The Short Cut:

A quick fire chat about working life with Laura Farnworth

Laura Farnworth, General Counsel & Company Secretary at Atom bank
At the heart of the Nurture Network is the power of sharing experiences. From breakthrough career moments, to best ever advice, how to deal with stress and the women that inspire them. The Short Cut designed to bring you a snapshot of our members’ working lives. Today we’re speaking to Laura Farnworth, General Counsel and Company Secretary at Atom bank.

Tell us about your breakthrough career moment

When I was informed I would be promoted to General Counsel and Company Secretary of Atom. It was one of those wonderful moments when all the hard work suddenly felt worth it but also mixed with a huge degree of trepidation about the challenges ahead (albeit it is the trepidation that keeps me on my toes!).

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?

A cock-up is not a f**k-up until it can’t be fixed. My mentor told me this as a trainee solicitor to encourage me to speak up as soon as I saw any issues or problems and it is something that has stuck with me (and I also commonly pass on to members of my team!).

Have you ever felt held back as a woman in business? How did you respond?

Once I felt I was being passed over for promotion – and if I was then this was perhaps for a number of reasons, not just being a woman – but I left that employer and never looked back.

How do you protect your mental health in moments of pressure?

Likely one of two ways – a cuddle with my daughter whilst reading some Mr Men or a run. I wear a Garmin fitness tracker and one of these causes my stress levels to drop to those you would see whilst sleeping and the other causes it to go off the scale, I’ll leave you to work out which is which!

Do you have any hobbies to keep you busy in your spare time?

I used to love playing hockey (great stress relief) but now it is pretty much running and then as much “me time” as possible, whether that be reading, enjoying an afternoon at the spa or rustling up some amazing cakes. 

I feel empowered when…

I am prepared for a meeting and have absolute confidence in what I am saying. It may take a little extra time to get the facts in order as well as pre-empting the questions that will come up but it is absolutely worth it to walk into that room and know you are ready.

The world would be a better place when…

…We all appreciate that there are differences between each and every one of us but also that is in no way a bad thing – we just need to learn how to combine our respective skills to make the best of the opportunities we have.

The woman everyone should know about…

….Irene Dorner “I really do think the next push has got to come from the senior middle-management women who must stand up and be counted on this earlier than I did.”

The woman who empowers me the most is…

….My daughter – it is thinking about her and how she will view me and my achievements in the future that drives me on.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

It has to be my home country of Northern Ireland – I definitely took the scenery, rich culture, amazing food and people for granted when I lived there but I really appreciate my trips back now. It is a little gem of a place (with one of the best spas at Galgorm, but I may be biased!).

Galgorm Luxury Hotel & Spa Ireland