International Women's Day Spotlight: Amy Callaghan - Antser

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International Women’s Day Spotlight: Amy Callaghan

What is your role at Antser? 

Head of Assessments – I have oversight of the assessment service, which provides independent assessments to courts, local authorities and panels.

What do you like most about your role?

The team – working here is like being part of a family, it sounds a bit cheesy but it has been my experience since my first day and the main reason I’ve stayed with the company as long as I have. Everyone is really friendly, down to earth, supportive and hardworking and that makes such a difference when the work you do is challenging. I also find the work we do so interesting. I like how varied and fast paced it is; having worked here for over 10 years I really enjoy the different challenges we are faced with each day, supporting our assessor base and knowing that in some way we are making a positive difference to vulnerable people’s lives. 

How did you get into your chosen career and why did you choose it?

If I’m honest, I kind of fell into this career! I studied psychology at university and had planned that I would pursue this as a career. However, having finished my degree, I wasn’t sure what area of psychology I wanted to specialise in, and teamed with the costs for a masters degree, I didn’t want to jump into something too quickly. Having spent six months working in a pub in London, worrying I wasn’t progressing quickly enough in my career (far too much pressure to put on my 22 year old self!), I decided to move home and applied for the administrative assistant role at Carter Brown, which I thought looked quite interesting as psychologists worked there. Since that time, I’ve been so lucky to have had the opportunity to progress into different positions and become a manager, which has led me to my current role. I’m actually really happy it happened this way as I also always enjoyed the business side of things, so it’s a nice mix of the both for me.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Around 7 years ago, we were asked to take an existing service (now our Local Authority Carer Based assessment service) and integrate it into our service offering. At that time it was a relatively small and new service. I was given the opportunity to take the lead with the work, managing the cases and to be the team manager. Within two years the service went from taking 30 referrals a month to taking around 100 and being profitable. The service continues to be a consistent part of our current offering, so that makes me really proud when I reflect on what I achieved.   

What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

Again, I would say managing and integrating an existing service was really challenging. As this was also my first experience as a manager, I had a lot of learning to do in that area as well as learning about a new service and adapting to a different way of working. I was very much in at the deep end and there were definitely times where I thought I wasn’t able to do it, but I’m so glad I persisted and I’ve gained so much from it.  

What advice would you give to women looking to enter a career in your industry? 

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to start higher up the ladder, progress too quickly, or have all the knowledge in the world about the industry – basically give yourself time to adjust and learn. There’s so much to learn both from a sector level and from a business level; the learning is ongoing, so don’t expect to know everything straightaway (or ever!) but equally don’t let that deter or worry you as that’s what makes it challenging and exciting. For me achieving success is supported by a good working knowledge, which you only really achieve by being involved in the day to day delivery. So take your time to learn the basics, don’t be afraid to ask what you might think are obvious questions, don’t underestimate yourself and use your time to learn as much as you can to master your role, because that is what really helps the others around you and enables success.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge.  How do you think we can take steps to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes and help forge an inclusive world?

To be honest and share our experiences, both good and bad so we can learn and support one another in this in order to continue to make change. For me, seeing more and more the acknowledgement of women’s contribution and successes is so important as it breaks down stereotypes and gives belief of what you can achieve, and equally what negatives you don’t have to stand for to get there. I think we have to show strength by showing we can be vulnerable, and that the two aren’t exclusive of one another. Hopefully in some way we can share the tools needed to challenge inequality or bias as and when it occurs, or even before it occurs!

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