Women of Sheffield Awards sponsor encourages next generation to dream the impossible
A top Sheffield finance boss is sponsoring the Women of Sheffield Awards to honour those who made a difference - and encourage the next generation to ‘dream the impossible’.
Jill Thomas, of Future Life Wealth Management, has seen women in her sector rise from a ‘miniscule’ number in the 1980s to today where a record number sit on company boards, run huge firms like RBS and comprise up to 30 per cent of staff, as at her Renishaw firm.
The Awards were started two years ago to honour women who never expect - and rarely get - a word of thanks.
Jill strongly believes ‘you can’t be it if you can’t see it’ and takes pride in bringing on the next generation.
And she takes inspiration from the women, including her mother, who worked in munitions factories during the Second World War - just like Sheffield’s Women of Steel who were finally honoured with a statue in 2016.
Jill attended the unveiling ceremony and was moved to see their sacrifice recognised - a first in the UK.
She was also struck by the enthusiasm for life and self-deprecating attitude of the survivors who were there. Thanks to them, and generations of women since, the glass ceiling is being dismantled.
She said: “Dream the impossible because it will become reality, there are no barriers these days. I employ a lot of young women and they do not ask for any margin because of their gender.
“But I do believe in encouraging, mentoring and supporting them in a different way to gain confidence and go and do what I am doing.”
Today, fewer than two per cent of financial planning firms in the UK are owned by women.
Jill says when she entered the industry in the 1980s she endured ‘unbelievable sexism’. But she says she stood up to it with confidence gained, in part, from an expensive pair of red high-heeled shoes.
Future Life Wealth Management has been listed in the New Model Advisor Top 100, a national list of the top financial planners, every year since 2013. It was established by Jillian Thomas in 2009 and today employs 11.
The award winners are celebrated in The Star on International Women’s Day – Monday, March 8.