empowered women, empower women.
Hi I’m Eva, Founder of hergen &
this is my story.
After escaping the first Gulf War in Iraq, I was lucky enough to call Australia home at the age of seven. At the time however, I felt displaced, out of my comfort zone, I was taken away from ‘home’.
I also knew that being a female came with an unwritten code of conduct I had to abide by and I was determined to break that in every way possible. I did everything I wasn’t supposed to as a young woman. I got married late (at 25), I married someone outside of the community, I went to uni, had kids late (at 30) and forged a successful career. These so called normal events were anything but the norm in the community that I had come from. I was proud to be demonstrating to my daughter that she could achieve anything and that did not have to come with a set of predetermined boundaries, ideologies or expectations.
It wasn’t until later in my career that I was challenged as a woman. Prior to that, I never understood women that would say, ‘I get treated differently at work’. I guess I may have just struck luck with the employers I’d had. That is until I was interviewed for a role.
During the interview I asked the CEO the classic question of, ‘what do you think will be my biggest challenge?’ Without hesitation, he immediately replied, ‘the fact that you are a young female, in a General Manager role at the leadership table and we’ve never had that before’.
At first I was shocked to hear these words, but upon reflection with my husband I simply justified this and told myself that maybe the CEO was being honest. It wasn’t until my third round interview that the CEO advised me I was successful in the role, made me the formal offer and said, ‘I’m still really concerned that you have a young family at home, this is a senior role and I’m not sure how you would manage your priorities’. I later took the role with the sheer determination to change his mindset and that of the other men in that leadership team.
However, I soon realised that no matter how hard I worked, what suggestions I had for improvement, or how many hours I did (not that it matters!), I was always going to be a young female, in a General Manager role with a family. So rather than fight a losing battle, I decided that there was a better way. A better way for the amazing women I knew and a better way for my daughter to grow up.
I realised that there is a lot of support for women, however we are generally wired to find support by chatting with our closest and nearest and this can be rather subjective and we often find support by chance. I wanted to remove the accidental nature in which women find support, and make this a proactive, empowering and self driven experience. And so HerGen began. This is her generation to be whoever she wants and I simply want to support her in getting there!