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International Women’s Day Series: Maxeon’s Global HR Lead, Rachael Fitzpatrick
Posted April 17, 2024, 9:53 am

Maxeon’s Global HR Lead, Rachael Fitzpatrick, has a career trajectory marked by unexpected twists and invaluable lessons. She personifies the spirit of International Women’s Day’s theme: “Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress,” and we had the privilege of hearing her insights on women’s leadership development.


Rachael’s story begins with a lighthearted yet powerful anecdote. “Humour has always helped me in terms of putting differences on the table,” she shares. Rachael recounts instances where male colleagues casually addressed her as “Sweetheart.” Her response? She affectionately dubbed them “Pumpkin.” This simple act not only diffused tension but subtly conveyed her stance.


Another memorable incident occurred during a meeting where Rachael was mistakenly referred to as a PA by the Head of Sales. Rather than confronting the comment head-on, Rachael opted for a playful response. She waited until the end of the meeting before humorously reminding the Head of Sales about her HR responsibilities, highlighting the importance of mutual respect and recognition of roles.


“Asking questions is my second strategy. A polite query to suggest that things can be seen differently.”


Reflecting on her career journey, Rachael emphasises the significance of seizing opportunities and investing in personal growth. “Counting yourself in means grabbing all the opportunities, even when you’re unsure where they’ll lead,” she explains. From embarking on a holiday to Japan that turned into a 7-year stay and ignited her passion for HR to receiving support to pursue higher education later in life, Rachael’s journey underscores the transformative power of investments in oneself.


Moreover, Rachael acknowledges the pivotal role of mentorship in her development. She credits several managers for imparting invaluable lessons, from fostering a business-focused mindset to encouraging resilience in the face of failure. Rachael also highlights the indispensable support from home, citing the importance of having a supportive partner who walks alongside you through challenges and triumphs.


As Rachael navigates the complexities of women’s leadership development, she emphasises the importance of proactive encouragement and support in the workplace.


Rachael advocates for carefully monitoring women’s progression. “Carefully watch your women and see if they are putting themselves forward. A lot of women will wait until they believe they are almost overqualified before asking for advancement. Encouragement to move before that point is necessary as well as the assurance that there is support when they need to ask questions and bounce ideas.”


She also stresses the value of diverse perspectives and urges businesses to back colleagues who bring fresh insights to the table. “Look for those (both male and female) who will bring different opinions and energy to the table, not just someone who will ‘fit’ the current set of personalities,” she said. “Back your colleagues when they make decisions, statements, or observations that are worth being heard.”

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