Posted on Friday March 4, 2022
International Women’s Day (IWD) provides a key moment to celebrate women’s achievements in the workplace and showcase employer initiatives and support. As a leading textile supplier, Vision Linens, would like to use this platform to shine a light on one woman who’s career is thriving and hopes to inspire further women to achieve their full potential. So, for International Women’s Day 2022, here’s an interview with Muriel Hall, Vision’s Sales Director, International.
Tell us about yourself and your background before Vision
Born in Northern Ireland, I come from a large family of which I was one of six children. Although I’m not the youngest of my four brothers and one sister, I certainly look like the baby of the family, or that’s what they tell me. When I was fourteen, my family was hit hard with the loss of my sister to cancer, leaving a husband and nine-month-old baby girl. I don’t think any family escapes this dreadful disease, but it certainly gives you a different perspective on many things.
I grew up in a farming community, however I always wanted to work in the prison service. My parents had a very different idea, especially with living in Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles. My mum arranged an interview for me at Liddell linen mill in Donaghcloney, which was only three miles from where I lived at the time. Liddell would go on to be acquired by Vision Linens in 2008. I was successful and got the job way back in May 1987. My original role was based around production and wages calculation, before moving into sales.
What’s your role within Vision?
I was recently promoted to Director of Sales, International. I was incredibly humbled to be offered this role. For a number of years now, I have worked within the international sales team. I have worked hard and put in an incredible number of hours, including many middle-of-the-night phone calls with colleagues and customers in the Middle East. To be given this opportunity of leading Vision’s international sales team, a growing team at that and manage a rich portfolio of hotels is incredible and I look forward to making a great success of it.
Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
To be honest, I have never faced any issues with being a woman. I don’t feel I have ever been discriminated against or missed out on an opportunity due to being a woman. Perhaps I may have felt differently if I had been employed by a different company. Sometimes I may get an email addressed to Mr Hall, but that is about it. I remember one customer who phoned me and was surprised that I was a woman, saying “Oh, you are a lady?” Obviously, he doesn’t know me!
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of being able to be a wife and mum of four amazing kids, all while being able to work full-time and in the same job after 35 years. It hasn’t always been easy, but it is very rewarding.
Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?
It is important for diversity within a workplace, not just a balance across genders, but across all characteristics, including race, age and religion etc. It brings a fresh array of perspectives to the table.
How can we encourage more women to pursue senior leadership roles in their career?
I would tell them, always be true to yourself. If you have the right attitude and work hard, nothing is impossible. I have found myself, in what many would class as a male-orientated role, but have always been confident in my abilities. Never doubt yourself, be confident. This world is constantly changing and eventually everyone will have move with it. The workplace is the same, we have to be prepared to adapt and move on to bigger and better things ahead.
Which powerful woman do you admire the most?
My wonderful Mum. My Mum is a very active 87 year old and she has looked after all of her 18 grandchildren. Her support has allowed my siblings and I to go out to work and be successful in our careers. Even now, she continues to look after her great grandchildren. She is amazing, driving about doing school pickups, gardening and painting in the house. I only hope I am still as active when I reach 87. And who knows, I might even look older than 30 by then!