Female Empowerment in your life and career
Yesterday I was invited to breakfast event hosted by Lansons PR firm on The Female Empowerment Strategy. It was a day that started with tears and confusion. I woke to the news of the Manchester bombing. I sat and watched the news from 6am until the children awoke just watching and crying. Those families who were yet to know what had happened to their children. Innocent young lives taken by evil. As the boys got up transformers went on and I got ready to go to London, choosing the brightest dress and lipstick I own.
At 7am all three boys had got up, I gave them a tight hug and explained what had happened the night before, that was a hard discussion that a mum shouldn’t have to have with her young boys. They accepted it, I can’t say they understood, but I told them they were safe and mummy and daddy were safe and that we loved them very much.
Female Empowerment Event
The day was fuelled with emotion. I met Emma and Lotty, fellow personal finance influencers, at the event and we grabbed a coffee and some fruit (croissants!) and took our seats.
The speakers were Michèle Dix CBE, Managing Director of Crossrail 2, Jo Gibbons, Head of Health Industries Marketing PwC and Claire Parsons Co-Founder of Lansons and chair of the event. Three incredibly successful ad powerful women.
Michele Dix spoke first and wow, I was bowled over by this woman. She was confident yet gracious. You wouldn’t want to cross her but you would love for her to be your mentor. She talked about the power of sideways and backwards steps. The decision she has made to work part-time her entire post children career, yes, she is the managing director of Crossrail!
No-one gives you power, you just take it – Michèle Dix
Jo Gibbons used to work in politics and was advisor to Tony Blair, um yes, the actual prime minister who I voted into power in 1997, me aged 20, first time of voting. She is a powerhouse who has had the most amazing career, she recounted trips to Afghanistan and middle eastern extreme sexism. She discussed women in sport that she champions.
Never compare yourself to others – Jo Gibbons
Claire Parsons is the co-founder of Lansons, a PR agency whom I work with closely from an influencer marketing perspective. A large firm that looks after the PR relationship for around 60-70 financial institutions. Claire runs a firm that is 75% female, enough said.
Question time followed the keynotes from each of the speaker. The questions and discussions were rather corporate career lead, how to manage sexism and gender bias. We discussed choices, and making the choice that is right for you. We talked about the importance of looking out for others, mentor those on the way up. But what we didn’t mention was the destructive female, the alpha male.
The last question of the day came from me. How do you behave when you are faced with a senior female who bullies you, rips you apart in the public arena? I experienced this in my last corporate role where I was a senior commercial manager at EE. A woman who forced me to make a choice between my family and my work. I obviously chose my family and negotiated redundancy from the firm after a relocation. She made me cry, she broke me for around four months and when there was no fight left I quit. Fight or flight? I chose to fly. The gift of redundancy (arranged by my male boss) funded the start-up of Mrs Mummypenny, now a flourishing company which means I will never have to return to the corporate world.
Several people approached me at the end of the event, a therapist with 2 teenage daughters, Rachel from Lansons and Michèle Dix to say thank you for that question and bringing up the issue.
Collaborate, do not compete
Please support the women around you. Collaborate and do not compete. Help those younger shining stars on the way up be that in the corporate world or the self-employed world. Make time to mentor others and enrich their lives with your knowledge and experience. This is the greatest female empowerment in the world.
Who are your female role models? I would love to know the women you look up to, are influenced by and who you talk to for advice.