She Means Business

23/09/2012 20:04 BST | Updated 23/11/2012 10:12 GMT

What makes YOU want to jump out of bed every morning? Is it revving the engine of your latest sports car? Testing a new recipe in the kitchen? Donating to a worthy cause?

For me, it has always been about making a difference. I got a rush from meeting new people from different backgrounds and professions, and I loved learning from them. So, a career in wealth management was a great option.

But how am I, a woman in my early 30s, successfully battling in a male-dominated playing field?

I made a living doing something I love, something that gets my blood pumping every day. Even after more than a decade in the industry, I still get an adrenaline rush when I meet a new client, or structure an innovative solution for one. For me, nothing can replace the natural high that comes from growing my business - every handshake, signature or satisfactory nod from a client - every single thing counts! But it's never easy and you need the right level of enthusiasm and a 'never give up' attitude every day.

And that in my opinion, ladies, is what makes a success a success. Find something you love and go after it. Eat, drink, talk, dream about it. Feel the passion - and nothing should hold you back.

My motto has always been never to give up, whether you are man or woman! Pure determination has really helped me push through. Today, I juggle a lovely husband, a beautiful baby girl and the business, every single day.

One would assume that there are plenty of other women out there doing the same? When I look around, statistics seem to show that this isn't necessarily true. I understand why, it is tough!

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. Statistics are only marginally better at lower levels. In fact, my own team, which now comprises of a team of 40, has less than a 25% representation of women.

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?

One of the keys is self belief. In my opinion, it is equally hard for men and for women alike to succeed in business and I believe that the idea that women face a greater struggle is rooted in the minds of many people. The best advice that I could give to women is to believe in themselves and it will happen, but they will have to devote time, energy and passion to take things to the next level.

I have always given the time and commitment to empower myself and build my own network. It is never ever easy and you will need all the armour you can find to face the challenges along the way! I think it's the responsibility of other women to open doors for their counterparts, (whether they be male or female) in order to encourage growth and innovation in the industry. Initiatives such as the Women of the Future Awards, in association with Shell, for which last year I was shortlisted and this year am a judge, is a great way to reward those women making waves in their respective industries and paving the way for their successors.

I am a big believer in personal development and building on knowledge, whether this is with my colleagues, clients or indeed my family. I run women education days to make finance more accessible to both successful women entrepreneurs and the wives of my clients who run the family home!

I always advise my team that they key is to hire people better than us and I always try to surround myself with people that inspire me. A large proportion of my entrepreneurial drive came from my father who is himself an entrepreneur in the medical field, and has a passion for owning vineyards. I also take inspiration from my friend, self-made billionaire John Caudwell, who demonstrated how you can make a success of anything.

I hold the view that opportunities are out there for those who want them, and that each individual is in charge of chasing their dreams and working towards a better future for themselves and their family.

As a judge in the forthcoming Women of the Future competition, I will be looking for original ideas from go-getters, strong personalities and a real can-do attitude!

Nathalie Dauriac-Stoebe is a former shortlister of Women of The Future Awards.

The awards ceremony will take place at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square on Tuesday 20 November and is hosted by Real Business in association with Shell.