International Women’s Day
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International Women's Day is a chance to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The theme for International Women's Day 2024 is Inspire Inclusion.

Organisations can inspire inclusion through actions such as recruiting, retaining, and developing female talent or supporting women into leadership or decision-making roles.

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, we are shining a spotlight on some of the women who help shape Aliaxis, looking at their experiences in the company as a woman and highlighting the importance of inspiring inclusion towards personal and professional growth.

Here is what Joanne had to say in the second of two recent interviews: 

Joanne Askham – Human Resources Director 


1. What inspired you to pursue a career at Aliaxis? 

I love working in a manufacturing environment and Aliaxis offered me a position  that allowed me to be involved in both operational and strategic topics.  It was clear that during my interview Aliaxis was heading into a really exciting time in terms of growth, sustainability, people development and organisational effectiveness and I wanted to be a part of that. 

2. What does a typical day look like for you?

I don’t think there is a typical day to be honest.  Yes you come into work with a calendar full of meetings and calls but you need to be flexible as you never know what or who will come through your door or land on your desk.  As a HR professional you need to make yourself available, adapt to changing situations, and provide support to anyone who needs it. 

3. As a woman in the industry, how do you see the inclusion landscape evolving for future generations?

The inclusion landscape in manufacturing, like many industries, is gradually evolving, and today’s leaders will play a crucial role in creating a more inclusive environment without losing the culture of the company.  We need to start to build a more inclusive culture by raising awareness through training and education, adopting inclusive recruitment and hiring practices, promoting inclusive policies and practices, embracing open communication and feedback and creating feelings of belonging, empowerment and recognition.

There’s a growing emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion that’s driving changes in policy and practice.  More women are entering manufacturing roles, and companies like Aliaxis are taking steps to make the industry more inclusive.  This ongoing shift is expected to continue and hopefully lead to a more equitable and diverse environment for future generations.  

4.    Can you share a significant achievement or proud moment from your professional journey? 

I have a personal significant achievement I would like to share.

On a personal level, I left school with only a handful of GCSE’s and started working for a small manufacturing company on the shop floor and then moved to Customer Service.

I was lucky that the company invested in the development of their employees, and I was given the opportunity to study for my degree in business and administration.  This was a part-time evening programme which I would attend after work two nights a week. 

During the 5 years I continued working, got married, moved house and gave birth to my son.  After obtaining my degree I then went on to study for my CIPD which again was a part-time course in the evening.  I was so proud to obtain these qualifications whilst having a full-time job and building a family.

The way I had been supported in the early stages of my career made me want to do the same when a young man came from India and joined our apprenticeship programme. This young man had never travelled out of his home country before. I was so proud watching him embrace a new culture, build a life without his family, work full time and study.  Giving him the support and opportunity to develop and grow is such a rewarding feeling.  This young man who came to England several years ago now holds the position of Technical Director with a Degree and Masters – it is great to be part of a person’s growth.     

5.    Are there specific women who have been role models or mentors for you in your career?  

The one person who I can truly say made such a positive impact on my career is a wonderful lady called Ramona Slocum.  Ramona was the VP Human Resources of Parker Hannifin and I first worked for her when Parker acquired the company I was working for.  I learnt so much from Ramona and she opened my eyes to so many opportunities in the world of HR.  A coach, mentor and teacher who invested her time and trust in me so that I could grow into the person I am today.