Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
Where there is change needed, there must be a platform where one can have a voice – whatever the movement. As this year’s themes are ‘#EmbraceEquity’ and ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender quality’, I have been inspired and excited to be talking to our clients about the fantastic achievements of STEM. This in itself started out around 2001, with a conversation and an acronym and since then has resulted in one of the most successful programmes for young women this past two decades. We are now reaping the benefits.
Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
I have always taken my career into my own hands, so I have not faced many barriers as such – unlike many I know that have. Over the years, I have had amazing men and women mentors who have guided me on the right path. The one barrier I did overcome was my voice. I found that when I was speaking in a boardroom, I couldn’t be heard and this wasn’t to do with anything other than the fact my voice was just not strong enough! So I did some voice training – game changer!
What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
Life is more than work. When you are busy, it is hard to remember your family, your friends and yourself. Also do not feel guilty to have some downtime of your own!
How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship or senior leadership roles in their career?
The role of an entrepreneur and as a leader can bring many challenges and it is not for the faint-hearted, whatever our gender. Confidence and the courage to follow your gut instinct comes from within and when there are challenging times, make sure you have a good set of trusted allies around you! If you are looking at setting up a new venture, make sure you do the right due diligence and surround yourself with experts to help you achieve your goal.
What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
Take every opportunity you can! The world is very different now to 30 years ago. There are many mentors, self-help books and online guidance to support you in your decision. Don’t just settle for second best or just one opportunity to capitalise on – look around you for a portfolio of ventures. When starting out on your career, it is the right time to think about diverse opportunities you can get involved in to benefit your future life.
Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?
If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Dame Stephanie Shirley – To hear more about her inspirational story and ask lots of questions about her journey to being one of the most successful billionaire women of our day.
Angelina Jolie – To benefit from her experience and innate ability to make a difference in a world that needs kindness, generosity and courage.
HM Queen Elizabeth II – To gain just a glimpse of her ability to reinvent and modernise an institution that was well over 1000 years old through listening and empathy.