We continue our series with Anne Menzies from Cirrus Logic who shares her views with Madeleine Kelly.

Please describe your role, and how your career has progressed through your industry?

My role at Cirrus Logic is that of IP Paralegal within the Patents/Legal department, providing case management and general administration support to our IP Counsel and IP Manager. I am responsible for our inhouse patent database, making sure all the patent information is correctly entered into the database such that it reflects what is happening at the various patent offices. The database is also our portal for invention submissions, so training inventors on using the system is a vital part of my role. I also train our various Outside Counsel’s from the US/GB/OZ on how we want them to use our database and report any patent information.

Whether helping with invoicing, being involved with projects, helping organise our UK Patent Committee and managing the Patent Award Recognition program for inventors, no two days are the same, and I love that.
I have always worked in an office environment, my first job of nine years, was working for an large Edinburgh Legal Firm, who had in the early 90s an Intellectual Property department (few of us out with the department really knew what that meant), oh how times have changed! My career progressed from being the second employee for a new start-up company (twice) where I was the “Jackie” of all trades and being the only female in an office of men.

I took a career break to raise my son and then when he was starting school the opportunity arose to join the Intellectual Property department at Wolfson Microelectronics, who were later bought by Cirrus Logic. After a year working in the patents field and understanding the terminology and what a PCT was, a continuation application, an assignment/declaration etc, my manager encouraged me to study for the CIPA Patent Administrator qualification. I was terrified, I’d left school 30 years ago and hadn’t studied or sat an exam in as long! It was the combination of my encouraging manager and the support and belief of my husband that allowed me to have the courage to travel every week to attend the course and make time to study at home with a five year old. One year later I sat my exam and passed with flying colours, what a feeling of achievement that was, and here I am now.

If a gender equality issue was to occur in your industry or workplace, what do you think is the best way to address this?

Do you mean gender inequality? Because if I felt a situation like that arose, I would immediately engage with my manager and HR, who I have no doubt would deal with the situation and there would not be any repercussions, my workplace is an environment where we can be open and raise issues which are listened to and help/advice given.

“Collective individualism” is an important part of this year’s theme, why do you believe individualism is important for gender equality?

We are all different, that’s what makes life so interesting and wouldn’t it be boring if we were all clones. Any environment where you have a lot of people working together is going to be a collection of individuals, individuals with different skills, needs and talents, and we may be treated differently dependent on those needs, some people may require different equipment to do their job or work different hours but we should all be treated equally and fairly.

How do you celebrate women in your workplace and make a positive difference throughout the year?

Cirrus Logic have females in various senior leadership roles within the company, the company offer a wide range of activities in celebration of women in engineering, there is the attendance of an annual Women in Technology conference, throughout the year there are motivational female speakers invited to share their story of success with the company. A Women’s Leadership Team has been set up, its aim to provide events, speakers and initiatives. Throughout the year Cirrus celebrate the female workforce in what has historically been a male dominated environment. I am proud to be a female working for Cirrus Logic.

How do you motivate others to achieve gender equality?

By setting the best example as a woman I can, treating working relationships with colleagues equally regardless of gender.