What does it mean to be a woman in business? We hear from six trailblazing females about the tests and triumphs they have experienced throughout their careers.
“I have always been a bit of a tomboy and never considered being female a barrier to doing whatever I want with my life.
“When I left school, I worked with my dad as an electrician, this involved working on building sites and being the only girl on my college course.
“In the early days of the business, we used to sell climbing frames and garden bark……Grant (husband and managing director of Keenan Recycling) used to hand me the tools as I was a bit of a whizz with an electric screwdriver after my time spent working with my dad.
“Being a woman in business, I think you have to work harder than a man to get the same level of respect, from men and unfortunately women too, but I like the challenge and I’m not complaining… I’m a Transport Manager who can wire a house, drive a JCB, ride a horse, cook, clean and Zumba!”
“For me in terms of overcoming challenges in my sector, all I can say is that being a community and youth worker is all about informal education, exploring new opportunities, promoting equal opportunities, challenging discrimination and supporting young people to realise their potential and achieve their goals, so as a female worker I wanted to stand strong and present myself as a positive role model for other girls and young people to hopefully feel inspired by and empowered to achieve their own aspirations in life.
“From a very early age I experienced sexism and prejudice on a daily basis and was determined to make a difference and challenge those who felt they could undermine and judge girls and women inappropriately.
“I have always tried to push myself in terms of learning new skills and gaining different experiences and my attitude is that no one has the right to tell me I cannot do anything I put my mind to. Securing new management positions still required me to work twice as hard and put in twice as many hours for others to take me seriously and treat me with respect and dignity.
“On a daily basis as a CEO I work an average of between 8 – 10 hours per day, I am extremely organised and can manage a huge volume of work at any one time. I manage deadlines very well and coordinate my work areas according to a priority management matrix tool, which is very helpful. I also have a great staff team, who I can consult and delegate comfortably to, which is always helpful.”
“It has not been easy at times to pursue a career in the Financial Services and Tech, but it’s an industry I love and I am very passionate about. Over the years I have pursued and developed into the role that I have now and will continue to do so. I invest in myself, and I do not expect anyone to do it for me.
“Throughout my career and personal life, I have focused on getting closer and closer to where I want to be. Granted, I have pondered what route to take along the way, but not for long. No one is going to put me where I want to be, other than myself. It can be overwhelming at times, but you have to get into the mindset of just doing it, no matter what, and the tasks become easier when you start and get into the flow.
“I am always working on a better me. It’s a continuous process, and a personal goal. Focus on yourself.”
“On International Women’s Day this year the theme is #BalanceforBetter, which I interpret as both an agenda to improve gender balance and work-life balance for working women.
“Gender balance is necessary in all aspects of life from the boardroom to the media, on the sports field and in the classroom. Whilst my sector attracts a high proportion of talented women, many drop out of the industry after having children so we can see an imbalance at senior level positions. But that’s definitely changing as attitudes to flexible working change and I’m delighted now to see so many successful women in the communications sector now influencing organisations at board level.
“My journey to launching a start-up business with a newborn is not the norm I guess, but I found it has worked for me in terms of work-life balance as they both grew, and also influenced how I recruit and retain my extremely talented female team members. Whilst having to attend events and meetings outside working hours does occasionally happen, I value being able to invest my time when and where it's most needed, be that to work hard on my career or to enjoy quality time with my family.”
“It’s a very exciting time for women in business - I’ve had the pleasure of hosting Retreats for female business leaders who want to find balance and eliminate self-doubt to truly excel in growing their businesses. At Duo, Laura and I focus on identifying behavioural patterns, how this transfers into work mode and ultimately how to take control of your life. So far the Retreats have been a huge success and we’ve got another two lined up on 20 June and 26 September for women who want to raise the bar.”
“As Beyoncé once said, “The Most Alluring Thing A Women Can Have Is Confidence” … I have worked in many industries from Recruitment to Vehicle Hire, from Air Hostess to Call Centre Management and now my current role in Supply Chain Management.
“From leaving school I didn’t know what I wanted, I didn’t stick in as much as I should so didn’t have the grades I would have liked. However, I built the confidence to begin my career journey, never did I think I would be successful in a sales environment as back then I was very quiet – which is hard to believe now!
“All of my roles have been sales orientated, and with that comes many hurdles, along with challenges to overcome. I think my confidence, enthusiasm and passion gets me through each day, because people buy from people!
“Now, I am the most confident person you will meet, working in an industry that I love and in a role that I excel and enjoy.”
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement