The final interview in our These Young Queens series is with Lorna Falconer, Logistics Manager for Brentford Football Club. Below, she tells us about the importance of networking, her love for The Times, and how she handles gender issues in the football industry.
Tell us about your first job…
My first Saturday job was at a Jamaican grocery store but my first career job was in a high-street insurance brokers. I was based on Kilburn High Road (north west London) which has a large Irish community and so I had to earn the trust of a community which was different to my own. Fortunately, through exposure to my dad’s Irish business partners, I already had some insight into the Irish culture before I started. This was my first time working closely with people from another culture and I knew I had to prove myself. It was a very useful experience and I’ve taken the skills that I gained into my career in the sports industry.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
From a career perspective, I am proud to have helped open up doors in the football industry for people from ethnic minority groups. On a personal level, I’m most proud of my amazing family and becoming a homeowner.
What has been the key to your success so far?
I would say my networking skills have led me to every opportunity that I have had. You can only gain so much industry knowledge from reading and watching TV, it’s much better to talk to people in the know.
I’d say that my strong work ethic and the fact that I’ve always had to prove myself in my career have also helped me get to where I am today.
What do you do for “me time”?
I love to put my headphones in, get my trainers on and go for a run or walk to be alone with my thoughts. It’s important to be out in the big wide world on your own sometimes, as I think you need time to accept yourself before you can go out and do things for others.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
As a woman working in a male-dominated industry, I find that some people try to belittle me. To deal with this, a male associate once advised me to pretend that the culprits (who are often men) are rude to me because they want me but can’t have me. Although this may not necessarily be the case, I find it allows me to remain in control of the situation. It’s very empowering!
My dad gave me another good piece of advice: “always remember that you are the very best. If you believe you are the very best, you can do whatever you want to do. It’s only you that’s stopping you”. He always said this in a very matter-of-fact way, as if I would be ridiculous to ever question it. That’s probably why it’s stuck with me!
What are you reading and watching at the moment?
I read The Times newspaper cover-to-cover every day. To me, it’s one of the only newspapers that doesn’t give you a biased opinion; just the facts. I’m about to start reading a book called The Gold Mine Effect by Rasmus Ankersen, which looks at whether people are born gifted or if they can learn to be exceptional. It promises to be a good read!
Are you a member of any women support/empowerment groups?
I’ve worked alongside several women’s groups in the past. Unfortunately, I don’t always feel supported by other women in my industry, as some seem to feel threatened by the presence of another woman. I believe we should all focus on our end goal and if someone says or does something to jeopardize that, you have to acknowledge it. My advice for women wanting to work in the football industry would be to make sure that any women groups you are working with are actually beneficial to you. The world of football can be very “dog eat dog” so you need to be prepared.
What does your future look like?
Career-wise, I would love to eventually run my own successful professional football club which also provides education and internship opportunities. These opportunities would be very accessible and would match successful people and aspirational learners.
I’m not sure that I have an ultimate personal goal – although, I would like to travel the world – but my daily goals always involve happiness, health and success.
Connect with Lorna on Twitter: @Lorna_Football