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Dawn is an executive services team leader in our commercial team. She has worked in both the Birmingham and London offices.
My first job was with a local council in the typing pool. I stayed there for a couple years because it was my first role gaining a good wage, however, there wasn’t a lot of diversity, and I didn’t have the best experience, so I left and moved into the engineering sector.
After working for the same company for 15 years, I decided it was time to do something different, applied for a job at Anthony Collins, and have been in the legal sector ever since! It was slightly difficult coming from engineering because I had to get my head around a whole new sector’s worth of jargon. However, once I started getting into it, I managed to build my way up and work for a few law firms, all based in Birmingham. I actually worked for Mills & Reeve in Birmingham at one point, however because of personal reasons I wanted a change of city, so handed in my notice and moved to London. I lived with my best friend for a little while and then spotted a job at Mills & Reeve in London. I applied, got the job, and here I am today.
I worked in the Birmingham office for four months in the employment team, which was a nice experience, however, I wanted more variety in the tasks I was given. When I got the job in London, I was offered more variety and potential opportunities to develop my career. One of the lawyers I work with is also the head of our London charity committee, so I had the chance to get involved with that and branch out a bit. I’ve always loved charity work and through helping with this I was able to meet more people in London. I’m still actively involved and love being able to help out and see the different charities develop. I’m particularly interested in the smaller charities and helping them get noticed, I often give up my weekends to go and help volunteer and see what I can do to help.
When I started in 2018, I knew I wanted to better myself and see if I could get promoted. I talked to different people about their journeys and what they did, to find out ways I could progress within the firm. The tip I would give to anyone is to be focused on what you’re doing and to do your job to the best of your ability. You’ll be surprised how many people notice what you’re doing and for me, because I had that focus and I tried to get involved in other things outside of my job role I came to people’s attention. Steph, our team leader came to me and said she thought I would be a good senior executive assistant because of my involvement in the charity and social activities, so I applied and got the promotion. Then, alongside another colleague, I just happened to be in right place at the right time with someone else going on maternity leave, and the covid pandemic enabling us to work more collaboratively. The two of us worked well with each other, and really supported one another to run the office and keep everyone focused. I feel from having that experience and having people believing in me I gained so much confidence.
I think Mills & Reeve are a great firm to work for because they have compassion for their people. I always find colleagues reach out to ask if I’m okay or offer their support whenever I’m in need. For example, my mum has developed dementia, and my team and HR have been fantastic. They’re considerate about what’s going on and I know I could go to anyone and let them know my issues, both in my personal and work life.
Everyone at Mills & Reeve is very approachable, I’ve never had anyone put me down because of my race and it’s so nice to see the diversity and inclusion work throughout the firm, in activities like the REACH network and partnership with the 10,000 Black Interns scheme.
I’ve also found the hybrid working fantastic, as it enables me to be flexible around my mum. If it wasn’t for this flexibility I would’ve had to hand my notice in, so I’m very grateful. I can honestly say working at Mills & Reeve has been a really good experience.
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