International Women's Day - Sarah Heath

Celebrating International Women’s Day at Gilbert Stephens Solicitors – Sarah Heath

10th March 2020

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors are delighted to be celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) again this year. Celebrated annually since the 1900s on 8th March, IWD acknowledges the accomplishments made by women and aims to progress gender equality on a global scale.

We are very fortunate to have such a great selection of inspirational and talented women working with us here at the firm. In celebration of IWD this month, we would like to tell you about Sarah Heath, Chartered Legal Executive in our Conveyancing Department.

Sarah is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives with over 12 years legal experience. Having joined the firm in 2013, Sarah has completed her CILEX exams and now specialises in Residential Conveyancing. Sarah deals with a wide range of conveyancing transactions to include purchases involving the Help to Buy Scheme.

Sarah is also an active committee member of the Young Professionals Network (YPN), a founding member of the Exeter Property Circle (EPC) and has most recently been shortlisted for ‘Chartered Legal Executive of the Year’ in the DASLS Awards 2020.

We had a chat with Sarah about what inspires her, her career at Gilbert Stephens, and whether she believes there are equal opportunities for women in the field…

  1. Who has been the most inspirational woman in your life and why?

As clichéd as it sounds it would have to be my mum. Having moved to England from the Philippines at the age of 20, she ended up raising both myself and my sister completely on her own.

Growing up in a female dominated household and watching her as a single mum work tirelessly to provide for us inspired me to work hard to get to where I am today.

  1. Who inspires you the most professionally?

My colleagues, Kim McDonald and Alexandra Croft, have been a huge inspiration.

Since I joined Gilbert Stephens as a secretary in 2013, they have encouraged my progression within the firm and continue to do so. It’s inspiring to work alongside other female solicitors who don’t view another’s progression as a threat to their own position.

  1. Do you have a favourite inspirational quote?

I have always loved reading, and have always been inspired by the Brontë sisters, as each of their novels touch on the struggles faced by women during that time; struggles that many women still face today.

My favourite quote has to be:

“I am no bird and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will” – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre.

  1. What drew you to working in law? 

Visiting a family friend who was a Solicitor. He offered me a role as an Office Junior when I was in secondary school and encouraged me to start CILEX.

  1. Do you think there are equal opportunities for women in law?

A lot more women are training to become Lawyers, and hopefully we will start to see more women in more progressive roles within the legal system. However, there is still a lot to be done before we can say the playing field is equal; would we need an International Woman’s Day if this were already the case?

  1. What do you love most about your job?

A lot of my clients are first time buyers, so I really enjoy helping them get their foot on the property ladder.

  1. What does being an inspirational woman mean to you?

To me, it means being a feminist.

I feel it would be a huge achievement if I were to inspire other women. It is an important personal value to help build up other women and encourage them to reach their full potential.

To find out more about IWD 2020, click here.