To mark International Women's Day 2022, which will be celebrated on March 8th, we are bringing you a series of profiles on some of the women who work at New Covent Garden Market. There are more women working each year in what is a traditionally male-dominated Market and we want to show you why and how you could be amongst that growing number. Here, we talk to Jo Breare at Covent Garden Market Authority
What is your background?
I didn’t take the traditional route to management by leaving school and going to university. I left school after my GCSEs at 16 years old and started in the mail room of an aerospace company. A few years later I started my career in facilities management at Aer Lingus before moving to my next role at Hounslow Council. Hounslow own Western International Market, which is a smaller version of NCGM and while I was there I did a professional qualification with the British Institute of Facilities and Workplace Management. I’ve had three roles here at NCGM. The first was as facilities manager, next I was the operations director and now I’m the general manager.
Who do you work for, what’s your job title and can you pick out some of the interesting parts of your role?
Covent Garden Market Authority are the landlord who operate the market and I’m the General Manager of a team of 23 staff with 85 more contracted to help us with the very important day to day running of the market. Probably the best thing about my job is that I work across all areas of the business and Market. I’ve had my role since mid-2020 and like every role before it I am always learning, which is interesting for me. I love the variety of tasks and the challenges of the multiple priorities. I also love that I get to work with a variety of people who are involved with NCGM.
How long have you worked at New Covent Garden Market?
I moved to New Covent Garden Market in 2008 so this is my 14thyear! So much has changed and improved since I started and I’m proud to have been part of it all.
What do you love about working here?
I’m still here after 14 years so I must love it! Mostly it’s the people, the continuous challenge, the variety of the work I do and the way the business and community of the Market works.
What advice would you give to women who might want to come and work at NCGM?
Anyone can come here! The theme for IWD this year is ‘break the bias’. It’s about a gender equal world, free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive. These are all things that matter to me personally and it’s what I want for NCGM.
You don’t need any qualifications to come to NCGM and start what could be an amazing career and I want to see more young women starting their careers here. We have 175 different successful businesses here and between them the variety of interesting jobs is immense.
For any young woman starting out my advice would be put together a simple CV, look at our website to see the list of businesses based here, then select some to write to personally to say you’re looking for work. Then when you get here, do like I’ve done. Be interested and enthusiastic, work hard, be a good colleague and put yourself forward for new challenges so that you learn on the job. Then opportunities may well come your way.
What’s your favourite pastime outside work?
Inside work it’s a bit of banter with my colleagues. Outside work I’d describe myself as an active relaxer - it’s walking, running and enjoying the great outdoors. I also love baking cakes.