International Women's Day – interview with Christine Hodgson, Chairman of Capgemini UK

This International Women's Day on 8 March 2017, we spoke to some of our female clients and contacts working in sectors often perceived as male-dominated, to find out why they love working in the industry and uncover what their roles entail day-to-day.

Tell us a bit about you/your job

I have worked at Capgemini for 20 years in a number of UK and Global roles. I am currently Chairman of Capgemini UK plc and a member of the global Group Executive Committee, I also chair the Capgemini Group Sustainability Board and the UK Women’s Business Network.

Prior to Capgemini, I spent four years as Corporate Development Director on the board of Ronson plc and eight years at Coopers & Lybrand, where I specialised in Corporate Finance.

I am a Non-Executive Director of Standard Chartered plc, Ladbrokes Coral plc and sit on the board of The Prince of Wales’ charity – Business in the Community. I am also a member of the Audit Committee of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, a board member of the Tech Partnership, formerly e-skills, and a  member of the Professional Business Services Council.

In February 2015, I was appointed by Government to chair The Careers and Enterprise Company – a new, independent company, the aim of which is to inspire and prepare young people for the world of work.

What does a typical week-day entail?

Much like every working Mum, I have an early start with the usual rush to get my 10 year old son to school and myself into the office by 7.45am. I am anchored in the UK however because of the rich portfolio of things I do, I travel abroad too.

A typical working day in the UK consists largely of external meetings with clients. I will also often meet with government ministers and the voluntary sector, businesses and schools and any others relevant to the careers and enterprise agenda. At the end of the day I rush home to ensure I spend quality time with my son even when I have meetings I do my utmost to ensure I have that time with him. Overseas travel takes me to India where Capgemini have a key delivery centre. Board meetings for the bank can take me to Africa, Middle East or Asia. Essentially, no two days are the same for me!

Who do you consider to be a female role-model of yours or a female particularly influential in your life?

This is a tricky one as there is not one specific female role model that has influenced me. I am very lucky in my working life, I meet lots of great female leaders in senior positions within organisations and also as a judge for Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award. At 90 years old, my Mum remains a very big part of my life. Mum gave up being a nurse to devote her life to raising her four children and has been the centre of the family ever since.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

Sir Roger Carr – "Do the current job well, and the next one will take care of itself"

What is one thing on your bucket list?

I would like to keep on doing things that challenge and stretch me. When I was asked by Government to chair The Careers and Enterprise Company I knew it would be extremely hard work however I agreed with its purpose, have learnt an enormous amount and am glad I accepted the role. I would like to continue to be of use in this way and carry on enjoying what I do.

Where is the best place you have travelled to?

The Almalfi Coast in Italy is a magical place. My husband and I honeymooned in Positano and have since returned to the village for a marriage blessing, as have my parents – so Positano holds magical memories for me. I travel to India frequently for work and Rajasthan is still one of my favourite places to visit, I never tire of the hustle and bustle and assault on the senses. It comes a close second to Positano.

What has been your proudest moment in the last five years?

I had not anticipated having children so becoming a Mum at 42 was a big surprise and I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to experience the joys of motherhood.

Please follow the links to read further interviews with Sara Parker, Sales Director, Barratt David Wilson Homes, Penny Cameron of Stanhope plc and Jo Davis, Regional Senior Director of GVA.