Happy International Women’s Day everyone!

As a woman who has always worked in male dominated sectors, from the steel industry to non-fashion retailing and now the logistics sector, I know how hard it can be to believe in the opportunities that are there for women.

Happy International Women’s Day everyone!

As a woman who has always worked in male dominated sectors, from the steel industry to non-fashion retailing and now the logistics sector, I know how hard it can be to believe in the opportunities that are there for women. Sometimes people need to see it, to believe they can be it and when I first started in business, there were no women at all in main board roles at the companies where I worked. However, here I am proud to be leading the board of directors at Advanced Supply Chain.

I didn’t start my career determined to make it to MD, I just took on every role I got with a determination to be authentic to who I am (a very Northern, very down to earth, plain talking kind of woman) and to make a difference in that role. I grabbed every opportunity I was given, and I tried to get involved in things where I knew I could contribute. I like to think I did this with a smile on my face and tried to have some fun with my colleagues along the way. Although, whoever you are, you do need an extra bit of resilience to stay confident when you are the odd one out in any room.

It’s different now I think, every board I have worked on in the last 7 or 8 years has had more than one woman on it , in fact here at Advanced there are three of us with me, Louise our Finance Director and Lisa our People Director. I don’t think this is because of the conscious drive for diversity I think this is because women are beginning to see it and beginning to believe they can be it. In my opinion we just need the right person for the job, but I do think that having a diverse board definitely brings a broader skill set and perspective to the table.

It’s not just about the board room though. I get so much inspiration from all the working mums I see throughout the business. Juggling all those responsibilities and managing to keep on top of everything at home and at work requires as much organisation, financial skills, and resilience as any MD and often without the team to delegate to!

I don’t really have any one role model male or female. I like to think I am a blend of all the great people I have known and worked with over the years and have equally learned what not to do from those not so great. I am proud of everything I have achieved as a woman in business, but I try hard not to take myself too seriously and I don’t take for granted the good fortune I have had along the way and the help and support I have had from the teams I have worked with.

My hope for the future is that in business, and in life, we can really start to see everyone as individuals. Regardless of the position they hold or the background they come from or what gender they are.

If I think about the three women, I would want to invite to a dinner party (by the way I am a dreadful cook so I am assuming I am allowed to invite my partner, just to do the cooking!) then, after changing my mind dozens of times because let’s face it there are no shortage of great women you could invite, I would go for:

Jacinda Ardern (Prime Minister of New Zealand) for tips on leadership and being a working mum. Fun fact she was the youngest ever female head of government at 37 ! Wow.

Adele because she could entertain us with a song or two and she seems to be another down to earth plain talking woman.

Victoria Wood because we all need a laugh and she used to make me laugh with her great characters.