How We Empower Women at Wazoku

By Sarah Counts

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Wazoku has been recognized as one of the Best Workplaces for Women 2022, a testament to our focus on creating a place of work that is not only inclusive of but empowering for women. In this blog, Wazoku’s Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Counts shares her thoughts and experiences on this award and what it means for the women of Wazoku.

  1. 1. What sets Wazoku apart as a best workplace for women?  

Women in the workplace is something that many companies use as a form of theatre. Wazoku does not. It starts at the top with Simon – he appreciates and promotes the hard work of employees, no matter their educational background, ethnicity, or sex. This is evidenced by the fact that Wazoku’s co-founder is a woman, our executive team is one-third female, and 60% of our line managers are also women, of which ten were promoted internally. We recognize rising stars, promote from within, and appreciate diversity of all kinds at all levels. Another area that sets us apart is our Maternity and Paternity policies. One way to keep an economy working, encourage employee retention, and promote a world with a better future is to take care of parents. Having additional maternity cover pay is something that companies our size with our revenue don’t often provide. We want to help and nurture parents within our organization in one of the most crucial times in anyone’s life. Supporting parents is supporting women.

2. How do you feel supported as a woman at Wazoku?  

I have earned opportunities based on my initiative and hard work, which is all a woman can ask for! There is a slightly more delicate point I want to make here. I often cry in response to intense passion or any emotion. Whether I’m happy, sad, angry, frustrated, or embarrassed – I cry. In the eyes of people in business, this is often considered a weakness. I still struggle with the tears and feel shame when they come but, at Wazoku, I’ve never found that feedback has been withheld, that I haven’t been listened to, or have been called “crazy” because of my emotional response. In fact, Simon has accepted my idiosyncrasies – as has my team – and we welcome vulnerability and even celebrate it. In many places I’ve worked at, this has not been the case and I can’t say enough how supported and accepted this makes me feel.

  1. 3. What does this achievement mean for Wazoku?  

This achievement is recognition for who we already are and the work we already do. It means we can celebrate being a great workplace for woman even more – this time, with an external audience.

  1. 4. Where can we go from here?  

As my High School ceramics teacher always said to me, “Sarah, the possibilities are limitless”. We can promote our workplace more and ensure, through our recruitment, we make it known who we are and what we value. We will continue to promote those from within that show drive, curiosity, tenacity, and absolute passion for Wazoku, regardless of who they are and where they come from. Perhaps one day we can have a more diverse board – but all in good time.

It goes without saying that we are very proud of this award and while we recognize its importance, we’re also aware that every business has more to do. As we move into the future, and the world of work continues to change, we believe that empowering the women of Wazoku to reach their full potential will be crucial to any future success we have.

By Sarah Counts

Sarah is Wazoku's Chief Operations Officer, ensuring the cogs in our engine keep running. When she is away from the office, Sarah loves getting immersed in a juicy true crime book, making her own clothes with the dream of designing her signature pattern, and binging the trashiest TV that the Real Housewives franchise has to offer!