Throughout the early stages of my career, strong and ambitious women were my role models. If I could achieve half of what they had, then I'd be happy, so being placed in the same bracket as them, and being told that, as a Woman of the Future, I too am a role model for young women, was a real highlight in my career.
What is equally important to us as a business is the support of fellow females on a global scale. As last year's Entrepreneurial Women of the Future winner, I have ensured that one of our key roles at BEAR continues to be inspiring and supporting the employment of primarily single mothers in rural developing countries, where few opportunities exist.
Although this year marks a new high for female CEOs, women still run just 3.6 % of Fortune 500 companies. The global percentage of female executives has with much difficulty, ticked above 10% for the first time, this year. The survey of the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) found that 73% of female respondents felt barriers still existed for women seeking senior management and board-level positions in the UK. So what helped me break through?
I always chuckle when I am referred to as the 'Chief Executive Officer' of CoppaFeel!. I suppose that title still conjures up old school images of a fat man, sitting behind his desk, smoking a cigar - certainly not a job title I thought I'd ever be crowned with when I skipped away from my higher national diploma in travel and tourism management and into the 'real world'.