Transitions comes with reflection and I’ve had much time to do so of late, undertaking a massive change as I step forward to be so much more there for my loved ones.
My professional world has long been my comfort zone. Driving companies and movements forward to be much more effective from good to maybe great has been my mission and has totally energised me. Leaving this world is challenging me personally in different and totally unexpected ways.
I have always loved “performance” and as a woman have played many roles throughout my life – as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, professional, leader, mentor, runner and learner – now carer. Each of these roles is expanding who I am – shaping me into the woman that is reaching out to you today!
As I think of International Women’s Day 2020, now more than ever I believe it’s about:
knowing who you are, what you want and not letting anyone recast that dream and reality.
And as women and our male allies join forces, it’s about supporting one another to achieve our very best. #Onwardsandupwards together!
But are we really there yet?
These bold and brilliant examples have made me deeply consider how we think, feel and do towards women in our world today.
1. ‘Be a Lady They Said’ shows the uncomfortable and impossible standards forced on women today – from appearance to attitude, elegance to grace, provocative to normal! #bealady #bringingbackthewoman
2. Always #LikeAGirl campaign explores the enduring impact gender stereotypes have on young girls. When their self-esteem is low and self-belief is fragile we must encourage girls to be brave, unstoppable, keep playing and embrace failures. Run, throw, swing, dance, kick, lead #LikeAGirl!
3. The UN Women #GenerationEquality campaign is bringing together advocates visionaries and change makers of all ages and genders to empower women and realise rights for an equal future. We must unite, share and learn from each other, across cultures, ages, backgrounds and experiences. Striving very hard collectively for an equal and enabled world where each of us has totally equal opportunity! #EachforEqual
We must not forget our male allies!
Many of the great mentors and supporters in my life have been men. Their backing and belief has helped me to achieve so many things! Martin Schroeter, Dr. John Kelly and Kuniya Tsubota who helped me and the teams deliver great outcomes for IBM, Steve Kaufman ex-CEO of the Arrow Group who played a huge part in making me the business person I am today, Sir Roger Carr Chairman at BAE Systems for his support during my board tenure and Sir Peter Gherson, Chairman at National Grid for his learnings. And the greatest of gratitude goes to Graham Clarkson my husband, and Jimmy Green my brother, who have been there through it all. To these men and many others – a BIG thank you for your allyship in action!
Being who we truly are!
To those of us labelled as…
- Aggressive – Keep being assertive
- Bossy – keep on leading
- Difficult – keep telling it as you see it
- Too Much – keep filling the space
- Awkward – keep asking the hard questions
Do not limit yourself to make others accept you – be who you are!
The Sisterhood: Who inspires me and what’s our advice?
There are countless strong and fearless women I follow, mentor, sponsor and engage with and I have a video to come which features some of them – Michelle Peluso, Melanie Richards, Ruth Owen, Aarthi Kamath, Gemma Clarkson, Veronica Allen and Vanessa Brown! Amazingly different, totally inspiring women from 3 generations share their voice and advice to us all, breathing life into IWD. Stay tuned! Update: our video is live. Watch it here!