I was asked by a good friend, Pinky Lilani to speak on a topic that's very dear to my heart. At the Women of the Future Summit in London, I was asked for my insights in authenticity and leadership and share my experiences to a group of ambitious and inspiring young people. The event was part of the Great Campaign, of which I am an ambassador and very happy to help in any way I can.
In order to be a successful businesswomen in this male-dominated world, I believe confidence is key. Not only to success, but to happiness. I am much happier with myself today as I have confidence in what I do. Over my life, I have learned so much and I was lucky enough to have a fantastic mentor - my mother. A strong female role-model is a great way of gaining insight, as well as life skills.
As women - sometimes we can be all over the place - but not as leaders. We make great leaders and it all comes down to our caring nature and maternal instincts. I realised that as a leader of my staff, I need to be mindful of my demeanour, all the way down to my facial expressions. This leads me on to the next important quality a strong businesswomen must have - authenticity. In a working environment, egos need to go out the window and you must relate to every member of staff you manage.
To be truly authentic in business, you must listen to people. At the end of the day, you have employed your staff for a reason. Each of them have their own lives and experiences which will add depth to a business - this should be utilised and celebrated. It's important to be aware of these so you can lead them. Only by knowing someone can you get the best out of them. A great way of doing this is to create an 'umbrella' for your business and making everyone a leader of their own field of expertise. However, be mindful that not everyone likes to be a leader and act best when given instructions - this is why it's imperative to be authentic.
At the end of the day, it's your responsibility to help your business grow. For me, I see myself as the glue within my company. While all the other parts can work independently well, I need to be there to hold it all together and ensure we're all moving in the same direction. This also goes hand-in-hand with authenticity, which we women have the ability be truly.
In the spirit of the Women of the Future summit, I think that to be successful we need to believe in ourselves, as well as having courage and passion. We need to learn from our past - but live in the present. And above all, be authentic.