‘Women entering male-dominated industries need to see representation’

Rebecca Morley catches up with last year’s BikeBiz Woman of the Year finalists to talk about their experiences in the cycle trade. Today, we hear from Nyree Hughes, head of marketing and communications at micromobility provider Beryl

This piece first appeared in the April edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

I’ve worked in communications for 20 years. I started in the technology sector, moved about a bit, and now I’ve come full-circle. There’s always been two threads running through my career, technology and sustainability, and I seem to fall back on these, no matter where I’ve worked. 

About 10 years ago, I started to work exclusively with clients on programmes related to greening cities, clean air and active travel. My work in active travel led me to Beryl and the world of micromobility. 

When I started at Beryl, the organisation was evolving and our marketing and communications team was very small. As Beryl’s evolution into the UK’s leading micromobility company gathered pace, I had to be a bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it came to communications. 

Media relations, social media, stakeholder engagement, internal communications and even basic marketing were all part of my role which meant I was spreading myself a bit too thin. This goes for the rest of the talented marketing team too. Their skills and expertise were spent firefighting. 

Thankfully, we now have an established multidisciplinary team, ensuring the correct blend of personalities, experience and skillsets who are able to dovetail perfectly and deliver a high standard of work that is beneficial to the organisation’s aims and objectives. 

Industry experiences
I can honestly say I feel welcomed and part of the community. However, I can often be the only woman in the room, knowing I’m there because of my gender. Sometimes this can feel frustrating, but I’m trying to look at it differently.

Women entering male-dominated industries need to see representation. I see it as a responsibility to speak at events and feature in interviews like this, to show that we exist and to help other women coming in to see and hear more women. 

Is the gap closing?
It doesn’t feel like it and just this week Aviva boss Amanda Blanc warned the slow pace of change in pay at senior levels could take 30 years! There’s so much more that organisations could be doing, from providing more flexibility, to making it mandatory for all businesses to report, not just those with over 250 staff. 

Transparent processes should be in place for promotions, pay rises and salary negotiations. Women are reportedly less likely to negotiate a higher salary than men, often leaving them on a lower wage. 

Being a woman in a male-dominated industry can be lonely. Look out for role models and find women (and male allies) who can support you. Seek out networking groups, in and outside your business or industry. Join one, or look for subgroups in industry associations. If you can’t find one, start your own!

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