.
My standard day involves planning and executing experiments, analysing data and writing reports. As well as that, I attend various project meetings throughout the week, and have daily catch ups with others in my team to report back on the latest results from the lab. Having just started in this role I spend time each day working alongside others to gain more understanding of the current projects which are running and being trained in techniques which are new to me. In this role I have also been able to contribute my own expertise to improve on current processes and further develop on previous results.
Outside of work I have been spending the evenings and weekends settling into my new home. Despite the ongoing lockdown I have been able to make the most of my new work/life balance by exploring the walking trails and getting to know the local parks.
I imagine that I will always be working in an industrial R&D based role where I can continue developing my knowledge and skillset. Having just started in this position, I am looking to spend time understanding the new topics being worked on across all projects at Paragraf and to continue to add to the practical techniques within my skillset. I hope that over time I can increase my contribution towards the success of these projects. Further down the line, I would also like to take on more responsibility in the running of these projects and also increase my understanding of how the business is run on a larger scale, an opportunity which is very achievable in a start-up company like Paragraf.
Helen – Chief Commercial Officer
I have always been interested in techy things; I grew up in a large family of engineers (by “large” I mean there were seven of us and that my five brothers are all over six foot two).
My first degree was in Environmental Chemistry and my first real job (if you don’t count milking the cow aged 5) was as Chief Chemist in a Printed Circuit Board factory. The main part of that job was to ensure that the company was a successful manufacturer, didn’t kill any staff, visitors, passers-by or nearby wildlife with any of the toxic materials we used on site and I am happy to report that I had a 100% success rate whilst in that role. However, I discovered quite early in my career that I was more interested in the promotion of the end product and in hearing what our customers thought of it, than I was in copper plating baths and effluent treatment. I wanted to work on the development of customer relationships and partnerships and that led me, very quickly, into a sales role.
I’ve been selling ever since, my roles have always been to make sure that products and services find their way to an appreciative customer base in a way that benefits everyone. I’ve done this initially as a classic “road warrior” salesperson and in various management roles and, as a career, it has never let me down.
Working as a consultant for the last couple of years I’ve been introduced to several companies that are going to be “the next big thing.” Some of them are credible but none have had the momentum and excitement that surrounds Paragraf, so I was keen to start a conversation and see whether there was an opportunity for me. Once those conversations had started, I was particularly impressed with the vision for the company as a force for good with a strong ethical bias and that was a major factor in me deciding to join.
I have spent 30 years working in various tech companies and as I get older, I am much more conscious of the impact of technology, the good and the bad, and that each person can make their own decision on what path to take.
I am always looking out for new things to learn or do and feel very confident that there will be such opportunities in the next few years at Paragraf.
If I’m heading into the office, I get up quite early about 6am to have breakfast and plan my day. Around 7am I kiss the dog (Teddy) goodbye, and occasionally my husband, my 14yr old is still in bed, and drive into the office listening to Radio 4 on the way to work.
Being a morning person, I prefer to have my mornings packed with meetings, so that in the afternoons I have time to think and actually make some progress on my inbox. I have to say though, I am not an email fan and I never have been, I prefer face to face conversations, where any actions are agreed there and then.
Lockdown/home working days are not much different although I usually get time to go to our gym at some point and I also have the pleasure of Teddy’s company in my home office for at least some of the day (if anyone’s ever been on a call with me and can hear snoring in the background it’s him!). I have always checked back on my email around 9pm again and answer a few emails or set up a few meetings. I sleep better knowing that I have checked in before I go to bed. Heading to bed at 10pm, I have a read, normally 2 or 3 books at the side of my bed. At the moment both are business reads, Step Up, Step Back and The Culture Code, that always sends me to sleep.
We are always looking for more talented women to join our ever-growing family. If you are interested in sharing our adventure to make a difference to the world through graphene technologies, please reach out and get in touch.