Ahead of International Women’s Day, we caught up our Trustee, Debra Fullman, who shared an insight into her personal and professional journey as a young woman making her way in a male-dominated world, to her current position here at The Feathers.
My early childhood was spent living above my grandmother’s wool and haberdashery shop in East Ham, East London and I spent many a happy hour “helping” my mother and grandmother in their business both in the shop and in local markets. It was incredibly hard work, especially on the freezing market stalls in February, but my mother and grandmother were very strong women and were the best role models a young girl could have.
We then moved to Dagenham and I got the train to school in Upminster each day. My school was particularly good at encouraging confidence and self-belief in all pupils and that you could do whatever you wanted in life with hard work and commitment. At this time, it never crossed my mind that girls, were regarded by some, as anything other than equal to our male counterparts.
I went on to study for a degree in Economics at Salford University and on graduating, began my career at a firm of stockbrokers in the City. Back in 1982, this was a very male dominated world and it was the first time I had ever experienced discrimination – a girl from a council house in Dagenham definitely did not fit the mould. Over the next 33 years, I continued to fight my corner, progressing up through the firm, becoming a Member of the Stock Exchange, a Fellow of the Securities Institute and having three beautiful daughters along the way, all of whom have grown up to be strong, independent women like their grandmother and great grandmother before them. I have seen the City change a lot over that time and it is definitely a much more accessible place to work for all now.
After retiring in 2015, I became involved with the Feathers Association and witnessed first-hand, the excellent work it does in supporting and nurturing young people in London and now South Wales. I became a trustee in 2021 and I am delighted at how the charity is moving forward and it is especially gratifying to be working alongside such a vibrant and dedicated team of both men and women.
We thank Debra for taking the time to share her story. The Feathers Association champions the contribution of Women at all levels of our charity and We hope by highlighting Debra’s journey, our own female members can take inspiration and reach their full potential too.