First Women Awards
Katja Hall, chief policy director of the UK's leading business lobbying organisation, the CBI, said last year's First Women Awards winners are "true role models for future generations of women" and "are proof that the sky really is the limit when it comes to achieving." Two statements I agree with whole-heartedly and work hard to instil in other women in business and female entrepreneurs.
Women don't have to choose between caring about the world around them and being good in business, it is possible to combine the two by bringing charity into the heart of business and really make a difference to those in a less fortunate position.
Whenever I speak to young people about their futures the same issue arises time and time again, a frustration around aspiration.
Many people think that the only way to get ahead in the workplace is through reliance on themselves to put in the hard graft. This is a trait often be seen in senior individuals, particularly females who believe they have had to fight against stereotypes to get to where they are.
It happened to me. Badly. In the mid 1980s, a colleague and I created Holbein, a company producing hand painted decorative accessories for top interior designers. The business was a great success. But it came with a huge problem: theft.
With the recent announcement by Lord Davies, Britain's former trade minister, that women now account for 21% of board members in the FTSE 100 firms and that this figure looks well placed to meet the target of 25% by 2015, now more than ever it is time for women in business to stand tall and know their value. The tide is turning.
When I had my first child nearly 30 years ago, I was the only one of my friends who continued her career and the only one who worked throughout her children's childhoods. Looking back at old school friends and colleagues, I cannot think of one example where a husband stayed at home to care for the family.
And for aspiring and ambitious females at the start of their careers, it may seem like a long and arduous journey to get anywhere near the top in ICT, simply because there are so few female role models on the Boards of large ICT companies.
t doesn't take long to type up a policy document, but changing corporate culture takes longer. It means implementing these new policies on a daily basis. It means using positive reinforcement to show workers that it is okay to work from home, and that you trust them to get their work done without looking over their shoulder.
It's been a year since I was nominated to receive a First Women Award in association with Lloyds Banking Group. The Awards, presented last year by the inspirational Clare Balding, recognise women with a passion and determination to do things right, and to do it their way.