As women we have fought for years for equality. We read constantly how as a gender we are striving to break the glass ceiling and change perceptions. But what if a whole industry was actively crying out for more female CEOs, managers and employees, but very few were accepting the offer?
What does matter is what you take away from it. Four days away from emails and social media banter made for a very welcome break and to spend an hour working out where my diaphragm exists in my body, or sing about 'Clambake' surrounded by assorted foreign accents puts a whole new perspective on life.
The financial crisis in 2008 humbled many of us, as we watched banks collapse, stock markets plummet, and regulation fail. We lamented the loss of jobs, homes, and savings, yet we neglected to realise that a segment of our population was being disproportionately distressed - adolescent girls.
My mission is to empower all women to dress for success by encouraging them to dress towards their body strengths rather than weaknesses and stop comparing themselves to others and playing the daily guessing game " does that look good on me".
You might be forgiven for thinking that our economy has fully recovered, especially with unemployment back to pre-recession levels, and the UK showing the strongest growth in Europe, surpassing all predictions. The view from many is that we're through the worst. But, the reality is different for many people, especially those who either have just left or are leaving school to compete for the limited number of jobs available.
The fact that women are vastly under-represented in high-level leadership positions is well-known, but the exact reason for it is still the subject of much debate.
If you're ambitious for your business, you won't want to hang about. So here are nine growth strategies to help you get the most from your time and effort as a business owner or as an entrepreneur.
Can a woman have a successful career and balance a family at the same time? Yes, of course she can, but there are going to be challenges; there are going to be sacrifices. We all know that. No matter which "work" we decide to focus on, kids or outside-the-home job, we are going to have questions about whether we are making the right choices.
If you're an entrepreneur, you're a hunter: you're looking to grow your resources to bring back to the cave and there's something fundamentally masculine about that. Meanwhile, females are socially conditioned to focus on nesting - on making the cave look pretty and taking care of the children.
Being collaborative is often cited as something that women are better at than men. Now before I elaborate on this point I would like to start with the caveat that there are more differences among men and among women than there are between the genders. I think it's important to make that case up front and to make sure that any discussion on gender differences does not resort to general stereotyping.
Many years ago I was given a tip from a fellow entrepreneur. He said one of the best ways to combat stress and feelings of isolation as a business owner is to find someone who needs your help and support, and offer it out to them. Good old fashioned mentoring!
A former boss of mine had a habit of saying 'women can't tell jokes and women can't do creative'. He was referring to creating advertising ideas, when he said this but he could have meant anything creative, even cooking. Actually, he was including cooking: 'all of the best chefs in the world are men' he would also remind us.
One of the most challenging things about parenthood is learning to accept change. Accepting the fact once the baby cyclone dust settles, nothing looks like it did before. Not your body, not your relationship, not your friendships. Or your work.
I cannot actually remember where this particular bit of advice began and believe it to be deep rooted in my childhood somewhere. It is very simple - 'improvise your way through life'. I remember my late father saying things like 'You hum it and I'll sing it' when I came to him with a challenge. This was his way of reiterating the art of improvisation and no task was ever too large.
When I stereotype the American startup founders I've met in London, I notice the gene that they seem to share with Penny - that American go-getter "shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" mindset. (Somewhere, my British friends are rolling their eyes at that cheesy quote.) Americans don't seem scared of their own idealism, whereas in British culture, I find brazen optimism often equated with stupidity.
You are almost certainly well-educated, quite possibly with a university degree that has equipped you with an excellent foundation of knowledge and skills - theoretically that's a pretty good starting point