At our April event we were joined by Joy Kent, the Chief Executive of Chwarae Teg who gave us an insight into her career history and the work she has been doing with Chwarae Teg.

Chwarae Teg was set up in 1992 and since then the goal has been to help ensure that women in Wales can enter the workplace, develop their skills and build rewarding careers.  But as with many charities during the economic recession Chwarae Teg has had a tough few years and when Joy joined only 12 months ago she had a big challenge on her hands; close the gap in the finances and refresh the purpose of the charity!  Yet 12 months on Joy has managed to achieve these targets and Chwarae Teg is refreshed and ready to go again!

But what is Chwarae Teg about?

The vision of Chwarae Teg is to create a Wales where women  achieve and prosper and there are three missions that have been developed to help them target their work:

  1. Working with women to broaden horizons and build confidence

This mission is delivered through projects that work with women to support and enhance their opportunities to progress at work such as the Agile Nation project.

2. Working with employers to create modern workplaces that are successful by harnessing everyone’s contribution

In this mission Chwarae Teg directly supports employers to transform workplace cultures from being based on the old status and hierarchy developed through the industrial era to ones that are more appropriate for the 21st century with people trusted, valued and supported to contribute as much as possible to the success of the organisation.

3. Working with influencers, educators and decision makers to build a society that values, supports and benefits women and men equally

To support this mission Chwarae Teg is strengthening their research and policy capacity to help ensure that in today’s rapidly changing landscape they can provide more support, advice and guidance.

A potted career history for Joy

Joy has had a varied career and she admitted that had never expected to be a Chief Executive as she was from a working class family.  Joy shared with us one of her earliest memories which was her mum buying a big Victorian house and turning it into a boarding house working with the probationary service so there is no real surprise that Joy went on to work with Charities particularly in the housing sector! But Joy didn’t have it all handed to her on a plate.  Her parents were older when they had her and they were also not well people , and with her Dad dying when she was only 11 Joy was left to help care for her Mum throughout her teenage years, who then died when Joy was 17 years old leaving her effectively homeless until she got her first job.  Previous to that, after failing her 11+ Joy went to school where they concentrated on things like typing and cooking for girls,and the best they hoped you could achieve would be to become a typist – Joy even admitted herself that she thought she was too stupid to go to college!  However, fate played a hand and with the economy plummeting Joy had the opportunity to go to college.  After getting her admin job Joy chose to study for her A-Levels in night school and all changed from there!

Joy shared with us that she believes that it is your early experiences that shape you and that she didn’t have the easiest of starts but it is this that she believes gave her her tenacity and that it was her Mum’s belief in social justice that led her into working in the Charity sector.  Along the way she also learnt that you need to know who you are , “know you, be you, look after you”, and that you shouldn’t beat yourself up for the things that you are no good at – focus on your strengths.

And finally, we should all do what we love and life is so much easier if you love what you do!

If you would like to find out more about Chwarae Teg and the work they do, or become a ‘friend’ of them visit the Chwarae Teg website.