To mark 2020’s International Women’s Day (IWD), Oasis HR is showcasing four influential women in our network that we feel have shown resistance, passion, and determination in their fields.
We are excited to introduce our third ‘International Woman Of The Year’… Mieke Contreras. Mieke is a Senior Talent Partner, who has built a substantial career in recruitment, all whilst building her family…
International Women’s Day is celebrated this Sunday on the 8th of March. IWD is a day to recognise the many achievements women have accomplished. The campaign (#EachforEqual) runs all year long and doesn’t end on International Women’s Day. By broadening perceptions, we can improve situations for women in the workplace. That’s why we’re highlighting women in human resources and recruitment who have achieved greatness.
Mieke Contreras is our final featured International Woman for 2020. Mieke has been selected because of the vital role she plays in leading recruitment at King. She is instrumental to the success of all Talent Acquisition activities and hasn’t had to sacrifice her home life to do so. She is the mother of four children under five and advises on TA practices for a highly successful, global business.
We asked Mieke Contreras to summarise her current experience, before asking her some more personal questions…
1. Tell us about your career so far…
With some HR experience and my language skills, I started as an HR policy Translator at Coca Cola and moved into a Recruitment Coordination role. I took what I learnt and moved to Bloomberg where I started as a Recruitment Coordinator and quickly moved into a Recruiter role.
I spent the next 5.5 years covering almost every business area within Bloomberg across many countries in EMEA, gaining insight into what makes a company successful and gaining a commercial view of how a company functions, all whilst honing my skills as a Recruiting Partner. After Bloomberg, I spent some time consulting SME businesses to help set recruiting processes and functions.
I now work at King as a Senior Talent Partner supporting and advising business leaders in TA activities, all while looking after my 4 children.
2. What piece of advice would you give your 16-year old self?
You spend so much time under the pressure of getting straight As. Very few people are genuinely great at everything, so find what you enjoy and what you are really good at, and focus on becoming the best at it.
3. Who has been the most influential person in your life?
There have been many people throughout my career who have shared what I call ‘golden nuggets of wisdom’ which have stayed with me, but without doubt, the most influential person in my life has been my father.
There has never been a time where he hasn’t supported and encouraged me to go for what I want to do or what I want to aspire to. Whenever I had an idea or a goal, his answer is always ’Go for it! You can do it!’ and that has become my internal voice (even if looking back some of my ideas have been a little farfetched!). This can be life-changing in a world where you mostly hear ‘It won’t work because…’, or ‘No.’ or ‘You can’t do it because…’ He has consistently encouraged me to be idealistic, not realistic.
4. What significant obstacle have you overcome?
The biggest obstacle has also been my biggest blessing in many ways.
Growing up, we moved countries 4 times before I was 12. I was put in the local schools which forced me to learn the local language and integrate into the culture. It meant I had to start from scratch 4 times growing up. New friends to make, a new culture to figure out…
Looking back, I wouldn’t change it for anything as today I have not only been able to take some great cultural aspects from everywhere I have lived, it has also given me the ability to be sensitive to the way others work and be able to collaborate effectively, whilst being fluent in 4 languages!
5. What is your most precious achievement?
This may sound a little cheesy, but my most precious achievement so far is having built my personal life and career at the same time. I have 4 beautiful children and I have been able to arrange my life in such a way that I am able to spend quality time with them as well as pursue my career at the same time.
There is the view that when women have children, their careers come to a halt. I do think my career growth has been slower than it would have been had I not had children, but I wanted to show that it is still possible to have a family and a career with the right support from your employer.
Did you enjoy this interview with Mieke Contreras? Have a look at the nuggets of wisdom our other nominees have shared for IWD 2020. Additionally, you can have a look at Oasis HR’s ‘Women of the Year 2019‘.