Today, Zillah Byng-Thorne, Chief Executive Officer of Future celebrates International Women’s day by sharing her experiences and offers her thoughts on gender parity.
What would you say was the most defining moment of your career?
Getting my first role as CFO, I needed someone to take a chance on me and let me prove myself, 14 years ago as a 30-year-old female that was a very brave step by my Board.
Knowing everything you know now, is there anything you would change in your career?
I would have been in less of a hurry to get here when I reflect I think I sacrificed some time with my family and friends as I thought that’s what you had to do.
Did the idea of leadership ever scared you? If so, how did you overcome those fears/ reservations?
Living up to the responsibility is pretty scary, people put their trust in you, and ensuring that you are meeting that trust head-on. I think it’s crucial in a leadership role to always be asking yourself if you are honouring that trust.
What advice would you give women to overcome fears and insecurities at work in order to progress?
A lot of the barriers I felt in my career where inside my own head, I doubted I was good enough, or smart enough, or hard working enough. No one else was asking those questions. I also think that if you are a working parent we should all be treated equally that is both in terms of career progression and also in respect of how we work. I think women need to seek equality with men in the true sense of the word.
What do you think are the main setbacks for women in your industry?
Media I believe has always been a more diversified industry with a number of women running media businesses in the UK
Future is a publisher of mostly male-dominated titles, have you seen much change in the balance of gender during your time as CEO?
No unfortunately not, in large the stereotypes are true, however, having said that there is an increasing presence of Women in the games industry
As a woman in a top-level senior management position, have you ever faced resistance from coworkers? If so, how did move past this?
This is something I have been lucky enough not to have to deal with.
Zillah was appointed as Chief Executive in April 2014, having joined Future in November 2013 as Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary. Prior to this, she was CFO of Trader Media Group (2009-2012) and interim CEO of Trader Media (2012-2013). Before this, Zillah was Commercial Director and CFO at Fitness First Limited and Chief Financial Officer of the Thresher Group. Zillah is currently a non-executive Director of Paddy Power Betfair plc and Gocompare.com Group plc. Zillah is a qualified accountant and corporate treasurer.