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Meet our people: Cécile Jenkins
03 March 2020
Cécile is Head of Internal Group Communications at OUP.
How did your career lead you to OUP?
I started out at the University of Oxford in Internal Communications. This led me down a path of Change Communications and Leadership which took me to Newton (a management consultancy) and Oxfam. Eventually my skills lined up exactly to what OUP needed back in 2017 and I started here as Group Change Communications Lead.
What does your job involve?
Since I took on my current role last April, my team and I, together with our divisional communications colleagues, have managed the internal corporate communications across OUP. That means making sure all our 6,500 employees and contractors know about the key things that are happening at OUP, the current strategies, any changes to the way things are done, and how we are all working towards the same goal. This is done through a variety of ways from our intranet and newsletter, to our internal magazine Mosaic and regular project reports. My team and I keep everything up to date and current and make sure we are in touch with the remarkable divisions around the globe that make up OUP.
What do you like about it?
What I love about being in Communications is to create connections between people, as well as between the organization and the individual. I like to think that in some way, I can personally help my colleagues feel part of this amazing business. In recent years, I have done a lot of work in change communications specifically, and through that I have particularly enjoyed connecting people to the organizational changes, making sure everyone benefits and feels the impact positively.
How have you juggled your work and home life?
I have two children, 12 and nine years old, and from the moment I went back to work after maternity leave, I was able to draw very firm lines between the two worlds. During my time at Newton, I was travelling for work a great deal, but everyone knew that at 6.30pm I would be speaking to my family, no matter what, and to not expect me to be available. Nowadays I am very strict about when I leave work in order to be home on time, to spend a couple of hours with my children before bedtime. Sometimes, especially in the early days of childminders and nurseries, it can be hard, but when you must leave for childcare you must leave. So it has actually helped me to build discipline. I love my career, so I will also work a little in the evening or weekends if needed to get the job done – it’s all about having a choice. All in all, I feel so very blessed that I have been able to embrace motherhood and a career without having to give up anything or having that feeling of having missed out.
Is mentoring key to supporting women at work?
I have been very lucky to have amazing role models throughout my career who have helped me work out who I am in the workplace. Today it is up to us all to create a safe environment at work which allows women to grow, that helps young women feel more confident but to also challenge them when needed – in that safe space. From my experience, I have seen that young women underestimate themselves so often and being able to give them the room to grow is a real honour.
Why is International Women’s Day important?
International Women’s Day is crucial to raise awareness amongst all of us to help address the fact that women all over the world are not as privileged as many of us, and certainly as I personally feel. That connection between women, daughters, mothers, sisters on that one day is important to me and having a day like this allows us to really focus on how far we’ve come, but also put energy in continuing this journey for many across the world who do not have the choices yet to lead a fulfilling life. I have been truly blessed and my empowerment has come easily but that is clearly not (yet!) the case for everyone across the world.
Is there a special significance for OUP on International Women’s Day?
We believe that education has the power to transform lives for the better and I believe that the connection between education and poverty is particularly strong for women. Our mission at OUP is to give people access to knowledge, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances. With this we can really make a change to the lives of many women around the world.